Hansel & Gretel, Witch Hunters Jeremy RennerGemma ArtertonPeter Stormare

Ah, twisted fairy tale indeed! After seeing a preview for this movie, I couldn’t wait to see it. I knew from the title that this wasn’t going to be an ordinary fairy-tale-made-modern, and I was right. Hansel and Gretel get left in the woods and wander into a house made of candy, which they start to eat. Just like the classic tale, the witch shows up and is going to eat them, but they get the drop on her instead. And that’s where the adherence to the fairy tale ends and a romp on the wild and weird side begins.

The witches in this story are hideously ugly things that just ooze evil from their pores. Hansel and Gretel grow up as the heros who killed a witch and saved a town, and go on to make it their life’s work to destroy every witch they see. They’re bounty hunters for hire, with the arsenal to match. When they get hired by a town to save several children who have been stolen, they realize there’s more going on than the normal witch hunt. Something huge is going down, and they aim to stop it with a cart load of weapons and attitude.

This movie is a wonderfully fun mix of steam punk, fairy tale (the Grimm kind, not the Disney kind) and Die Hard. It romps in an 80’s-action-flick-with-crossbows sort of arena, and dances with the blood, gore and shadows of a horror flick. I’d call it dystopian, but it’s not set in the future…it’s sort of victorian fantasy. The cinematography is beautiful, the costumes are awesome (hello, leather!), and the acting was great. I have to admit, Jeremy Renner in a leather coat is just yummy.

Underneath all the eye candy is a solid plot (a typical fairy tale type of one) with a fun, if predictable, twist. It has all the makings of an entertaining story:  a bit of mystery, a lot of attitude, and a cavelier approach to, well, everything.

I enjoyed the heck out of this, mostly for the attitude. I love Gretel. She’s cute, sexy as hell and can totally kick ass. She doesn’t need a man to save her, although in the end she does need a tad bit of help from a troll. Yes, a troll. Don’t judge a book by its cover!

I don’t know why the movie poster has all that snow because I don’t remember it featuring in the movie really, but it makes for nice art.

Hansel & Gretel was everything Snow White and the Huntsmen wasn’t. They kept a solid story underneath the pretty pictures, and gave the actors something to actually work with. Job well done, I say. Go expecting a campy, dark, gory but entertaining time and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. I don’t think it’s appropriate for kids, though. This is not a Disney tale, this one is for grown-ups.