Pauls Valley, Oklahoma — As animated films have certainly given moviegoers some of the most quirky or fun interpretations of classic fairytales over the past several years, it made sense that live action would not wait too long to capitalize on the opportunity. I’ve really never seen a problem with this concept and if our nation’s 16th president can go on a vampire killing spree, I see no reason why some of those beloved Brother’s Grimm characters can’t also be exploited for entertainment bucks.
Heck, even when these types of things are at their worst, you can at least be guaranteed a few laughs or a reason to thank the stars you don’t have to be reviewed by critics. That said, this actually ends up being somewhere around enjoyably terrible with a plot barely around B-Movie at best, but an exchange that may yet earn it cult support. “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters” is perhaps watchable only to stick it to those who try to compare it to something great and a fun distraction for the dark comedy aficionados.
Set in all that area that eventually either became Germany or Austria, we meet the familiar childhood duo of Hansel (Jeremy Renner) and Gretel (Gemma Arterton), who as we find out end up in the woods because their father (Thomas Scharff) is hiding them from something. After they are left there for quite a while they go through that whole eating and getting captured in the candy house in the woods ordeal, the survival of which inspires them to save any other future children from falling victim to the evil spell casters.
They pretty much become a celebrated bounty hunting super team, celebrated wherever they go, with no real resolution in sight until they come upon a German community called Augsburg that is caught up in a massive disappearance of children. Here our heroes eventually run into something like the queen of witches known as Muriel (Famke Janssen), who seems to know more about their parent’s than they do and why they’ve been so hard to bump off by their foes. The ensuing battle never really gets all that clever or well thought out, but hey, at one point we get to see some pretty sweet witch killing weapons like a steampunk version of a Gatling gun.