Who would've thought that the story of Hansel & Gretel could be turned into a bloody action movie? Director Tommy Wirkola made the infamous fairytale into a bad-ass film that does not only include a man, but also features a strong woman. Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters is the latest movie I will be reviewing in this blog for The bitLanders Film Series to support women empowerment.
❂ The Movie Trailer ❂
❂ The Cast ❂
◈ Jeremy Renner as Hansel
The brother of Gretel and a skilled witch hunter.
◈ Gemma Arterton as Gretel
The sister of Hansel and also a skilled witch hunter.
◈ Famke Janssen as Muriel
The great grand witch of dark or evil who has the ability to turn her appearance into a human.
◈ Pihla Viitala as Mina
The good white witch Hansel and Gretel saved from the hands of the sheriff.
◈ Thomas Mann as Benjamin Walser
A young citizen of Ausburg who has interest in witch hunting and a huge fan of Hansel and Gretel.
◈ Peter Stormare as Sheriff Berringer
The bad and brutal sheriff of the town of Ausburg who is antagonistic towards Hansel and Gretel.
◈ Rainer Bock as Mayor Englemann
The mayor of the town of Ausburg who hired Hansel and Gretel when witches started a series of kidnapping children.
◈ Kathrin Kühnel as Adrianna
The mother of Hansel and Gretel who was revealed to be the most powerful witch, the white great grand witch.
Poster - Photo Credit: IMDb
❂ The Movie Summary ❂
One night, as the young Hansel and Gretel were sleeping in their beds, they were awaken by their parents and led them in the forest to hide. There was an unknown commotion outside their home. Their mother, Adrianna, had to stay in their home, while their father took them into the woods.
Confused and scared, the siblings tried to follow their father as he abandoned them. But he reprimanded both of them, telling them assertively to stay right where they were standing. Hansel and Gretel had nothing to do but follow their father's instructions. After that night, they were not able to see both their parents anymore.
In the middle of the woods, as they roam around trying to get to somewhere they can stay, they found a gingerbread house full of candies, chocolates and sweets. It was so inviting in their eyes that when they came closer, they were enticed to take several bites. When the door opened, they entered and was captured by a black witch who aimed to make the two of them her feast for the night.
The witch made Hansel eat many sweets so he could go fatter, while ordering Gretel to heat up the oven. However, Gretel was already a brilliant girl and was able to unchain herself. She was also able to free Hansel. Before the night ended, they were able to outsmart the witch and set her on fire, burning in the oven.
Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters - Photo Credit: IMDb
Fifteen years after the much talked-about event, Hansel and Gretel grew as popular witch hunters. They were written in the newspapers with all their successful battles against witches. One thing that made them more famous was that they were invincible against the black magic of witches.
Meanwhile, in the town of Ausburg, there had been a lot of incidents of children being kidnapped. They highly suspected that the crimes were created by witches. One day, the town's sheriff, Sheriff Berringer ordered the arrest of the beautiful lady named Mina, accusing her of witchcraft.
The mayor of Ausburg, Mayor Englemann, prevented the execution of Mina, emphasizing that there must be due process before convicting anyone. When the sheriff insisted, Hansel and Gretel arrived the scene, pointing a gun against the sheriff's backhead.
The two explained to the people that Mina was not a witch, because if she was it would be observed obviously. The signs would be seen in her skin, in her eyes and in her face. The two insisted that clearly, the beautiful woman was too impossible to be a witch.
Hansel, Gretel and Mina - Photo Credit: Collider
Mayor Englemann introduced Hansel and Gretel to everyone as the popular witch hunters. He hired them to help tje town locate the children presumably abducted by witches. According to him, the two are the only people suitable to do the job.
Sherrif Berringer, feeling completely insulted, hired a different set of male hunters to do the same. He was aiming to get the job first before Hansel and Gretel could finish it, in the hopes of embarrassing the mayor and acclaim the town's power.
The night came, but Hansel and Gretel refused to search into the woods. They both knew how dangerous it could be to fight witches during dark. However, Sheriff Berringer forced his hired men to start with the job as early as that night. And so, the sheriff's group went on to the darkness of the forests.
When the men got into the woods, they settle in a certain space and lit up a fire. As they were waiting for the night to pass, they came across a beautiful woman in dark suit asking what they were doing in the woods during the dark night. When one of the men revealed their intentions of rescuing missing children of the town, the beautiful woman turned into an ugly dark witch. She killed all but one of them, and gave him a curse of the hunger for crawling things.
Hansel, Gretel, and Benjamin Walser - Photo Credit: SEAT42F
At a local night bar, Hansel and Gretel discussed about the children's abductions with the mayor's deputy named Jackson. Suddenly, they were approached by a young man who introduced himself as Benjamin Walser. He said he was interested in hunting witches and had long been a fan of the two witch hunters.
The remaining man came back to town, straight to the local night bar. He relayed to all the people in the room what happened, and that all of them got killed by the witch. He said that he was spared to send out a message, but soon after he bursted and died. His pieces scattered all over the place, with crawling worms and insects.
Meanwhile, in the dark forests where the cavern of dark witches lie, the horned witches captured another child. When their leader arrived the place, they informed her of the newest addition to their captives. The leader happened to be the same witch the sheriff's men encountered.
Muriel, the leader of the horned witch and the great grand witch of the dark, ordered the bloodshed of the male child. They tried to see the effect of the ritual they had been formulating for a long time, a ritual that will make any witch invincible to fire.
As they drank the little child's blood, Muriel set one of the horned witches hand on a burning candle. She didn't feel even the slightest warmth on her hand for a while, but as they were talking into their plans, her hand was still slowly burning. Before the night ends, Muriel declared she will make the ritual's effect to last forever, with the missing last ingredient.
Muriel - Photo Credit: The Dispatch
The same night, Gretel had a dream about her last memory with their mother. As she woke up, she told her brother of the dream. Hansel, who had hated their parents since they abandoned the two of them, dismissed the conversation. The next day, they prepped up for their job.
In the market, Hansel met Mina again. She offered to help them in their quest but he declined. As Hansel walked away, suddenly fell weak on his knees. He revealed to Mina that he had a sugar sickness, he got as a little kid when they got captured by the dark witch in the gingerbread house.
In the forests, one of the horned witches got lured into a trapped set by Hansel, Gretel and Jackson. After a long brawl, they finally captured the witch and held captive in the town for interrogation. After a series of torture, the witch blurted the evil plan of the dark witches to sacrifice the abducted children onset of the blood moon. Only one child left was needed to complete the ritual.
As they soon figured out the evil scheme, Gretel sent out Hansel to save the last female child to be abducted by the witches. She remained on their home with Jackson to keep an eye on their captive.
The very night, Muriel attacked and set the town with fire. She went to the place where the witch hunters had been staying. She and Gretel got in an intense fight. She spared Gretel, but Jackson died as he tried to save Gretel.
Hansel during Muriel's attack - Photo Credit: Collider
As Hansel approached the home of the last victim, the other horned witch already abducted the child with the help of a troll named Edward. Hansel tried to stop the horned witch. They got in an intense fight while Edward was able to take away the little girl.
When the attack had passed and the morning came, sheriff Berringer convinced the people to execute the witch hunters, blaming them of the attack that had happened. Mayor Englemann tried to stop him and convinced the crowd but he was shot dead by the sherrif.
Gretel was rescued by young Ben, the teenage boy they met in the local night bar. He was cleaning her when she woke up. He relayed what happened and told her that the last time he saw her brother was when he was fighting off one horned witch.
As they were going around some of Ben's stuff, Gretel saw a familiar caricature of a woman's face. She asked what was about her, and Ben told her that the woman was accused of witchcraft. Realizing it was her mother, she went on to find her brother to tell him her discovery.
Gretel went to the forests to look for her brother. However, she was knocked off by the sheriff's men. As they badly injured her, Edward was watching behind the tall trees. As the sheriff was about to rape Gretel, the troll failed to hold his emotions anymore and attacked the sheriff and his men. The troll killed all of them and brought Gretel to the falls to treat her wounds.
Muriel attacking Gretel - Photo Credit: DVD Talk
Hansel, on the other hand, was found hanging in the tree by Mina. She offered to help him but he declined again. Soon he fell hard on the ground and bones got broken.
Mina accompanied him to a lake where the waters could heal injuries. They bathed together, and soon after, kissed and made love. Mina made Hansel promise to come back for her when he's done looking for his brother.
As he trailed into the woods looking for his sister, Hansel stumbled upon what looked like as gingerbread house. Thinking it was the one they got into as a kid, he let out a curse and entered hoping to find his sister there. When he entered, he got jumped onto by Gretel, thinking he was an enemy.
After emotionally reuniting, the two roamed around the old house. After finding an old teddy bear, Gretel realized it was their own home. Hansel recognized their bedroom as she told him her discovery that their mother was a witch.
In the middle of their conversation, Muriel arrived. Before engaging in an intense fight, she told them the truth behind their parents, especially their mother. She revealed to them that their mother, Adrianna, was the most powerful witch of all, a great grand white witch as they call.
Muriel talks to the duo - Photo Credit: Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters Wiki
Muriel needed their mother's heart to complete the ritual to make witches invincible to fire. On the set of blood moon, she spread a rumor about Adrianna's witchcraft around the town. This caused wildfire among people, and they went off to their house to burn her.
That was also the same time their father took them out in the woods to hide them. She revealed that she was after Gretel's heart since it was the remaining great white witch's heart after Adrianna died. When their father went back to their home to save Adrianna, he was hung by the neck by the people in front of Adrianna's burning corpse.
When Muriel was done with her storytelling, they got into a fight. Since she was very powerful, she was able to outpower the two. She left Hansel badly injured while she took Gretel with her for the ritual by the coming of blood moon.
When Hansel woke up, he saw Mina curing him. He was turned off with her being a witch. However, she convinced him that, unlike others, she was a good white witch who never hurts humans.
Hansel looked for Gretel and was told Muriel took her. As he pressed Mina to tell him where the dark witches would hold their Sabbath, she told him of a powerful magic that could help them defeat the witches - the Abramelin Grimoire.
Mina and Benjamin with the Abramelin Grimoire - Photo Credit: movieplayer.it
As they prepped up to raid the witches' sabbath, Mina casted a spell of the Abramelin Grimoire on their weapons. They were accompanied by Ben, who helped in completing the magic book's ritual. He was also taken by Hansel along with them on their quest which he was overwhelmed about.
On the place of the dark witches, they arrived with all their weapons. As planned, Hansel disrupted the ceremony and killed every witch in the place with Mina's help. They were able to save the children and Gretel, but Muriel escaped.
As they seized the great grand dark witch, they stumbled upon their old home. Muriel was there but she got Ben as hostage. Hansel was able to free him up, and they fought her off.
When Muriel was about to kill Hansel, Mina used her magic to save him. She succeeded and Hansel escaped. However, she was attacked by the dark witch and got killed. Hansel took her in his arms as she requested him to kill the f*cking b*tch.
The New Witch Hunters - Photo Credit: Matt Paprocki
Muriel and Hansel got into an intense brawl trying to kill each other. Gretel found their old house as she heard her brother's voice. She joined the brawl and helped Hansel. After what seemed to be an unending fight, they were able to kill Muriel by chopping her head off.
The town knew of their newest success and had further increased their popularity. Ben went with them and became part of the group. Their latest quest was defeating the black witch of the sand.
As the narration ended, it was told that Hansel and Gretel continued with their job as witch hunters. The town already knew of their dark past.
They know our story, our powers, what we can do. And they should fear us. All of us."
❂ My Movie Review ❂
(7 out of 10 ★★★★★★★☆☆☆)
This is probably the fourth time I saw Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters. I never saw it on cinema, but I had seen it in TV once, twice on blu-ray, then this time on web purchase.
I understand the movie was low in ratings from movie critics, but still overall, I enjoyed the movie personally. As what I have previously confessed, I am into action movies. Tommy Wirkola surely made this fairytale-popular story a convincing action movie to me. Are you into action films, too?
Anyway, let us get into a more detailed review of the movie, in my own perspective.
Querlo chat: "What kind of movies do you like?"
◈ Story and Screenplay
I'd say I know where the movie critics were coming from when they rated Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunter with a low score. It really takes a huge leap to make something like this impressive. It could appear really shallow at first sight.
Screenplay could be considered weak. But that, to me, would highly be related to the fact that the movie was based from a children's storybook. To be honest, this could probably one of the many times I would deflect from the general consensus of movie critics.
I really liked the movie, including the screenplay. I was thinking why it appeared shallow to most movie critics, when I couldn't hardly consider the plot predictable? That point has always been my basis of tagging a movie as a weak screenplay.
◈ Cinematography and Direction
Tommy Wirkola did very impressive in his directorial approach. The use of voiceover narration, the strong visuals, and the skillful stunts were so amazing.
The scenes were beautifully crafted. Wirkola chose the perfect spots to shoot forests, as well as the town of Ausburg. I can't complain about the dark witches being believable enough as the ugly antagonists.
I would also like to point out how Wirkola utilized the camera to shoot every scene involving difficult stunts. It was executed so well, even the exaggeration of every blow on the actors didn't hurt the entire believability of the action.
I would skip on the obvious theme of the movie regarding the evil versus the good. Or, for kids, do not munch on too much sweets. The movie presented such a wonderful thing that made it about women empowerment.
Have you noticed how the story, even including a male character as lead, seemed to have focused on female characters for both the protagonist and antagonist? Gretel was the essential one in the evil's plan to make themselves vulnerable. On the other hand, Muriel was the main antagonist in the story.
It is almost very rare to come across Hollywood movies of the same set of characterization. Most of the time, both lead protagonist and antagonist are male figures. Hats off to Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters for doing it otherwise.
Querlo chat: "Do you support women's empowerment?"
◈ Overall Rating
Overall, I would rate the movie seven stars out of ten. How about you, have you seen this movie? What do you think about it? Let us know!