Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters Preview

Ooooooooooooooh boy. Guys… it’s happening. Every once in awhile we do a film that has been on our docket for so long that it seems like not doing it is a running joke. Not today! That’s right! We’re watching Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters! I remember when this came out. BMT was just a baby (with far fewer beautiful rules and regulation) and I was stoked to watch it. But the stars never seemed to align. Alas. But now with our punctuation cycle and trying to hit nine different punctuation marks it seemed primed that we would require the use of an ampersand. Welcome to the show Hansel & Gretel! If only your ill-conceived sequel wasn’t scrapped for 2016 it would have come sooner. I… can… not… wait. Let’s go!

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013) – BMeTric: 27.1

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(For you hard-core fans out there you must just be screaming! What about all the Hall of Fame talk, Patrick, whereby films whose rating didn’t change in the face of increased votes are somehow special. Welp … amazingly this film is so overpoweringly average that it doesn’t really regress to the mean, it is already there the entire time! A BMeTric of 25 is about average too, and look at that plot. I kind of love it.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Hansel and Gretel, of the famous fairy tale, are now all grown up and seeking revenge for the murder of their parents by becoming bounty hunters, out to kill witches wherever they find them. Renner and Arterton are lost in the fireworks of this ridiculous movie, which is just another excuse to bring out big guns and pyrotechnics. (It’s never explained how this pair are packing such modern-day weapons.) Why does Hollywood want to destroy all of our childhood memories?

(I want to get lost in the fireworks! Bring the guns and the pyrotechnics. They also don’t explain where the witches came from Leonard. And whose fond childhood memories is about the nightmare that is Grimm’s fairytales? I have a lot of problems with this review, although I’m mostly joshing around here. I’m mostly bitter that Maltin yet again is stingy with his BOMB ratings, give the people what they want Leonard!)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9246msCh7x4

(I’m getting a heavy Seventh Son vibe on this one. My favorite line from it is Renner saying “I don’t think we’re hunting witches.” Uh, what?… there are like 5000 witches in that trailer. I’m pretty sure you’re hunting witches.)

Directors – Tommy Wirkola – (Known For: Dead Snow; Dead Snow 2; BMT: Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters; Notes: Norwegian. Has a completed directing project called What Happened to Monday? starring Noomi Rapace, although there is very little information about it outside of variety stories from four years ago.)

Writers – Tommy Wirkola (written by) – (Known For: Dead Snow; Dead Snow 2; BMT: Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters; Notes: He is attached to a project called Irredeemable as the writer based on a comic book series, but hasn’t done anything major outside of the Dead Snow series in a while. Might have to check out Irredeemable, sounds interesting.)

Actors – Jeremy Renner – (Known For: Arrival; Captain America: Civil War; Avengers: Age of Ultron; Avengers Assemble; American Hustle; The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford; Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation; Thor; The Hurt Locker; The Town; Wind River; Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol; The Bourne Legacy; 28 Weeks Later; S.W.A.T.; Lords of Dogtown; Kill the Messenger; North Country; BMT: Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters; Senior Trip; A Little Trip to Heaven; Notes: I feel like I’ve heard a variety a weird things about Renner … but specifics escape me. His filmography is impressively lacking in BMT worthy movies. Renovated homes with fellow actor Kristoffer Winters.)

Gemma Arterton – (Known For: The Girl with All the Gifts; The Boat That Rocked; RocknRolla; Quantum of Solace; 100 Streets; Their Finest; The Voices; Byzantium; Tamara Drewe; Orpheline; The Disappearance of Alice Creed; Gemma Bovery; Song for Marion; A Turtle’s Tale: Sammy’s Adventures; BMT: Runner Runner; Clash of the Titans; St Trinian’s 2: The Legend of Fritton’s Gold; St. Trinian’s; Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters; Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time; Notes:  British, burst onto the scene when she beat out 1500 other women for a role in Quantum of Solace. My favorite IMDb note: A lifelong fan of karaoke, Gemma once worked as a singer in a south London ‘gangster bar’ where she was frequently instructed to sing “My Heart Will Go On” whenever things got out of hand with the rowdy patrons. … I need to find that bar! I bet it is some posh bullshit.)

Also stars Peter Stormare – (I know his from the smash hit Prison Break … but real people would know him from things like Fargo, Minority Report, and most importantly Armageddon. His BMT library is impressive, but we’ve only seen him in The Tuxedo)

Budget/Gross – $50 million / Domestic: $55,703,475 (Worldwide: $226,349,749)

(Kind of a weird smash hit. The formula I’ve always heard it double the budget and use 50% of domestic and 25% of foreign and you’ll be close (don’t quote me on any of that though). So $25 + $113 = $130 million ish versus a $100 break even. They made money … why did this film always seem like a disaster then and why did the director never get another shot?)

#34 for the Adventure – Period genre

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(Right below the classic Knight’s Tale. The plot is super weird. The number of theaters taking in films like this was so consistent from the 90s and then all of a sudden the money starts to tumble until, boom, the genre collapses. I kind of assume it has to do with the cost of such a production. Period pieces need costumes, and locations need to be dressed, etc. etc. Maybe making a comeback with Tarzan and King Kong though? Plausible.)

#49 for the Fantasy – Live Action genre

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(Just below Sklog childhood classic Willow! Gods of Egypt and Warcraft are recent additions to the genre and BMT. With Harry Potter and more fantastic Marvel movies coming out this genre is on the rise it would seem, although it seems nisely settled at a nice level that looked like a cool $100 million was in reach for most releases. Are the Icarus, flying too close to the sun on their wings of Fantasy Live Action films? We’ll see.)

#4 for the Witch genre

(I’m not going to give the plot because it is useless. I wanted to mainly point out that this being #4 on a genre list means this isn’t a real genre. Other shocks: It is just below the Bewitched remake starring Will Ferrell and only a shade above Hocus Pocus. Take a deep breath, that’s the smell of a non-genre.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 15% (19/130): Alternately bloody and silly, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters fails as both a fantasy adventure and as a parody of same.

(Ha. I kind of love when reviewers get all weird about violence in films like this. I mean, it makes sense, I think a lot of people would expect this to be a little more comedy than action. But for a movie described on wikipedia as an American-German dark fantasy action horror comedy film I’m sure I’ll get what I’m expecting … which is the Applebee’s menu of movies (Mike Lombardi fans know what I’m talking about, that menu that has so much stuff you know none of it could possibly be good, boom roasted).)

Poster – Jamie & Patrick: Sklog Hunters (C-)

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(I like the bold red color splashed on the rest of the neutral backdrop and I love the original font. Dutch angle is a mistake and the characters are way too prominent. Takes away from the other artistic aspects and ruins it. Also, there is an alternate poster that Patrick figured out was a perfect play on a Rorschach inkblot. To this day I don’t think anyone else has made the connection. In a day where it seems everything has already been done or said on the internet this still is a totally original thought by The Sklogs. You’re welcome.)

Tagline(s) – Classic Tale New Twist (C-)

(Ehhhhh, kinda fits with my criteria. Short, got some cadence and cleverness, and gives a slight hint at a plot. However, it’s getting a bit meta for me… like just acknowledging that this is a classic tale and now they are witch hunters. Not loving it.)

Keyword(s) – bounty hunter; Top Ten by BMeTric: 72.5 Barb Wire (1996); 68.3 Jonah Hex (2010); 65.3 Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993); 61.3 Ghost Rider (2007); 53.0 Jupiter Ascending (2015); 49.9 Suburban Commando (1991); 48.6 One for the Money (2012); 47.8 The Bounty Hunter (I) (2010); 42.5 Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014); 40.3 Identity Thief (2013);

(Oooooooo, can’t wait to see Jason Goes to Hell. Why would this be on the bounty hunter list. So many questions! Solid list top to bottom, but wouldn’t really work for a marathon, too similar across the board, all action, no genre mix … I was going to say, what about those romantic bounty hunter movies, but that is literally what One for the Money and the Bounty Hunter are, blah.)

Notes – Hansel is diabetic, as a result of his experience in the gingerbread house as a child. In the original script, Gretel was also supposed to have an eating disorder, as a result of the same trauma, but this was not included in the movie. (Ugh, just the worst. It is like something I would write and think was very clever in high school … no offense)

Originally scheduled for release in March 2012, the movie was delayed for ten months to accommodate Jeremy Renner’s appearances in Avengers Assemble (2012) and The Bourne Legacy (2012), and to give director Tommy Wirkola time to shoot a post-credits scene. (That super sweet after credits scene. Kind of nuts to think this was released basically just after The Avengers …. It feels like this came out so long ago)

Director Tommy Wirkola got the idea to create the film, based on the adult lives of Hansel and Gretel in 2007, while at film school in Australia. After being discovered by Gary Sanchez Productions, Wirkola pitched the idea at a meeting with Paramount Pictures and won a contract. (Will Ferrell why? You could have stopped this).

Despite portraying brother and sister of close ages, Jeremy Renner (Hansel) is actually fifteen years older than Gemma Arterton (Gretel). (Ugh, classic Hollywood)

The movie’s cast featured two former Bond Girls,Famke Janssen from GoldenEye (1995) and Gemma Arterton from Quantum of Solace (2008), where the movies were made and released around thirteen years apart in the James Bond film franchise. (ooooo fun fact)

In an interview with Famke Janssen at Cannes 2011, she stated that she took the role as the head witch in this movie because she had to pay off her mortgage. Janssen has stated multiple times that since 2007, she was prepping her writing/directorial debut with Bringing Up Bobby (2011), where funding and distribution had gone through hard times, partly due to the 2008 economic crisis. She also had not done much acting in that period of time. (ha, get yo money Famke)

The text of the newspaper clippings, used in the opening credits, is from Alexander Roberts’ 1616 “A Treatise on Witchcraft.” (We will end with that ultra-fun fact)

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