Gory fairy tale action is light on plot
All you need to know about this week's top new movie, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters 3D.
WHO STARS IN IT?
Jeremy Renner, Gemma Arterton, Famke Janssen, Thomas Mann, Pihla Viitala, Peter Stormare and the voice of Robin Atkin Downes
WHO DIRECTS IT?
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Tommy Wirkola (Kill Bulijo, Dead Snow).
WHAT'S IT ALL ABOUT?
Director Tommy Wirkola puts a bloodthirsty new spin on the classic fairytale in this gleefully violent fantasy.
Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters does exactly what it says in the snappy title. It expands the story of two children held hostage by a crone in a gingerbread house into a full-blooded battle between the forces of good and evil.
The script marries action movie convention with an olde-worlde setting, providing the titular heroes with an arsenal of pithy one-liners as they despatch the enemy.
WHAT IS THE PLOT?
Hansel (Jeremy Renner) and his feisty sister Gretel (Gemma Arterton) had their first encounter with witches as children when they stumbled into a house made of delicious candy. Through luck and enterprise, the siblings flung the diabolical crone into her oven, establishing their reputation throughout the land as protectors against the dark arts.
Hansel and Gretel then grow up with a hatred for these shape-shifting creatures and devote every waking minute to hunting down witches with their ingenious homemade weapons.
When children from one village go missing, Sheriff Berringer (Peter Stormare) blames local woman Mina (Pihla Viitala) and prepares to burn her as a witch.
The eponymous heroes intervene just in time and set about tracking down powerful grand witch Muriel (Famke Janssen), who, aided by a hulking ogre, is kidnapping children to be used as for sacrifices on the forthcoming night of the Blood Moon.
IS IT ANY GOOD?
With lashings of gore and potty-mouthed humour, it is no slavish retread of the Brothers Grimm.
Wirkola splatters one crone's guts all over the camera lens and another set-piece reduces a swarm of the villainesses to chunks of airborne flesh and entrails.
Renner and Arterton dispatch their prey with the occasional well-timed aside, both enjoying the physical aspects of their roles. However, frenetic action sequences do not fully compensate for a flimsy plot and poor character development.
WHAT: Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters 3D.
RUNNING TIME: 88 mins
Showing at: Showing at Showcase, Cinema de Lux and Odeon, Derby. Cineworld in Burton