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"Hansel and Gretel: With Hunters" has the ingredients to be a fun, nasty, tongue-in-cheek take on a well-known fairy tale. It's even got Will Ferrell and Adam McKay as producers, who gave us "Anchorman" and "Talladega Nights."
But instead, the filmmakers decide to take the idea way too seriously, and the resulting twist on this Brothers Grimm tale is far too, well, grim to be much fun at all.
At the start of the movie, we watch brother and sister Hansel and Gretel go into the house made of candy and cook the witch living there. Many years later, the pair played by Gemma Arterton and Jeremy Renner have gone into the witch hunting business.
We get occasional flashes of what a fun movie this could have been, especially in the film's last scene in the end credits. Arterton is foul-mouthed and sassy as Gretel, and Renner's Hansel is has to take injections for what I assume is diabetes from all that candy he ate as a kid. Renner goes from looking alternately bored and embarrassed, and he should be. He's not having much fun, and it's contagious.
It seems like writer/director Tommy Wirkola couldn't decide whether he wanted to make a horror movie, a comedy or both, and so it's none of the above.
The 3D is never impressive, even with the over-the-top splatter violence. But I guess kids who sneak into this R-rated movie will at least get a good message about the dangers of too much candy.
EPPLER'S RATING: * *
Out of five stars