hansel

Once you’ve accepted the world of Hansel & Gretel, you should enjoy the broom ride.

In this spin on the fairy tale about two little kids who are sent out into the woods alone, are wooed by a candy house and eventually outsmart a nasty old witch, Hansel (Jeremy Renner) and sister Gretel (Gemma Arterton) grow up to become the world’s most kickass witch hunters. I mean, they are tough, know all the tricks to lure witches out (mostly pretending there are lost kids in the woods) and have any manner of weapons to slay the sorceresses.

But things go sour when they are asked to find missing children in a certain village, just as the fabled Blood Moon approaches. This brings out all kinds of wily witches, including the queen baddie Muriel (Famke Janssen), who is a real nasty piece of work. Suddenly, the siblings encounter a new form of evil that is very hard to destroy and might hold a secret to their past. If you want to see this movie and you’re short on cash, then you can sell some of your old unwanted DVD’s at www.musicmagpie.com.

The real draw is Renner and Arterton, who have a genuine rapport as brother and sister. It’s refreshing to have a couple onscreen show real affection but in a chaste, sibling kind of way rather on relying on the usual romantic banter. There is also the fact Renner is IN this film. If the guy, who makes pretty good choices in his career, found some merit to the script, then you have to believe the film is going to be entertaining. Janssen, too, has a lot fun playing the wicked witch, reminding us how effective she also was as one of the Bond femme fatales in GoldenEye. And as another standout, Thomas Mann (Project X) plays a local villager who has been following Hansel and Gretel’s exploits over the years and is just dying to join them – and join them, he does.

If Hansel & Gretel took itself too seriously, the film would be in real trouble. Thankfully, it plays with the fairy tale genre, which is all the rage right now, rather than keeping it dark and morose, say, like Snow White and the Huntsman. Written and directed by Norwegian filmmaker Tommy Wirkola, the film makes sense. You certainly believe and understand how Hansel and Gretel would become bounty hunters, raging against the witchcraft that nearly destroyed them. Hansel & Gretel is definitely a little silly at times, but Wirkola crafts a world you fall easily into, without realizing it. The special effects work, the bad witches are icky and ugly, and if you see it in 3D, you won’t be disappointed with all the things that come flying out at you. Made me jump a few times. Go, have some fun with Hansel & Gretel. Sure, maybe the two of them could have use some help for Harry Potter or Prof. Dumbledore, but trust me, these two have got it covered.