BLU-RAY REVIEW: Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters
Ogres and Witches Beware In New Hi-Def Home Video...
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I've always been a fan of monster movies. Be it sci-fi, thriller, horror or even campy, a monster movie reminds me how creative and impressive filmmakers have become since the medium's inception. No matter the purpose - be it for creative effect, for shock value, for humor or for out-and-out weirdness, there's no such thing as a bad monster...they're simply misunderstood. That said, witches are another matter entirely and Paramount Pictures' recently released Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters pushes the boundaries of the campy action-adventure to a level where viewers and fans will either fall in love or be sick.
Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton star as the titular heroes, brother and sister witch hunters who, after being abandon as children, grow to hate monsters, witches and all things supernatural. Thus, as witch hunters and supernatural investigators, the pair travel the countryside solving supernatural crimes and acting as bounty hunters, eliminating any town's paranormal problem. But, when a town comes under attack by a powerful witch named Muriel (the attractive Famke Janssen) who's cast a spell making her sisterhood near invincible, and with the lives of the town's children at stake, Hansel and Gretel must seek to solve the mystery of the Blood Moon and destroy the witches.
I love this sort of movie for what it is: pure escapism. There's nothing cerebral or thought-provoking about Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, it doesn't try to be anything other than a pop corn movie with some cool effects, impressive and deadly weapons, intriguing monsters and witches and a complete lack of coherent logic and thought. Sure, there are plot holes and of course the characters do things which make no sense, but that's what's great about a movie like this - it's fantasy, pure and simple.
The Blu-ray video transfer comes to life with a gorgeous 1080p picture featuring vibrant colors, tight lines and smooth movement throughout. The picture's depth is simply astonishing with textures fully realized throughout the fictional landscape. Be it on the costumes and weaponry or the structures and landscapes, the film comes to life and looks amazing. As for audio, the lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track delivers a dynamic use of one's home theater. Dialogue is clear and easy to understand while the effects - including gunfire, explosions and witches screeching - brilliantly fill the surround channels.
Unfortuantely, the Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy includes only three bonus features, a 16-minute making of entitled "Reinventing Hansel & Gretel," which focuses on the film's original story, characters and cast; the 9-minute "The Witching Hours," which examines the film's plot along with the many witch designs; and the 5-minute "Meet Edward the Troll" featurette, a closer look at one of the film's favorite characters. While none of these are overly impressive, fans of the film will want to give them a watch, if only to find out more about Edward the Troll.
Again, if you're anything like me and you enjoy mindless fun and monster movies, you'll probably love Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters. For those movie goers who want to learn and experience culture with each and every film they watch, beware; there's nothing to learn here. Filled with crazy effects, creative kill scenes, scary and somewhat sexy witches and oddball humor, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters is movie going escapism at its finest.
Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters is available now wherever fine home video is sold.
- Jess C. Horsley