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Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (3D Blu-ray Review)

21 Jun, 2013 By: John Latchem

Box Office $55.70 million
$29.99 DVD, $39.99
Blu-ray, $54.99 3D BD combo
Rated ‘R’ for strong fantasy horror violence and gore, brief sexuality/nudity and language.
Stars Jeremy Renner, Gemma Arterton, Famke Janssen, Derek Mears, Thomas Mann, Peter Stormare.

The best thing going for Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters is that at an hour-and-a-half it doesn’t overstay its welcome. The bare-bones script does just enough to establish its high-concept premise and resolve the story without the need to resort to overly complicated subplots.

As it is, the idea is simple enough: How did the incident with the witch at the candy house (depicted in the film’s prologue) affect Hansel and Gretel growing up? Simple. They became professional witch hunters, naturally, and many years later the duo (Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton) are hired by a mayor in a nondescript European town to track down a slew of missing children, much to the chagrin of the local sheriff (Peter Stormare).

The culprit is a powerful witch (Famke Janssen) who needs to sacrifice the children during an eclipse in order to create a potion that makes witches immune to fire. Her plan ties into the reason Hansel and Gretel ended up alone in the woods to begin with. Oh, and Hansel developed diabetes as a result of being force-fed too much candy.

The movie delights in cartoonish gore and over-the-top visual effects for every fight scene, which makes for some entertaining 3D sequences. The film is vague on the exact era of its setting, establishing a post-medieval world in which characters arm themselves with a bevy of strange guns and speak with modern-day anachronisms (including a fair amount of F-bombs and at least one “That was awesome!”).

The 3D version offers only the theatrical cut. An unrated cut on the 2D Blu-ray offers 10 extra minutes of footage with a few more character moments here and there and some rather grisly scene extensions.

The extras, located only on the 2D disc, consist of three featurettes totaling about a half-hour. The most significant is a 15-minute making-of program, although the most interesting might be the glimpse at the creation of Edward the Troll. The third extra is a featurette about the film’s use of witches.

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