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Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (Unrated Cut) - Blu-ray Review

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Hansel & Gretel - Blu-ray Review

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3 stars

Houses made of candy and witches that eat babies await you in writer-director Tommy Wirkola’s Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters; a re-imagining of the classic children’s tale.  Of course, with amped up violence and super terrific scares galore, the tale – especially the unrated version – is no longer safe for children’s eyes.  It’s a fresh spin on this beloved tale and, most certainly, will cause heads to roll – especially those of the highbrow type.  That being said, there’s a whole hell of a lot of fun to be had as two supernatural hunters – described as “a bitch” and “a scoundrel” - travel from town to town protecting frightened locals and their children with heavy arsenal and wicked combat skills.

When two children - Hansel (Jeremy Renner) and Gretel (Gemma Arterton) - lose their parents after wondering into a house of made of candy and killing a witch, they discover a whole new purpose in life: hunting witches.  Essentially, there’s your movie.  It’s a mystery involving trolls and witches as our dynamic duo traverses the countryside swapping one-liners and punches as they unearth a sort of medieval conspiracy of darkness revolving around the biggest witch of them all, Muriel (Famke Janssen), and her madness.  Co-starring Peter Stormare, Thomas Mann and Derek Mears, Hansel & Gretel is a foul-mouthed, gut-splashing groovy good time.

As gory as the film is, it might surprise you that this feature was produced by Will Farrell and Adam McKay.  The fact that it NEVER takes itself seriously won’t though.  This – as the saying goes – is for entertainment purposes only and, due to its heavy mix of jokes and violence and myth, it absolutely works.  The creativity starts with the extended fight scenes, works its way into the story, and, finally, rests on the shoulders of the cast who add a nice dynamic of memorable supporting characters aligned to either side of the good vs. evil battle.  Throw in a few plot twists to keep the audience guessing and Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters is good to go.

Wirkola has a ripe style behind the camera and directs this picture in such a way that it’s hard to fault.  He is definitely not stoic but, as the film progresses, the style becomes the ride.  Things happen fast and, as detailed as the film looks, that’s the true beauty of this film; it’s fast and furious and doesn’t pause for its audience who might have been expecting something generic.  Wirkola is confident in his vision and doesn’t feel it necessary to dwell.  For the most part, Hansel & Gretel is kinetic and engaging and – with crooked camera angles and non-traditional shots – very, very slick.

This is amazingly perfect B movie material.  Here, with 12 minutes of additional and very bloody material, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters is a blast.  There’s nothing generic about this; no silly love interests, no worthless giant battles at the end, and no kid-friendly sidekick characters.  Oh, they are present but in a twisted state of things.  This is rough-and-tumble entertainment primed for my fellow Hellhounds and gore-gore girls to devour.

Here’s hoping Hansel & Gretel continue the hunt soon.

 

{2jtab: Film Details}

Hansel & Gretel - Blu-ray ReviewMPAA Rating: R for strong fantasy horror violence and gore, brief sexuality/nudity and language.
Runtime:
88 mins.
Director
: Tommy Wirkola
Writer: Tommy Wirkola
Cast: Jeremy Renner; Gemma Arterton; Famke Janssen; Thomas Mann
Genre: Fantasy | Sci-fi
Tagline:
Revenge is sweeter than candy.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Me and my sister... we have a past. We almost died at the hands of a witch. But that past made us stronger. We'd gotten a taste of blood. Witch blood. And we haven't stopped since."
Distributor:
Paramount Pictures
Official Site:
www.hanselandgretelmovie.com
Release Date: January 25, 2013
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
June 1, 2013

Synopsis: In this dark spin on the fairy tale, siblings Hansel and Gretel are a formidable team of bounty hunters who track and kill witches all over the world.

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Hansel & Gretel - Blu-ray Review

Component Grades
Movie

Blu-ray Disc
3 stars

4 stars



Blu-ray Experience
3.5 stars

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - June 11, 2013
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
Subtitles
: English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese
Audio: English: Dolby TrueHD 5.1; French: Dolby Digital 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1; Portuguese: Dolby Digital 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD); UV digital copy; iTunes digital copy; DVD copy
Region Encoding: A, B

Paramount’s 1080p presentation of Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters is pristine.  It’s a digital-to-digital transfer that is most certainly flawless.  Colors are bursting with fully realized punctuation and unique flavor.  Textures are strong – even through the black levels – and contrast is high.  Detail is strong without everything appearing too smooth, and flesh tones are very natural.  Blacks are deep.  Some may find it a bit too dark, but I never lost track of anything due to some of the darker shots.  It’s perfect picture quality.  The high quality Dolby TrueHD 5.1 lossless soundtrack that surrounds the images is absolutely perfect.

Supplements:

Commentary:

Special Features:

This extended cut of Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters features BR 3D, DVD and digital copies of the film.  The Blu-Ray sports the unrated version of the movie, which is superior to the theatrical version.  It’s about 12 minutes longer and much bloodier than its R-rated counterpart.  There are also three featurettes to check out featuring looks at the film's origins, the plot, casting and performances, character details, the picture's style, the violence in the film, as well as an extended look at the witches and trolls.

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