Watch the trailer for Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, and you might find yourself thinking, "Wait, are they serious?" The answer is no, they're not—the movie, co-produced by Will Ferrell, is consciously campy—but that doesn't mean it's good. Here's a taste of the disdain critics are tossing at the Brothers Grimm update:
- "Nothing makes a whole lot of sense in this incoherent movie, whose director's philosophy seems to be: When in doubt, cut somebody's head off," writes Lou Lumenick in a no-star New York Post review. Jeremy Renner (Hansel) "looks vaguely embarrassed throughout," and Famke Janssen (the "Great Witch") is on record as saying she did this "to pay off her mortgage."
- "With a running time of under 90 minutes, the film is smart enough not to wear out its welcome. But that’s the only sign of true intelligence in this juvenile caper," writes Stephen Farber at the Hollywood Reporter. "The picture was never intended to be taken seriously" but it's "missing a genuine sense of wit."
- Andrew Barker at Variety tries to come up with some bright spots, and winds up saying that it's "not outrageously dumber" than similar movies like Van Helsing, and that it "boasts a nice title credit sequence." Yeah, not high praise. "A film with a concept this strange has no right to be so dully formulaic," he writes. "Viewers may be surprised to find themselves yawning as yet another witch is ripped apart limb from limb."
- "Look closely at Hansel & Gretel and you’ll see faint traces of what could have been (and perhaps once was) a clever satire," like Hansel's "sugar sickness" (aka diabetes) brought on by his days of eating candy-covered houses, writes Matt Singer at Screen Crush. But Renner and Gemma Arterton (Gretel) take their characters just a bit too seriously. "The result: a movie that's a joke, instead of a comedy."