‘Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters’: Did Jeremy Renner’s Latest Cast a Spell Over Critics?

Jeremy Renner Facts
8 things to know about the two-time Oscar nominee.
Watch static. Hang out at the DMV. Visit a dairy and see how milk is processed…

The above are all things that movie critics encourage you to do — twice — before daring to see Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters once.

Witch Hunters stars Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton as the grown-up versions of the Grimm Fairy Tale characters, clad in Matrix-style leather gear and wielding anachoristic weaponry as they hunt down, well, witches. The film, directed by European filmmaker Tommy Wirkola (Dead Snow), sat on a shelf at Paramount for almost 2 years. Now that people have seen the 3D gore fest, Wirkola might be wishing that they put his movie on a higher shelf.

Bilge Ebiri, Vulture

“You know, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters didn’t have to be terrible. The good news is that the actors appear to be having fun. The bad news is that we’re not… It’s a lot of noise and whooshing camera effects and little else — frantic, yet lifeless.”

Andrew Barker, Variety

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters is not a good film — it’s inconsistently acted, and somehow both underwritten and overplotted – but it has some good things going for it. To his credit, Hansel & Gretel writer-director Tommy Wirkola never takes the pic’s premise — too seriously. Yet while the film rarely provokes any strenuous eye-rolling, it also can’t drum up even the slightest interest in the fate of its characters, let alone suspense.”

Keith Staskiewicz, Entertainment Weekly

“Jeremy Renner tries not to think about his two Oscar nominations as he grimaces and smirks his way through a by-the-storybook plot… Despite the fact that the film is produced by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay, the tone is more cute than clever, and willful anachronisms pop up all over the place.”


Stephen Farber, The Hollywood Reporter

“Lots of anachronisms and tongue-in-cheek dialogue establish the spoofy nature of this violent venture. All that’s missing is a genuine sense of wit… Renner and British actress Gemma Arterton are certainly game, but this foolish vehicle doesn’t give them a chance to show what they do best. 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.”

Katie Walsh, The Playlist

Do you want the good news first or the bad news? Let’s start with the good. Firstly, Witch Hunters is less than 90 minutes long. That’s good. Also, Gemma Arterton is really pretty and wears a lot of awesome leather pants and gloves and vests and things… The title sequence was neat. And, it’s not boring. [The movie] is however, unrelentingly stupid… Do not pass go, do not collect $200, proceed directly to The Playlist’s Worst Of The Year 2013 List. In the words of Gretel: “You’ve got to be f!@#ing kidding me.”

With advisory warnings like these, do you plan to see Witch Hunters? Check out the trailer on Celebuzz then tell us what you think in the comments. 

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