Feature fail for sweet siblings

“Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters” is really dumb. Not a little dumb, not kinda dumb, but really dumb. Watching this movie was a lot like pulling teeth; painful and possibly easier to get through with sedation.

The film is about two kids who grow up to become witch hunters after an encounter with a lady in a candy house. It is competently shot, and, as is often the case with modern action films, utterly devoid of any sort of shame or good taste.

We get shot after slow motion shot of the most ridiculously inane “action” scenes. If it can be seen in slow motion, chances are good that Tommy Wirkola, the film’s director, has shot it.

This movie earns its “R” rating with some of the most gratuitous gore shots I’ve seen in awhile. Every couple seconds a head or arm explodes, and one can almost hear the Wirkola’s boyish glee. For some reason, lots of directors seem to think that they can easily cover any scripting problems with a fountain of blood.

Speaking of scripting problems, this movie has a ton of them. Obviously, a movie about witch hunters requires some suspension of disbelief, but, when you set your movie in a time period that is obviously before the 19th century, it is your duty as a filmmaker to justify the existence of machine guns and insulin.

The script, written by Wirkola and Dante Harper, also suffers from a lack of tension. Hansel and Gretel are so awesome and invincible that I never once felt that they were in any sort of danger. They spend so much time building up threats, and then deus ex machina comes in and handedly saves the day.

Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton spend a lot of time spouting lame duck one-liners, and generally, not being very interesting to watch. Renner, in particular, gives a performance so phoned in that even Verizon won’t be able to hear it. Smoldering looks don’t work as well when you don’t have a Hulk to back you up, it would seem.

I, wholeheartedly, recommend that you do not watch this movie. It is terrible. The member of the audience who told me it was “really good” is really wrong.

A sequel is forthcoming.