Starring in the title roles are Jeremy Renner (Avengers, Bourne Legacy) and Gemma Arterton (Quantum of Solace, Clash of the Titans) who have been hired by the small village of Augsburg to investigate the disappearance of their children taken by the evil witch Muriel (Famke Janssen, GoldenEye, Taken). Along the way they battle the local town sheriff (Peter Stormare, Bad Boys II, Armageddon) who does not trust them, a cult of witches and even a very large troll.
The film, directed by Tommy Wirkola, making his first Hollywood feature film debut, blends a mixture of genres to provide this picture with just the right tempo to keep audiences engaged. Harkening back to films such as Evil Dead II and Army of Darkness, Hansel and Gretel combines comedy, horror, and action to help deliver an over-the-top film, then keeps on delivering even after the credits are rolling. Filming in the native Grimm fairytale land of Germany certainly helped contribute to the film creditable tone and look.
With such a strong cast, the film has plenty to work with, and Renner proves yet again why he is Hollywood's latest go-to guy for action films, and Arterton holds her own in the action scenes. Even having not played a "bad guy" since GoldenEye, Janssen easily slips into the role, having no problems convincing the audience that she is an evil being not to be trifled with.
While Hans Zimmer is only the executive producer of the Hansel and Gretel score, his influence can certain be felt in the music by Atli Orvarsson (The Eagle), who provides a soundtrack that suits the film's mood perfectly.
Make no mistake about it: this film is not for the faint of heart or young audiences. It is a dark twist on an already dark fairy tale, perfect for adult audiences to enjoy on a cold January winter night.
See also FlickDirect's interview with Hansel and Gretel stars Jeremy Renner (Avengers, Bourne Legacy) and Gemma Arterton.