Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (Blu-ray) (2013)
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Reinventing Hansel & Gretel
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-The Witching Hours
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Meet Edward the Troll
|Year Of Production||2013|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Tommy Wirkola|
Paramount Home Entertainment
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.40:1|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
†††† When they were children, Hansel and Gretel were hidden in the forest by their father where they chanced upon a candy house with a witch inside who intended to eat them. The children burnt the witch in her own fire escaped, but their parents had disappeared. Years later, Hansel (Jeremy Renner) and Gretel (Gemma Arterton) have become famous as witch hunters for hire, utilizing a variety of advanced weaponry.
†††† The children of a small town are disappearing and the mayor employs Hansel and Gretel to investigate, much to the chagrin of Sheriff Berringer (Peter Stormare) who has his own methods of dealing with those accused of being witches, whether they are guilty or not. In town, Hansel and Gretel gain the assistance of young Ben (Thomas Mann), who idolises them, and the beautiful Mina (Pihla Viiala) who is not all she seems. They discover that the missing children are to be sacrificed during the next Blood Moon by black witch Muriel (Famke Janssen) in a ritual that will render witches impervious to fire. Hansel and Gretel have just three days to rescue the children and destroy the witches gathering for the ritual; and along the way they will discover the truth about their parents and that not all witches are bad.
†††† Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters is a concept film that works a treat. The film is the brainchild of Norwegian writer / director Tommy Wirkola, whose previous feature was the off-kilter but entertaining Dead Snow (2009). The film works because of the deadpan humour, the relationship between the leads, the explosive and exciting fights and the over the top, cartoonish gore. The film knows that the premise is ridiculous; Jeremy Renner at one time comments ďwe hunt witches for a living. Thatís normal. ReallyĒ, and this knowing humour is also manifest in the performances of both Renner and Arterton who play off each other nicely and make a great brother and sister team! The other performances are not as good, with Peter Stormare hammy and Pihla Viiala bland, but Famke Janssen has fun and the animatronic troll of Derek Mears is great value.
†††† The fights of Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters are loud, explosive and chaotic, with bodies and various props flying through the air. Neither Hansel nor Gretel are superhuman and they tend to be battered and bruised in their fights with the witches, frequently coming off second best. A positive is that a lot of the action uses the actors on wires with limited CGI, so it looks quite good although some of the 3D effects are jarring and obvious. Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters is also quite a gory film, with bodies pulled apart, heads and limbs severed in sprays of blood, or witches cut to shreds by wires, but these effects are not lingered upon and the whole is more cartoonish than real.
†††† Some critics have been unkind to Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters calling it absurd and that it never finds the right balance between action and the concept. All I would say is that the premise is indeed absurd but, once one accepts that fact, the film is made with such exuberant good humour with such likeable leads that you just go along from the ride.
†††† In theatres Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters had a running time of less than 90 minutes: this Blu-ray is the extended cut that runs an extra nine minutes. For a comparison of the theatrical and extended cuts see the report on movie.censorchip.com here.
†††† Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.40:1, close to the 2.35:1 original ratio, in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC code.
†††† This is a beautiful looking film. Detail is sharp and crisp, the colours deep and natural. The green forests, the grey medieval town and the red and yellow of explosions all look great, blacks and shadow detail are spot on, and skin tones mostly natural except for a brownier look in some interior scenes. There is some motion blur, such as when the witches speed through the woods, but it is otherwise minor. I did not notice any other artefacts.
†††† There are subtitles available in English, English for the hearing impaired, Spanish, French, Japanese and Dutch.
†††† The video is as good as one expects from a recent film.
†††† The audio choices are English Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Spanish, French and Japanese, all Dolby Digital 5.1, plus an English audio descriptive track.
†††† Dialogue is sometimes difficult to hear, especially some of the witches and some lines from Peter Stormare. Otherwise the audio has nice separation with the surrounds being in frequent use for music, water effects, branches snapping, the thuds of contact, gunshots, explosions and debris. It was not overdone and did have a nice enveloping feel. The subwoofer added appropriate bass to the impacts, explosions and the music.
†††† The original score by Atli Otvarsson has a very Hans Zimmer feel, and Zimmer is credited as music producer. It is epic and works well.
†††† Lip synchronisation was fine.
†††† The audio track was very good.
|Surround Channel Use|
†††† This consists of behind the scenes and film footage plus interviews with director / writer Tommy Wirkola, producer Kevin Messick and actors Jeremy Renner, Gemma Arterton, Peter Stormare and Famke Janssen. Includes some information about how the project came about and the casting choices; this is worth watching once.
†††† A look at creating the numerous witches, with special reference to Famke Janssenís character and make up. Again behind the scenes and film footage and interviews with most of those mentioned above with creature and special effects make up supervisor Mike Elizalde and actor Derek Mears added. Quite interesting.
†††† Creating and operating the animatronic suit for the character of the troll Edward. Comments from Tommy Wirkola, Kevin Messick, Mike Elizalde plus actors Jeremy Renner, Gemma Arterton, Peter Stormare, Derek Mears and Famke Janssen. Worthwhile.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
†††† Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters is available in various combinations: 2D, 3D, Blu-ray with DVD copy. Extras and specifications seem the same across all regions.
†††† The premise of Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters is absurd but the film is made with such exuberant good humour with such likeable leads in Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton that you just go along from the ride. I thought it was a hoot.
†††† The video and audio are excellent and the extras add value to the Blu-ray package.
|DVD||Sony BDP-S580, using HDMI output|
|Display||LG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||NAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.|
|Speakers||Studio Acoustics 5.1|