With fatigue long since having set in on the kind of commercially-friendly, Tim Burton-derived retro gothic whimsy that motivates major studios to fund movies like this, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters was always going to have to do something special to distinguish itself from the bland likes of Alice In Wonderland and Snow White and the Huntsman. More
Some degree of effort has clearly been made to set the film apart, and it's never boring, but it also never gets beyond averagely good.
A mild Sam Raimi-esque playfulness enlivens proceedings for the most part, and some fun is had with a fanboy character who nerdishly worships the witch-destroying siblings. He is played by Project X's Thomas Mann, accepting the baton for these types of characters from Justin Long, who would've played this role ten years ago.
Going into this movie, I was very intrigued to see how they would portray the fabled gingerbread house of the source material. Here was an opportunity to do something really cool with on-screen candy overload. Alas, they fudged it.
And there is the fact that they decided to make this an R-rated movie, which means we get boobs, F-words and a couple of grisly witch dispatchings. More often than not, potentially awesome mainstream movies cut off their own balls trying to AVOID an R-rating and thus access a wider audience, but the decision to gear this film specifically to young adults doesn't really add anything of note. Except for the boobs.
This can serve as a mindless alternative to the current surfeit of heavy Oscar movies, but don't expect anything too great. Plus I kept waiting for a "He's so hot right now" Zoolander/Hansel joke that never came. Hide