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FILM FANS: Conflicted with 'Hansel & Gretel'

EDITOR'S NOTE: Film Fans features local residents reviewing the movie of the week: "Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters." Want to be a film fan? Email features@gwinnettdailypost.com.

2 stars out of 4

"Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters" is a reworking of the fairy tale into an action movie which seems to be the trend in Hollywood these days. (i.e. Snow White, Jack and the Beanstalk, Red Riding Hood, etc). There is good action in the movie, but the plot and character development leave something to be desired. The movie does move swiftly (only 88 minutes in length) with very few breaks between action sequences.

Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton as the main characters do the bulk of the heavy lifting. Kudos to Arterton who hangs in there during her fight scenes and takes her lumps as well as any man. The actors give every scene their all, although they are not given much to work with. Making them witch hunters (after their ill fated foray into the gingerbread house owned by a witch when they were children) is an interesting take on the fairy tale, but the story takes a back seat to the action sequences, which are quite good.

Overall, the movie does provide good escapism for an afternoon but not recommended for young viewers as the movie earns its "R" rating.

-- Mark Weinstein, Lawrenceville

3 and 1/2 stars out of 4

Well Paramount has hit the mother lode with this engaging and extremely well done tale of the underworld gore of witches and such. Despite its critics, this movie delivers big time with a beautiful array of story, screenplay, actors, special effects and a director who knows less is much better as this one and a half hour work will attest. In addition, the music score is an added bonus everyone will enjoy even through the credits. So long ago, young siblings were saved just before their parents were murdered and they grew up carving out a career path as witch hunters. Witches were terrorizing farm villages, snatching up young children left and right.

The beauty and vulnerability of this work is told in skilled fashion through flash backs and dreams. But as mature adults, Hansel and Gretel, played so remarkably well by Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arlerton, are on the scene as they are the real deal in tracking and smashing the dreadful witches. Then we have an assortment of other characters who add real value in blossoming a story you made have heard of as a youth but not like these guys deliver. In fact, Hansel and Gretel make Tony Soprano look somewhat like a wimp. This movie is a clear winner without reservations.

-- Rick Wright, Auburn

0 stars out of 4

I thought I had seen about the worst fantasy movie EVER in last year's "Snow White and the Huntsman." But no, I stand corrected. "Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters" beats the daylights out of that stinker, and I don't mean that in a positive way.

Hansel and Gretel, as you remember from the fairy tale, made a souffle out the wicked witch that had trapped them in her cottage made of candy. This movie picks up years later, where the adult Hansel (Jeremy Renner) and Gretel (Gemma Arterton) have parlayed their witch-killing skills into a lucrative bounty hunting business. These two roam the countryside, answering frantic calls from villages beset by all kinds of witchery while toting some nifty weaponry (including a crossbow with revolving chambers, and a medieval Taser). They end up in Augsburg, Germany, where a new type of witch menace (Famke Janssen) has appeared, kidnapping the local kiddies to create the Mother of All Spells.

What a complete mess. The script is incomprehensible, the acting is flaccid and the action abruptly cuts from scene to scene. Renner was great in 2008's "The Hurt Locker," but even he can't defuse this bomb.

-- Myra Simons, Buford