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The Boston Globe

Movies

Movie Review

Beyond the gingerbread house: ‘Hansel & Gretel’

It didn’t much feel like we needed another fairy tale retelling “for grown-ups” (read: genre-heads) right now, between “Snow White & the Huntsman,” “Red Riding Hood,” and TV’s “Once Upon a Time” and “Grimm.” But apparently Norwegian writer-director Tommy Wirkola doesn’t care. Best known for the Nazi zombies horror import “Dead Snow,” Wirkola tears through “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters” with such giddy abandon, it ends up being splattery fanboy fun. Preposterous, clearly, but fun. (No kidding, Will Ferrell’s production company had a hand in developing the thing.)

The movie boils down the Brothers Grimm essentials to an Autobahn-fast prologue, with the fabled young sibs stumbling across that sugar-coated cottage and dispatching its witchy owner, violently, in the first five minutes or so. But hey, consider the kids’ efficiency as support for the trendy suggestion that years later, Hansel (Jeremy Renner) and Gretel (Gemma Arterton, “Clash of the Titans”) have grown up to be arms-totin’, f-bombin’ ace bounty hunters.

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