In my Winter/Spring Nerdy Movie Preview I had this to say about Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters:
If we set our expectations low enough, though, we may find ourselves thoroughly enjoying Hawkeye killing witches and taking candy.
I went into Hansel and Gretel with extremely low expectations and I was not disappointed. I expected over-the-top action, ridiculous fight scenes, some decapitated witches and a little gore. The movie gave me all of those in a fast-paced, highly entertaining movie.
There wasn’t much substance to go along with the entertainment, but here are some thoughts I had while watching the movie.
Even thought it’s an action movie about killing witches, family is the foundation upon which all that witch killing is built. Hansel and Gretel are brother and sister, pushed to a life of hunting witches after their early experience in the gingerbread house. There isn’t a lot of relational depth in the movie, but any that is there can be found between the two siblings. I have a sister and she is one of my very favorite people in the entire world. If we were forced to hunt witches together, I wouldn’t mind spending that much time together. Thankfully, though, instead of hunting witches we can just hang out and talk about Doctor Who and Harry Potter.
Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters challenges the statement that the only good witch is a dead witch. Without giving too much away, evil witches don’t solely populate Hansel and Gretel’s world; some witches are good and use their magic to make the world a better place. While I don’t support real witchcraft of any kind, we can learn a lesson from Hansel and Gretel. It’s dangerous to stereotype and lump people into categories based upon our preconceived notions. I’m Asian but I’m terrible at math. My wife is blonde but she isn’t stupid. Instead of shoving people into categories and boxes, we need to appreciate each person for who they are: a handcrafted work of God.
The evil in Hansel and Gretel’s world was easily spotted. Witches had cracked skin and snaggly teeth, easy to identify even on the most crowded of streets. Unfortunately we are not so lucky. Evil in our world isn’t as easily identified. Jesus warns that wolves will come dressed as sheep. Even our hearts, as Jeremiah 17 reminds us, are deceitful above all things. Evil not only moves around us but often within us. If we hope to identify the evil around and within us, we need to cling ever more tightly to our good and gracious God. Evil is cast into greater contrast the more time we spend with good. As we spend more and more time with God, he’ll begin to reveal the deeper areas of brokenness in our lives that he wants to heal. That process won’t be anything like hunting witches but it will be far more fruitful and satisfying.
Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters was not a great movie. It was entertaining, though, and not a bad way to spend 90 minutes. It is rated R, however, and very much NSFC. So if violence and cussing are a stumbling block, you might want to give it a pass. Also, if you’re like I was and your parents won’t let you see rated R movies, give it a pass as well. No movie is worth breaking the fifth commandment, but this one is especially not worth it.
If you saw Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, what did you think? If you didn’t, please don’t judge me.