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Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (Unrated) Blu-ray 3D Review

Hansel-and-gretel-3d-blu-ray-coverU.S. Release

  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4 (2D)/MVC (3D)
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit), English Dolby Digital 5.1 Descriptive Audio Service, French, Portuguese, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Portuguese, Spanish
  • Subtitles Color: White
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Rating: R/Unrated
  • Run Time: 87 Mins. (Theatrical); 97 Mins. (Unrated)
  • Discs: 3 (1 x Blu-ray 3D + 1 x Blu-ray + 1 x DVD)
  • Digital Copies: UltraViolet
  • Studio: Paramount Home Entertainment
  • Blu-ray Release Date: June 11, 2013
  • List Price: $39.99

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:3/5]
Video Quality
HD: [Rating:4.5/5]
3D Effect: [Rating:5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2.5/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(The below TheaterByte screen captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray Discs and losslessly compressed in the PNG format. There should be no loss of picture quality with this format. All screen captures should be regarded only as an approximation of the full capabilities of the Blu-ray format.)

The Film

[Rating:3/5]

Hansel-Gretel-Witch-Hunters-3D-BD_02

What can one really say about a film boldly titled Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters? The title alone telegraphs what to expect walking in, much like Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Reworking the old German fairy tale as recorded by the Brothers Grimm and creating a fast-paced fantasy-actioner with an anachronistic steam punk twist, the filmmakers here, director Tommy Wirkola at the helm, have launched us into a popcorn fueled world of excess. The grandness of the experiment is made only more engaging by the insanely aggressive 3D production that can’t help but launch all manner of projectiles at us at every turn. Does it make for Oscar-worthy material? Not in the least, but for all those who were looking for the ridiculous, Wirkola succeeds pretty well here.

It’s years after the orphans Hansel (Jeremy Renner; The Bourne Legacy; Thor; The Avengers) and Gretel (Gemma Arterton; A Turtle’s Tale: Sammy’s Adventures; Clash of the Titans) escaped an evil witch’s clutches in a mysterious gingerbread house tucked away in the hidden recesses of a dark forest by baking her in her own oven. Now adults, the pair of siblings have become renowned witch hunters, saving countless towns from the evils of the supernatural. They have been hired by a town to help hunt down a witch thought to be stealing their children. There they come up against their most powerful foe yet, the dark witch Muriel (Famke Jannsen; TV’s Hemlock Grove; TV’s Nip/Tuck) who plans to use the children she has stolen to perform an ancient ritual on the Blood Moon to make herself and her fellow witches invulnerable. Hansel and Gretel’s rush to thwart Muriel’s plans and save the township leads them to uncover secrets from their past about their own parents’ disappearance, why they are such naturals at witch hunting, and how they are also central to Muriel’s plans.

Hardly a literary titan, this film’s screenplay is simply a vehicle for its wuxia-style sequences in which one flying, deformed witch after another does battle with the inhumanly skilled at fighting Hansel and Gretel. There’s even time in here for the pair to make allegiance with a troll and get themselves (well, Gretel, anyway) a groupie, in the form of young witch hunter wannabe with a crush on Gretel, Ben (Thomas Mann).

If anyone truly carries this film, it’s Jeremy Renner whose world weary Hansel seems about right as an adult orphan who witnessed tragedy, grew up to kill the things who attacked him as a youth, yet is still somewhat shy and retiring around women who aren’t his sister. Gemma Arterton, on the other hand, lacks the ferocity to truly play the role. She, doesn’t quite pull the part off, like, say, a Milla Jovovich in the Resident Evil franchise. In the end, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters does what it was meant to do, without question, and that is take this fairy tale, turn it upside down, and provide the audience an hour-and-a-half of escapism and relentless action with a reasonable amount of tongue-in-cheek entertainment.

Video Quality

HD: [Rating:4.5/5]

3D Effect: [Rating:5/5]

Hansel-Gretel-Witch-Hunters-3D-BD_01

A native high definition 3D production utilizing the Arri Alexa, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, in this AVC/MPEG-4 1080p (2D) and MVC Full HD 1080p (3D) encodement looks fantastic on Blu-ray. One of the best new 3D releases to date, the filmmakers put the technology to good use here. Of course, given the subject matter and the title of the film, don’t go into this one expecting subtlety – it’s an aggressive 3D production that throws things in your face every opportunity it gets, from arrows to burning cinders. However, there is also a wonderful natural dimensionality to the overall image, good detail, and a strong sense of contrast, despite the inevitable small drop in brightness. The 2D image is equally solid, offering scrumptious detail on close-ups, nuanced shadows, and inky black levels.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

Hansel-Gretel-Witch-Hunters-3D-BD_03

A somewhat bombastic lossless English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit) that shows just the slightest bit of restraint from what you’d expect in a film like this is offered up. It supplies oodles of atmospherics, full and crystalline dialogue, and a tight 360-degree field of sound.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2.5/5]

Hansel-Gretel-Witch-Hunters-3D-BD_04

All the featurettes included here feel like throwaways that aren’t very in-depth. At least the overall package is feature-rich, including the 3D disc, standard Blu-ray, standard DVD, and UltraViolet digital copy, if you don’t mind being locked into streaming versus downloading (and truly owning) your digital copy.

The supplements:

  • Theatrical and Unrated Cut of the movie included
  • DVD
  • UltraViolet
  • Reinventing Hansel & Gretel (1.78:1; 00:15:41)
  • The Witching Hours (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:09:01)
  • Meet Edward the Troll (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:05:25)

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]

Hansel-Gretel-Witch-Hunters-3D-BD_05

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters never takes itself seriously, and how could it with a name so brazenly on the nose? This film is simply a retreat from reality for a little while with copious violence, a little skin, and excellent 3D effects. The acting is passable despite some good names being on board. This one is a strong rental for the weekend.

Additional Screen Captures

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Hansel-Gretel-Witch-Hunters-3D-BD_06

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Hansel-Gretel-Witch-Hunters-3D-BD_09

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Best Buy Exclusive:
Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (Bby) - Blu-ray Disc

BestBuy.com:
Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (W/Dvd) (Unrated) - Blu-ray 3D

Purchase Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters on Bu-ray 3D Combo Pack at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles on Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:3/5]
Video Quality
HD: [Rating:4.5/5]
3D Effect: [Rating:5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2.5/5]

 

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