Film review: Roald Dahl’s The Witches
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- Published on Saturday, 31 October 2020 12:09
- Last Updated on 31 October 2020
- Monica Costa
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It’s always risky to adapt a Roald Dahl’s novel to the big screen because we all have individual memories of his stories that we treasure. I have rarely liked any Roald Dahl’s adaptations – with the exception of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory starring Johnny Depp – but Roald Dahl’s The Witches starring Anne Hathaway as the Grand High Witch is well made and captivating. The special effects somehow flow smoothly and you feel transported into Roald Dahl‘s world of these evil creatures that persecute children all around the world.
Reimagining Dahl’s beloved story for a modern audience, Zemeckis’s visually innovative film tells the darkly humorous and heartwarming tale of a young orphaned boy (Bruno) who, in late 1967, goes to live with his loving Grandma (Spencer) in the rural Alabama town of Demopolis. As the boy and his grandmother encounter some deceptively glamorous but thoroughly diabolical witches, she wisely whisks our young hero away to an opulent seaside resort.
Regrettably, they arrive at precisely the same time that the world’s Grand High Witch (Hathaway) has gathered her fellow cronies from around the globe—undercover—to carry out her nefarious plans. Based on the book by Roald Dahl, the screenplay is by Robert Zemeckis & Kenya Barris (TV’s “black-ish,” “Shaft”) and Oscar winner Guillermo del Toro (“The Shape of Water”). Zemeckis is also producing, alongside Jack Rapke, del Toro, Alfonso Cuarón and Luke Kelly.
Serving as executive producers are Jacqueline Levine, Marianne Jenkins, Michael Siegel, Gideon Simeloff and Cate Adams. Zemeckis’s behind-the-scenes team includes a roster of his frequent collaborators, including Oscar-nominated director of photography Don Burgess (“Forrest Gump”), production designer Gary Freeman, editors Jeremiah O’Driscoll and Ryan Chan, Oscar-nominated costume designer Joanna Johnston (“Allied,” “Lincoln”), and Oscar-nominated composer Alan Silvestri (“Polar Express,” “Forrest Gump”).
From Oscar-winning director Robert Zemeckis (Forrest Gump) comes the fantasy adventure Roald Dahl’s The Witches. The film stars Oscar winners Anne Hathaway (Les Misérable, Ocean’s 8) and Octavia Spencer (The Help, The Shape of Water), Oscar nominee Stanley Tucci (The Hunger Games films, The Lovely Bones), with Kristin Chenoweth (TV’s Glee and “BoJack Horseman”) and award-winning comedy legend Chris Rock. Newcomer Jahzir Bruno (TV’s “Atlanta”) also stars, alongside Codie-Lei Eastick (Holmes & Watson).
I have really enjoyed watching this new version of Roald Dahl’s The Witches. My expections were really low but I was pleasently surprised. The setting in America, the performances by Octavia Spencer and Anne Hathaway and the amazing special effects all contributed to make this as the best family movie in 2020.
My opinion has been confirmed by 10 year old Lilly of the London Mums’ kids’ club who sent us her verdict:
‘At times this version of The Witches reminded me of Ratatouille when the mice run away for their lives from the witches and pass through the kitchen full of Chefs.
London Mums’ rating: 8/10
Kids’ Club rating: 9/10
Roald Dahl’s The Witches is out in cinemas now.
Monica Costa founded London Mums in September 2006 after her son Diego’s birth together with a group of mothers who felt the need of meeting up regularly to share the challenges and joys of motherhood in metropolitan and multicultural London. London Mums is the FREE and independent peer support group for mums and mumpreneurs based in London https://londonmumsmagazine.com and you can connect on Twitter @londonmums