Roald Dahl’s distinctive mix of humour and scares find their way into Robert Zemeckis’ The Witches, and this classic children’s tale finds a fresh voice for a whole new generation.
In late 1967, a young orphaned boy goes to live with his loving Grandma (Octavia 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 him away to a seaside resort. Regrettably, they arrive at precisely the same time that the world’s Grand High Witch (Anne Hathway) has gathered her fellow cronies from around the globe — under cover — to carry out her nefarious plans.
Hollywood legend Robert Zemeckis (Back to the Future) returns to the big screen with a bang as he adapts Roald Dahl’s infamous children’s tale, The Witches, to the big screen and brings a perfect mix of scares and humour that younger fans, and their parents, will have a lot of fun with. Reinterpreting The Witches for a new generation, Zemeckis sets the film in the Southern United States, and this combination of warm weather, baroque visuals and monstrous witches keeps the story fresh and exciting. At every turn, Zemeckis changes things up for his younger audience around, and there’s plenty of fun to be had as our young hero (Jahzir Kadeem Bruno) and his beloved Grandma (Octavia Spencer) do everything in their power to stop the Witches evil scheme.
Having an absolute ball as the Grand High Witch in The Witches is Anne Hathaway, and this Academy Award winner has plenty to keep her busy in this film. Best described as an ‘evil Jackie O’, as The Grand High Witch Hathaway is stylish, calculating and has a venomous hate for children. She’s sure to freak out younger viewers with plenty of surprising scares and she’s a hoot to watch from beginning to end as she works to rid the world of children forever. It’s clear with this role that Hathaway just wanted to kick back and have some fun, and in my mind she absolutely succeeded.
Standing in the way of Hathaway’s Grand High Witch is Octavia Spencer as the Grandma of the story’s protagonist. A kind, loving, devoted grandmother, Grandma is that special character that every audience member comes to know in their hearts. Added to this interpretation is Grandma’s power as a healer, and her strong faith and with this she goes into battle to combat the witches and stop The Grand High Witch’s evil plan. Octavia Spencer never gives a bad performance, and she has plenty of fun going up against Hathaway in The Witches and audiences will love her even more after this one.
As a cinematic experience it doesn’t get much better for younger audiences than The Witches. From it’s grand visuals and baroque stylings to the flamboyant presence and appearance of Anne Hathway’s Grand High Witch, to the misadventures of the film’s three mice protagonists and all the mischief they get up, there’s plenty to enchant with this one. The addition of Alan Silvestri’s whimsical score adds a great little sparkling bit of magic to the film as well, and The Witches is sure to go down a treat this holidays for younger viewers.
Arriving just in time for the holidays, The Witches is sure to be a hit for families looking for a much-needed getaway to the cinema.
Image: Roadshow Films