#REVIEW: “THE WITCHES”
By Mr. Will Wong
While Nicolas Roeg‘s 1990 take on Roald Dahl‘s The Witches remains a Classic loved dearly by many, that is not to say that Robert Zemeckis’ update penned with the help of Guillermo del Toro and Kenya Barris, isn’t without its own merits. Did we mention also that Alfonso Cuarón had a had in producing as well? We for one found it actually delightful in spots.
The Film centers on a boy named Hero (voiced by Chris Rock as an adult and Jahzir Kadeem Bruno as a child), who is orphaned and goes to live with his grandmother (Octavia Spencer) who helps him find joy again in his life. He encounters a witch while shopping with his grandmother one day and together they flea to go live at a glamorous hotel where they encounter a coven of witches led by the Grand High Witch (Anne Hathaway). We learn that the witches despise children – why we’re not exactly clear – with the Grand High Witch concocting a magical potion which transforms them into rats. Determined to find a way to turn him and his rat friends back into children, Hero and his Grandmother find themselves in a fight to ward off the fearsome Grand High Witch, who is out to get rid of them.
Though this visually-dazzling (looks far more expensive than its $25 million budget!) Adaptation struggles to find what it is that truly motivates these characters, we cannot deny that Rock‘s narration is genuinely funny even though that same energy isn’t so evenly dispersed throughout. Hathaway delivers some phenomenal work, having so much fun with the role that we find ourselves rooting for her in all her deliciously evil glory. Spencer is a grounding force to the story as all sorts of outlandishness surrounds her. And Bruno stamps himself a name to look out for, starring in both this and popular The Christmas Chronicles: Part Two.
A word of caution, things do get a bit too violent and scary for the younger set at times, which is slightly problematic as The Witches is geared to them, so bigger kids be prepared!
THE WITCHES arrives on premium video-on-demand Christmas Day via Warner Bros. Canada.