By Maddie James, Contributor
[Warner Bros. Pictures; 2020]
The last thing that some movies should have is a good cast, and The Witches is one such movie. With performances from Octavia Spencer, Stanley Tucci, Anne Hathaway and Kristin Chenoweth, The Witches holds a lot of promise for people unfamiliar with the story but falls short of its star cast. The Witches is a 2020 adaptation of the book of the same name by Roald Dahl, following the first adaptation in 1990. Aside from a more diverse cast and the updated graphics, the 2020 adaptation hasn’t grown much from the previous version, let alone the book.
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The impressive and capable cast only brings attention to the glaring issues in this strange and disorienting film. Strong performances could have detracted from the strange imagery and outdated plot, but the script and special effects make it impossible to take the film seriously in any regard. The CGI, though likely trying to copy character descriptions from the book, is unsettling and completely baffling. None of the witches have toes except Anne Hathaway’s character, who gets one toe in the middle of each foot? Clawed hands with arms that dislocate like something from an X-Files episode? Joker-style mouths that split open for extra teeth? Sure it’s Roald Dahl, and he’s quirky, but who put this in a movie and rated it PG?
Though the movie definitely leans too heavily into the weirdness of the source material, there are some fun moments. The main character and his grandma are a wholesome duo, as well as the Stuart Little-esque mice characters. But in the end, the weirdness wins out, making it a movie that seems ok at first glance, but quickly devolves into repulsive strangeness. The Witches doesn’t need a blockbuster cast, and its ridiculous plot and bizarre imagery definitely were not meant to leave the ’80s.
Watch the trailer here: