Monday, 15 April 2013

The Witches (1990) – ★★★★

04Director: Nicolas Roeg
Writers: Roald Dahl (Book), Allan Scott (Screenplay)
Stars: Angelica Huston, Mai Zetterling, Jasen Fisher, Rowan Atkinson, Charlie Potter

Here’s a movie I’ve loved ever since I was a little boy. Having never read the novel, I had no idea what to expect when I started watching ‘The Witches.’ This movie is crazy, with a capital C! For the most part it’s a fun, frightening, and thrilling adventure. Not to mention, it has some of the best make-up effects I’ve ever seen. You can thank ‘The Muppets’ creator Jim Henson for that. It’s a story set in a world where witches exist, and their aim is to destroy children. These witches are bald, with purple eyes and square feet.

While staying in a hotel with his grandmother (Mai Zetterling), a young boy named Luke (Jasen Fisher) stumbles upon a witches conference, where they reveal their plan to turn all of the children in England into mice. Led by the Grand High Witch (Angelica Huston), the witches turn Luke and his pal Bruno (Charlie Potter) into mice. Together, this unlikely duo do their best to foil the evil witches plans.

The first thing to be said about this movie is that it is fun. It’s everything a children’s movie should be. There’s mystery, adventure, heroes and bad guys! Adults may not have the same reaction to the film, but as a child I remember it being a most interesting and thrilling movie.

Upon re-viewing The Witches, I found that it does have its moments of bad acting and cheesy dialogue. In a way, this adds to the fun tone of the movie. Roeg doesn’t try to take the story too seriously, which is why it worked so well. This isn’t a movie that should be nitpicked, because as a whole package everything fits together just right.

Angelica Huston was absolutely amazing as The Grand High Witch. It’s definitely one of her more memorable performances. Mai Zetterling was also marvelous as Luke’s grandmother. In fact, every actor played their part well, making this children’s movie much more enjoyable.

003The most memorable thing about this film is undoubtedly the make-up / costumes / effects. I don’t know how they did it, but the Grand High Witch was scary, repulsive, and a marvel to look at. Also, the effects used to make the mice talk was very effective. They were puppets, but they were cute and seemed almost lifelike.

Altogether, this is a movie experience you’ll never forget. I never did. As a child, it was one of my Top 10 favorite movies. As an adult, it is one of my Top 10 favorite children’s movies. I highly suggest getting this for your kids.

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