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The Witches

First published in 1983, ‘The Witches’ added another feather to Roald Dahl’s fantastical cap. The British author of books such as ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ and ‘Matilda’ had an enduring career. His darkly amusing stories have transcended the page with many turned into films and theatrical shows. Another cinematic adaptation after the 1990 Anjelica Huston starring version, ‘The Witches’ again captures Dahl’s quirky world view with a magical tale for all ages.

Recently orphaned Bruno (Jahzir Kadeem) is sent to live with his Grandma (Octavia Spencer). After a dangerous encounter with a group of glamorous witches, they flee to a seaside resort. Unfortunately they arrive at the same time as the Grand High Witch (Anne Hathaway). A long-time rival of hers, Grandma knows the power of the evil High Witch. Learning of her plans to wreak world-wide havoc, Bruno and Grandma do what they can to battle against the Grand High Witch’s wicked sorcery.

Robert Zemeckis directs ‘The Witches’ with tongue firmly in cheek. Much like most of Dahl’s work, ‘The Witches’ may seem like a dark fairy-tale but as colourful as any bright fable. The screenplay doesn’t have any messages, just pure entertaining fun with which Zemeckis excels at. His previous fantasy movies makes him a good choice for the material, balancing the dark and light equally well.

Without the game performances, ‘The Witches’ wouldn’t be as good. Spencer and Hathaway as opposing forces light up the screen whenever they appear. Hathaway in particular appears to relish her vile villainess role, with her menace genuinely scary. The cinematography brings to life Dahl’s strange pop-art universe with the film never outstaying its welcome.

‘The Witches’ is an entertaining movie doing justice to its source. The acting and CGI are of a high standard with Zemeckis’ direction underscoring the story’s charms. It’s a testament to Dahl’s writing that his stories continue being enjoyed by so many with further adaptations of his weird and wonderful tales a certainty.

Rating out of 10: 7

CURRENTLY SCREENING IN CINEMAS.

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