The Witches

Vampire Owl: It is strange that we are being called by the witches too.

Vampire Bat: The vampires are now more accepted in a society than ever.

Vampire Owl: I wouldn’t say that about each and every vampire.

Vampire Bat: Well, humans create divisions among themselves and also divide vampires.

Vampire Owl: The absence of politicians among us has hindered those divisions.

Vampire Bat: I would say that we should divide them before they do the same to us.

Vampire Owl: I find the possibility of bringing more divisions to humans as too easy.

Vampire Bat: But the question still remains if there is space for more of them.

Vampire Owl: Well, lets first go and play, and we will know later.

Vampire Bat: I hope that they have at least set a good athletic sport and not something as lazy as golf or cricket.

[Gets a vegetable burger and three cups of orange juice].

What is the movie about? :: A young boy (Jahzir Kadeem Bruno) losses both his parents to a car accident on a snow evening, and his grandmother (Octavia Spencer) comes to his aid. She takes him home, and does everything to keep him happy when he is wih her. She was someone who used to be known as a healer among her people, and knew how to make sick people feel better. The boy also gets a pet mouse which he names Daisy. One day, the boy is approached by a witch with a snake in her hands, and while she tries to cast a spell on him, grandmother comes and ruins the magic. The grandmother also starts coughing, and as he tells her the story of the lady whom he had met, she realizes that it was a witch, and decides to leave the place with the boy to avoid any more meetings with the witch, as she did have a past with one of such creatures when she was a child. They decide to go to a hotel where her cousin is the chief cook, and stay there, safe from the witches.

So, what happens with the events here? :: But things there are not that safe as they thought. A group of witches led by their all-powerful great leader, The Grand High Witch (Anne Hathaway), arrives there, and the team includes the one the boy had met earlier. At the same time, the boy meets Bruno Jenkins (Codie-Lei Eastick), a boy who is addicted to food, and highly attached to chocolates. As the boy secretly enters a large hall to train his mouse, he is forced to hide, with witches coming in to hold their meeting. He sees them in their true forms, as they have claws instead of fingernails, which is hidden by wearing gloves; they are bald, and adjust by wearing wigs; have square sized feet without toes, which they hide under sensible shoes; strange and scary forms for the boy. There, the boy hears them making their grand plans, as The Grand High Witch tells them to give the all the children in the world a potion, mixed into sweets, that can transform all of them into mice, starting with Bruno. Now, he and his mouse should find a way to stop them.

The defence of The Witches :: It can be seen that the movie does capture our interest well enough from the beginning itself, as the starting scenes make a fine build-up. The special effects as well as the performances contribute nicely here, and it will appeal the most to children, with whom the movie can have some instant connection. The children would find most of the approach taken by the film to be adorable, and the pattern is the same which has been adopted by such stories for decades. There is the usual folk-tale and fairy-tale power that comes from behind it. The unpredictability factor, maybe coming out of the original book by Roald Dahl, a man who has something for the twists as we know from Lamb to the Slaughter, the much appreciated twisted short stories which became part of the syllabus of many universities including our own MG University’s Modes of Fiction paper. It is always good to see the witches, after vampires, zombies and werewolves ruled the big screen and novels for too long.

The claws of flaw :: The Witches is not that strong as it should have been, with any element attached to it. The film could have used a lot of elements of magic in there, and the whole thing could have lit up with colourful spells – maybe even with a touch of darkness to add to it. There is no clear movement towards a colourful, light world or towards that world of terror, as the movie stays reluctant, playing in the safe side, never taking the risks from the beginning to the end. The finish could have also been bigger in scope. There is also supposed to be an older version, which is supposed to be better than this, at least according to the critics. Finding of faults will be easy for this movie for people who live in the far away past, but not the same for those who understand it from the time when the book was published. The movie also came a little bit late, because an OTT release in April or May would have brought more viewers, with children not having schools, and colleges having some kind of semester breaks in between.

Performers of the soul :: Anne Hathaway comes up with a fantastic performance as the witch to remember, with a funny side – the last time we saw such a thing was related to Eva Green in Dark Shadows. She has blended into the witch-role really well. She is the one person on whom this movie can depend on, not only as the big performer, but the one huge name that everyone knows about – she has been a superstar even in the areas where people don’t remember the name of Hollywood celebrities. Octavia Spencer is there in a role which suits her really well right from the beginning itself. Jahzir Kadeem Bruno who plays the main kid does a really good job. Stanley Tucci as the manager of the grand hotel is fun throughout the film’s run. The other witches are also come up with a nice job, even though they don’t really get to do anything in particular individually. It is all left for the leader of the witches, and that comes as rather surprising, because more witch identities and some special powers to add to the same would have been nice to watch with the availability of special effects.

How it finishes :: The Witches does have your attention as the one film which seems to sparkle with its poster being shown among the new releases on the OTT platform. We did have one movie named The Witch a few years later which dealt with everything in an entirely different way. The movie we have here is certainly not the serious one among the two, focusing more on simple basic entertainment rather than anything else. There can be some accusations against this one, but those simple things can be passed over as things of no importance, as this is the kind of film which thrives on the cute silliness, and will appeal to the younger audience really well. Well, this is another movie which will keep us interested in the escapist mode, as this world where the witches go among the humans to deal with the children whom they consider to be brats, is a good addition during the COVID-19 lockdown which never really seems to end. This is the kind of old style entertainment that we need to keep us going through a world of chaos.

Release date: 22nd October 2020 (USA), 5th June 2021 (Amazon Prime)
Running time: 106 minutes
Directed by: Robert Zemeckis
Starring: Anne Hathaway, Octavia Spencer, Stanley Tucci, Kristin Chenoweth, Codie-Lei Eastick, Jahzir Kadeem Bruno, Charles Edwards, Morgana Robinson, Josette Simon, Eugenia Caruso, Ana-Maria Maskell, Orla O’Rourke, Penny Lisle, Simon Manyonda, Philippe Spall, Brian Bovell

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

4 thoughts on “The Witches

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