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The Witches misses a few spells, but Anne Hathaway's game performance might be enough to bewitch fans of this Roald Dahl tale. Read critic reviews

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Roald Dahl's The Witches Videos

Roald Dahl's The Witches Photos

Movie Info

In late 1967, a young orphaned boy goes to live with his loving grandma in the rural Alabama town of Demopolis. As the boy and his grandmother encounter some deceptively glamorous but thoroughly diabolical witches, she wisely whisks him away to a seaside resort. Regrettably, they arrive at precisely the same time that the world's Grand High Witch has gathered her fellow cronies from around the globe -- under cover -- to carry out her nefarious plans.

Cast & Crew

Anne Hathaway
Grand High Witch
Stanley Tucci
Mr. Stringer
Kristin Chenoweth
Daisy, Mary
Voice
Chris Rock
Older Hero Mouse
Voice
Morgana Robinson
Mrs. Jenkins
Robert Zemeckis
Screenwriter
Kenya Barris
Screenwriter
Jacqueline Levine
Executive Producer
Marianne Jenkins
Executive Producer
Michael Siegel
Executive Producer
Gideon Simeloff
Executive Producer
Cate Adams
Executive Producer
Don Burgess
Cinematographer
Ryan Chan
Film Editor
Alan Silvestri
Original Music
Gary Freeman
Production Designer
Claire Fleming
Art Director
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News & Interviews for Roald Dahl's The Witches

Critic Reviews for Roald Dahl's The Witches

All Critics (178) | Top Critics (41) | Fresh (86) | Rotten (92)

Audience Reviews for Roald Dahl's The Witches

  • Mar 08, 2021
    Having no affinity for the 1990 adaptation of the 1983 Roald Dahl novel the hope in knowing Oscar-winner Robert Zemeckis was going to direct and produce an updated and more faithful-to-the-source material version of the story alongside fellow Best Director winners Alfonso Cuarón and Guillermo del Toro was that it would prove to be the project that gave Zemeckis his mojo back. Unfortunately, Zemeckis continues to taint his pre-2000 career with this re-imagining rather than restoring any faith that the same man who made Back to the Future, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and Death Becomes Her is still alive. 2020's The Witches isn't terrible, this should be noted. If this were made by a less prominent filmmaker and didn't have the precedent of Nicolas Roeg's original adaptation on which to base expectation this would maybe have more a sense of novelty to it, but given the context this largely feels like another excuse for Zemeckis to experiment with his interests in advancing the technical aspects of movie-making rather than tell a fun, entrancing story. Like all Dahl stories, The Witches makes no qualms about not softening the blow of life's truths to its young protagonists; forcing them to deal with the challenges hurled in their direction as there is no way of escaping them, but only dealing with them. While this trademark is evident throughout Zemeckis' film the frightening in pursuit of enlightening never feels as fundamental to the DNA of the proceedings as the order in which these events are doled out does. It's as if Zemeckis has replaced the intrinsic DNA of Dahl's characters, world, and circumstances with calculations rather than constructing them in a live-action fashion to better understand what the author was trying to relay...and while I've only seen the 1990 film once and as an adult, I can say with absolute certainty that film captured the darkly comic shades of Dahl's work far better than this new one. I don't even know if I chuckled at anything here other than Octavia Spencer's sassy Southern grandma. Speaking of Spencer, if Zemeckis had simply made a film about the relationship between a grandmother and her grandson and how that bond grew and evolved after the death of her daughter and his mother I think we and the director may have all been better off as the first half hour or so prior to any titular characters showing up is wholly charming and natural in a way that makes what follows feel all the more contrived. Spencer is fantastic as always, Anne Hathaway is having a blast, and Stanley Tucci doesn't deserve the GIF that will become of him from his mess of a part. The Witches isn't bad enough to cuss out, but it doesn't utilize all its potential to create something as wondrously weird as each individual aspect would suggest it could be. It's dust in the wind, but then again that's what critics said about Hocus Pocus in 1993 and we see the juggernaut that has become. So, don't ask me what the destiny of 2020's The Witches is, the kids know better.
    Philip P Super Reviewer
  • Oct 26, 2020
    Better than it has any right to be. Zemeckis more than justifies its existence by finding new themes and interesting re-staging of sequences. Hathaway is great in this role. Clearly having the time of her life.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Oct 23, 2020
    I'm not sure where to begin on this one, so let's wind the clocks back to 1990 and talk about the original film based on the same book. While I haven't read the Roald Dahl classic book of the same name, I enjoyed the creativity throughout the first adaptation of his work. The Witches from 1990 had many issues and stretched out a very small story to fill the run time of a feature film, which was absolutely the most notable negative of that film for me, as it was for this 2020 version as well. At a mere 105 minutes, Robert Zemeckis' The Witches felt like an eternity to sit through and missed the mark almost entirely for me. This film begins with a montage of images that showcase the fact that witches exist in this world. After the death of his parents, a young boy and his grandma flea to an expensive hotel, where they can get away from the witches, whom they believe are following them. Without knowing it, they end up going to this hotel during some form of witch conference. This in turn leads to this young boy being turned into a mouse by them, as well as another young boy at the hotel. The two of them, along with another mouse, venture around the hotel, trying to escape from these witches.? The premise itself is the most intriguing part, as it's equally strange and fun. With that said, the idea was created as a book, then as a mediocre film in 1990, and now remake nearly exactly the same in every way. Because it did nothing new with the material, I have nothing but criticism honestly, aside from one major thing that I really appreciated. Without ruining it, the original film ends in a way that left me disappointed, but this remake actually had the guts to do something that I wished the original had done. For that reason, I give this film a little praise, but that's just how the film ends because the rest is absolutely the same. I admit that I was enjoying the first act of this film because Octavia Spencer made for a very enjoyable grandmother to this young boy and I would've loved more of that. Sadly, once they get to the hotel, the movie takes no chances and the witches themselves chew up the scenery, and not in a good way. Anne Hathway plays the head witch and although she's absolutely committed to the role and having a blast, I just found her performance to be way too overdone. I commend her for going all out, but it didn't work for me. This was a major issue because she has more than half of the screentime of the duration of the movie. In the end, Robert Zemeckis is a director that I love, but his latest efforts in Allied, Welcome to Marwen, and now The Witches have all been less than stellar to say the least. I thought The Walk and Flight were great films, but I haven't truly loved one of his films since Cast Away, which was 20 years ago. On top of that, Zemeckis also wrote the screenplay with both Kenya Barris and Guillermo del Toro, so I'm really not sure how all those creative brains just made a copy and paste of the original. There was so much talent behind the lens here and I'm still scratching my head as to how this was the final result. I don't believe this film is worth anyone's time, but it's now available through HBO if you wish.
    KJ P Super Reviewer

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