Saturday, February 27, 2010

Reviews In Space: The Witches (1990)


Roald Dahl was awesome.  He was creative, made great characters, and was always funny. And a few of his books were made into movies. Therefore; The Witches.

(Insert clever bestiality-related quip here)

So, I think I'll kick off this review with the plot, which is a good thing to kick off a review with. Some old Norwegian grandma, Helga Eveshim, (Mai Zetterling,) is telling her grandson (who is not Norweigan,) Luke, (Jasen Fisher,) a story about real witches. Apparently, real witches have Computer Generated purple pupils, (Heh, purple pupils,) and a whole crap-load of other features, like baldness (are all witches cancer patients?), a lack of toes, (they wear high heels anyway,) etc. Anyways, the kid's parents get in a car crash, Luke and Grandma mourn for a bit, time jump, grandma has a diabetes stroke (on the kid's birthday no less,) and the pair have to stay in England for a bit, because . . . uh . . . Diabetes is cured if you stay in England for a while? Seriously, it makes no sense.  The doctor says it's so Grandma can relax, but why can't you relax in Norway?

This film has several strange, what-the-hell-just-happened moments. The first, oddly enough, is in the very beginning of the movie, where the credits scroll by in a Star Wars-esque perspective. Except instead of scrolling by in space, they scroll by a frozen Norwegian landscape.


And that brings us into the performances. Everyone is just decent, except for a few actors, which I shall point out. 

First, Jasen Smith, who plays Luke. GOD, is this kid bad. He reminds me of that awful actor who played Anakin Skywalker as a kid.  I almost expect him to repeat one of the lines from The Phantom Menace.

Secondly, I'd like to point out Anne Lambton, who played the first witch we saw. She's honestly the best actor here. She plays her role very well, being creepy, like a witch should be.  Unfortunately, she gets five minutes of screen time.  The hell, movie? That's a terrible casting decision!  This woman should've had the title role!  That's - That's like if you gave Alan Rickman as Snape five lines in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix!  

Oh, wait.

And third but not least is Anjelica Huston, who plays the Grand High Witch.


I expect nothing but a subtle performance from a character that looks like this.

Good lord, this woman chews the scenery like it's filled with blueberries! Seriously, she makes me laugh every time I look at her.

By the way, did I mention that the cameos in this movie are amazing? They got Rowan Atkinson, (Mr. Bean, for those who don't know who Rowan Atkinson is, (and I don't blame you if you don't)) and I swear I saw Abe Vigoda and Phyllis from The Office in there, too. Seriously though

The ending of this movie is tacked on and honestly kinda stupid.  See, the book ends with Luke realizing that while he'll be a mouse for the rest of his life, he can still have a fulfilling life screwing with the witches.  In my opinion, that's a solid ending.  It ties everything up nicely.   

However, in the movie, they have to screw it up and have some witch come over and change Luke back into a real boy.  I think it's because the Grand High Witch betrayed her and she wanted to give a postmortem screw-you.  I don't know, it's stupid. (However, unlike Robots and Popeye, this ending is not a good metaphor for the rest of the movie, because the rest of the movie doesn't suck all that much.)

Now you may be asking, 'Spacer!  Why didn't you end with the end?  The end is a good place to end.' Well, I'll tell you.  It's because you should always save the best for last. Ladies and gentlemen, the metamorphosis scene.

Really, you just have to watch the scene to understand.

Overall, The Witches is a fun movie. While it's not perfect, the directing is good, the shots of Norway are nice, and it's just entertaining to watch. Check it out if you want 90 minutes of witch-y entertainment.

A must-see for fans of the book.
This is Spacer, signing out.

1 comment:

  1. Rowan Atkinson, is actually a very famous British actor, starring in many movies and TV shows including "The Black Adder 1-4," "Not the 9 'Clock News," "Canned Laughter," "The Thin Blue Line," "Four Weddings and a Funeral," "The Tall Guy," "The Lion King," and much, much more.