So the news just dropped that Robert Zemeckis’ reimagining of the classic (and disturbing) children’s story of Roald Dahl’s “The Witches” is coming to HBO Max later this month. Along with said news came a fun and fabulous poster, some gorgeous first images, and a trailer that — honestly?
Leaves us a little underwhelmed.
We have no doubt Hathaway will give it her all and she certainly does look the part, but this all seems a little light and silly for a story that was genuinely scary, with an ending that’s hard to call happy. We feel sorry that Octavia Spencer’s already stuck in grandmother roles. And we don’t care how much you slow it down, you can’t make “I’ll Be There” sound ominous. The whole thing feels ill-advised.
Meh. We’ll catch it for the costumes.
Reimagining Dahl’s beloved story for a modern audience, Robert Zemeckis’s visually innovative film tells the darkly humorous and heartwarming tale of a young orphaned boy who, in late 1967, 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 our young hero away to an opulent 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—undercover—to carry out her nefarious plans.
The film stars Oscar winners Anne Hathaway (“Les Misérable,” “Ocean’s 8”) and Octavia Spencer (“The Help,” “The Shape of Water”), Oscar nominee Stanley Tucci (“The Hunger Games” films, “The Lovely Bones”), with Kristin Chenoweth (TV’s “Glee” and “BoJack Horseman”) and award-winning comedy legend Chris Rock. Newcomer Jahzir Kadeem Bruno (TV’s “Atlanta”) also stars, alongside Codie-Lei Eastick (“Holmes & Watson”).
Based on the book by Roald Dahl, the screenplay is by Robert Zemeckis & Kenya Barris (TV’s “black-ish,” “Shaft”) and Oscar winner Guillermo del Toro (“The Shape of Water”). Zemeckis is also producing, alongside Jack Rapke, del Toro, Alfonso Cuarón and Luke Kelly. Serving as executive producers are Jacqueline Levine, Marianne Jenkins, Michael Siegel, Gideon Simeloff and Cate Adams.
[Photo Credit: HBO Max – Video Credit: HBOmax via YouTube]