The Witches by Roald Dahl is one of the most famous and lasting children’s books of the dark fantasy genre. After its first adaptation in 1990 with the same title, the story jumps back into current events with a new movie by HBO coming out on the 22nd of October in America and throughout the next months in the rest of the world.
Set in 1960s Alabama rather than the original Great Britain, The Witches follows the quest of a boy and his kindly grandmother as they try to thwart the plans of a coven of witches to get rid of all children by turning them into mice.
The cast is full of notorious names, first among them the astounding Octavia Spencer, winner of an Academy Award with The Help, a Golden Globe, and several SAG Awards. Alongside her we find Anne Hathaway whom you might remember for her role – among many others – in The Devil Wears Prada, and Stanely Tucci, an actor with a long list of films under his belt and who also acted alongside Anne Hathaway in the previously mentioned The Devil Wears Prada as well as having a smaller role in The Hunger Games saga.
Initially intended as a stop-motion animation under the direction of Guillermo del Toro, The Witches made a u-turn and ventured into the live-action realm instead when it fell into the hands of director Robert Zemeckis.
Zemeckis has announced that this new adaptation will be much closer to the original story by Roald Dahl even though the setting (originally Great Britain), the historical era (the 1980s in the original), and the protagonist (a Norwegian kid in the book and an Afro-American boy in the new movie) all got changed. Regardless, there are huge expectations surrounding a film full to the brim with such famous talent.
The new adaptation will also have to face the memory of the first one. The 1990s The Witches, released on the same year as Roald Dahl’s passing, received very positive reviews, so the new The Witches will certainly come under the watchful eye of those who loved the first movie.
Postponed because of this year’s pandemic, The Witches is one of the most awaited movies of the moment. Its direct-to-digital release in the US definitely gives an advantage to American viewers compared to the rest of the world who will have to wait for its still-unannounced release date that will most likely fall sometime around the first few months of 2021.
We can’t help but hope that said release will be much closer to next January than the latter months of 2021 and in the meantime, we’ll use this wait to enjoy the trailer and ponder the eye-catching aesthetic that it seems to be promising.