Witches of England… You are a disgrace! Miserable witches… You are good-for-nothing worms! Everywhere I look, I see the repulsive sight of hundreds, thousands of revolting little children!–The Grand High Witch
Red Lats, a super reviewer on Rotten Tomatoes, says of The Witches, “I don’t understand the high rating most reviewers give this movie. It is a very simple story – witches are bad and kill little children – some kid is smart/lucky enough to kill witches.” Based on this assessment, he gives the film two stars. He’s both right and wrong. The 100% rating is misleading and a good example of the limitations of a binary rating system like Rotten Tomatoes uses. While the film clearly has more good going for it than bad–thus the perfect RT score–it’s a bit underwhelming overall. Watch it for Angelica Huston, who’s fantastic as the grand high witch; watch it for the really great puppetry and practical effects, and watch it as a good example of a children’s movie that understands it’s all the better to be a children’s movie and still be a little bit anxious and twisted. Just don’t expect perfection.
P.S.- Just how good are the practical effects? My eleven year old son told me as we were watching it, “There’s no way this movie could be that old. The effects are too good.”
P.P.S.-Dahl reportedly hated it because of the way the ending differed from the book. While I didn’t hate the ending, I thought it unnecessary and incongruous and can’t help wondering if it wasn’t tacked on after the test screening.