The Witches – Movie Reviews by Ry!

The Witches – Mystical of Identity: A Frightful Hero’s Tale

Trivial in the design with prospective hope.  Looking at an idea, you try to capture the essence of the material.  Adapting from one medium is a tough task, but it is tougher when adapting and reimagining for something new.  In this latest review, I look at a HBOMax original that attempts to capture a classic tale within the ideas of adventure and scares.  Trying to meld many different aspects, the outcome becomes a mix bag of fantasy.  Even with some character moments, The Witches is a family adventure that does too much within the simple idea of fun.

After a tragic event, a young boy goes to live with his Grandmother.  Trying to rediscover himself, his world gets turned upside down when must become the hero to defeat witches in the real world.  The outline gives a foundation for the basics of a typical family adventure tale.  The directive is a generalization of plot development that encompasses the ideas of fantasy, horror and childlike humor.  This combination provides a linear directive where predictability leads into fragment pacing and a narrative with an identity crisis.  You have the generic introduction to characters, the inciting incident (young boy loose parents) and the key incident (young boy encounters a witch).  All of this is linked by conversational exposition that conveniently force feeds purpose within this film’s sandbox.  As things progress, characters begin to filter into the young boy/grandmother lives, creating a dynamic driven by overexaggerated archetypes.  There is a sense of individualism, but the overacting drowns any kind of relevant detail.  Outside of the characters, the sporadic tonal shifts keep emotional scenes from being really endearing for the audience.  As the young boy/grandmother leave their home for the safety of a hotel, the fragments of development start to turn.

Things to dramatically shift (at the hotel), leading to fantastic tropes that push character creation to the extreme.  A mixture of CGI and practical effects leads to frantic and pizzazz, creating a real conflict between the boy and the witches.  There is a lot of imaginative and fun to be had, leveling out any confusion of tone.  As the witches’ plans are revealed, the plot is driven by the ‘race against time’ trope.  This leads to a mixture of drama, physical mishaps and an obvious final confrontation.  The Witches is a family adventure that tries too much within a simple tale.  Even with a sloppy first half, there is enough in the second half for a genuine good time.  If you are a fan of family adventures with slight scares, this is one for you.  It is available on HBOMax, worthy for a family fright night at home.

Full Score – 2.5 out of 5 (Friday Night Rental)

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