The Witches

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We saw the last (sniff!) Jim Henson movie over the weekend, a marvelous movie called The Witches.

The Witches starts off in modern day Norway, with some fabulous scenes of flight over the glaciers. A grandmother tells her impressionable grandson all about witches and how to avoid them. His parents are abruptly killed, and his grandmother takes him home to England, and then to a seaside resort for a little vacation.

The seaside resort is also the the meeting place for the annual witches convention. The grandmother recognizes an old adversary, and the grandson stumbles over a meeting of the witches' annual meeting.

In this movie, witches look much like regular women, except that they wear wigs, elaborate rubber masks, and gloves. When the meeting begins, the witches "let down their hair" so to speak, and a room of fairly normal-looking women becomes a gaggle of bald crones.

As the Grand High Witch, Angelica Houston is given truly hideous makeup in this scene. She's a wonderful presence in the film, but she speaks with a really awful Germanic accent. That accent was one of the few missteps in the film. (I think the ending was a slight misstep too, but, if Dahl wrote the ending that way, I'm not going to complain too much.)

Aside from the witch makeup, another wonderful bit of makeup effects occur when people are turned into mice, an occurrence which happens throughout this movie. When the grandson and a friend of his are turned into mice, the camera looks at the world from their point-of-view---about 1/4 inch off the ground.

I don't want to give too much away about this marvelous and inventive film. Go see it, and take the kids unless they are sensitive or easily frightened.