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THE WITCHES (Robert Zemeckis, 2020) Pre-Release Thread
#1
Zemeckis is remaking THE WITCHES (or making a second adaptation of Dahl's novel, if you prefer) with Anne Hathaway in the Anjelica Huston role.  Despite an apparently stabby set, production wraps soon.

Like too many Zemeckis projects, my thoughts begin with the question of how necessary this is.  As far as remakes go, it at least doesn't feel as opportunistic as many, though I know the Henson-produced 1990 film has a strong reputation in spite of the cop-out ending that Dahl disowned it over.  Zemeckis's twist on the material seems to be to set it in the American Deep South, as opposed to the novel's England setting.  If the Coen Bros. version of THE LADYKILLERS taught us anything, it's that the result of this change can be quite interesting, if not, erm, universally accepted.

I've noticed that Zemeckis manages to shoot his movies relatively quickly (a reported two months of filming for this, WELCOME TO MARWEN and FLIGHT), which may explain why he's able to to keep working despite his string of flops -- he keeps costs down.  My understanding is that when the motion-capture slate at ImageMovers collapsed after the MARS NEEDS MOMS debacle, Zemeckis was still left with the advantage of having built the Seal Team 6 of CGI teams.  A lean army of the best visual effects folks in the business potentially leads to efficient post even when the workload is high.  This may explain why Zemeckis's movies emphasize digital work, even for "mundane" purposes (like filling out locations or accomplishing impossible angles).  It may be part of some shrewd cost-cutting formula.

Anyway, we'll see how this goes.  If Zemeckis is relegated to working with established brands, I'd rather it be stuff like this than have him sucked into the MCU.
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#2
Really like the original a lot. I hope this means a return to something like Death Becomes Her for Zemeckis.
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#3
I find it interesting to contrast Zemeckis with Spielberg.  The point of comparison is that both are populist directors with sentimentalist tendencies, not to mention real life friends who would regularly collaborate in Zemeckis's early career.

Zemeckis's lows are far lower than Spielberg's lows, but I think even in his old age he hasn't entirely lost touch with his sense of incaution, mischief and subversiveness.  By my reckoning whatever amount of that Spielberg had was abandoned when Indy returned the Shankara Stones to the blighted village.

Because of this, I think even Zemeckis's bad movies can be interesting under examination in a way that Spielberg's safer approach lends itself less to.  I also think that when they tackle similar subject matter, Zemeckis is capable of outdoing his mentor.  Case in point, I preferred ALLIED to BRIDGE OF SPIES (though not to any crazy degree, and I like SPIES a lot), and now it'll be interesting to see how their respective takes on Dahl duke out, especially given that THE BFG was that rarest of unicorns in Spielberg's oveure: a genuine flop.  READY PLAYER ONE feels like a Dahl adaptation of sorts, as it's effectively WILLY WONKA for the virtual reality set.
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#4
Set in the American South?

I felt a great disturbance in the internet - like a million thinkpieces were being fired up and ready to deliver their hot takes.
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#5
I suspect it’ll look a little bit like The Help, which actually kind of excites me. If Bryce Dallas Howard had led a coven of child-killing monsters, that would somehow have felt more honest.
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