Not only is Anjelica Huston a legendary actress, but she has also brought some of the most iconic characters in cinema to life, including Mortícia Addams. However, one of his scariest roles is that of Eva Ernst, the great witch in the beloved adaptation of ‘Witches’ Convention.
It wasn’t long before the original film got a contemporary reinterpretation for theaters, notably to introduce Roald Dahl’s classic to the next generation – and Robert Zemeckis quickly appropriated the timeless story to give audiences a modernized take. featuring Oscar winner Anne Hathaway.
While the new feature has divided both critics and audiences, there’s no denying that the work serves its function of fun – but does it retain the essence of its predecessor? Or were the changes drastic to the point of making it another story?
In this new article, CinePOP has separated the main differences between the two films. Check it out below:
HISTORY OF THE PARENTS
In both films, the main character’s parents die and take him to live with his grandmother. However, the 1990 version offers no explanation for what happened, unlike the new film: very early on we found out that a tragic car accident left him orphaned, giving way to a theme that explores the way someone handles grief.
THE HISTORY OF GRANDMA
Both films treat Grandma as a traumatized character who crossed paths with the horrible witches as a child and vowed to protect whoever she could from the clutches of the bad guys. However, the original feature film decided to provide it with a much more spooky backstory: In the 1990 work, a childhood friend of her grandmother was bewitched by a witch and trapped in a painting, growing old. slowly to death under the helplessness of the family. In 2020, this poignant plot is changed, as the grandmother’s friend has just turned into a chicken.
THE POWERS OF THE BIG WITCH
While Huston has done an impeccable job as the Great Witch, leader of the clan who wants to exterminate all the children in the world, his powers have proven to be somewhat limited. As early as 2020, Zemeckis intended part of the footage to explore Hathaway’s skills as an antagonist – discriminating his ability to fly, his super strength, and the fact that he can throw lightning into his hands.
Both productions stayed true to the characterization of witches in Roald Dahl’s novel: bald with wounds, claws instead of hands, and feet without fingers. However, when Huston took off his mask, he revealed a grotesque figure with a hooked chin and nose, warts, and layers of skin that came together in deep wrinkles (thanks to complex makeup effects that took six hours). Hathaway, on the other hand, had a simpler treatment: Maintaining his youthful appearance, the only thing that differed was his unusually wide smile that hid some sharp teeth (in this case, performed by CGI).
In 1990, the Great Witch finds her lost during a dinner party, during which she takes a bewitched soup and turns into a rat alongside her friends. In the remake, the antagonist ultimately doesn’t drink the potion and the stars in a final battle against his grandmother and children before being brutally murdered by his cat, Hades.
THE GRAND FINAL
In a way, director Nicolas Roeg believed in happy endings and decided to change the finale of Dahl’s novel – a controversial choice, by the way, but understandable in the atmosphere he wanted to offer young audiences. Shortly after defeating the witches, the great witch’s assistant reverses the spell and transforms the young protagonist into a child. In the 2020 artwork, things are less optimistic and more realistic: there is no cure, and the boy understands that he will forever be a rat. However, he uses his experience for good and, alongside his grandmother, commands an army of children in an attempt to destroy all the witches in the world.
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