Newest Reviews
Tyger Tyger
Filmmaker's House, The
Man Standing Next, The
Rock, Paper and Scissors
Batman: The Long Halloween Part One
Salaam Bombay!
Boss Level
My Heart Can't Beat Unless You Tell It To
Edge of the World
Treasure City
Shiva Baby
Flowers of Shanghai
War and Peace
Merrily We Go to Hell
Ellie & Abbie (& Ellie's Dead Aunt)
Amusement Park, The
Hands of Orlac, The
Death has Blue Eyes
Kala Azar
After Love
Earwig and the Witch
Zebra Girl
Skull: The Mask
Bank Job
Drunk Bus
Newest Articles
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
  Earwig and the Witch A Talking Cat?!
Year: 2020
Director: Goro Miyazaki
Stars: Richard E. Grant, Dan Stevens, Vanessa Marshall, Taylor Henderson, Kacey Musgraves, JB Blanc, Thomas Bromhead, Pandora Colin, Logan Hannan, Summer Jenkins, Eva Kaminsky, Vivienne Rutherford
Genre: Animated, FantasyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: A few years ago, a witch on a motorbike (voiced by Kacey Musgraves) was haring along the highway at night, being chased by a yellow Citroen 2CV which had sprouted teeth and intended to catch her. Clasped to her bosom, wrapped in a purple blanket, was her baby daughter who she wanted to deliver to an orphanage so the girl could grow up in safety and not be hassled by the other witches in her mother's coven who were tracking her down, and with one well-deployed handful of magic worms, the speeding rider was able to give the pursuing car the slip. So the girl, named Earwig, was given to the orphanage and her mother took off, leaving a note briefly explaining her situation. Naturally, the baby was renamed Erica Wigg...

Studio Ghibli will always be associated with hand drawn animation, but they had been dabbling in computer graphics at the point this effort was released, and CGI was what manufactured it to the screen. Of course, the purists were not happy, and director Goro Miyazaki, son of Hayao Miyazaki, who had made the studio what it was and credited with "planning" here (whatever that meant), was not winning any new fans by doing what many perceived as ruining his father's legacy. His Tales from Earthsea had not been well-liked as a debut, emulating his parent's style, and you could see why he chose this Diana Wynne Jones book as it featured a lead character spiritedly trying to live up to her parent's achievements - had it struck a chord?

Especially as Hayao had already adapted a critically acclaimed Wynne Jones story, Howl's Moving Castle, and this was always going to be in the shadow of that, despite being originally a television project that won a theatrical release in many territories (including an expanded one in Japan). The English language dub featured stars like Dan Stevens and Richard E. Grant to voice characters, though fairly sparingly, suggesting they had only required an afternoon of their precious time, so really the tones heard the most were of Erica (Taylor Henderson) who did her best to characterise the distinctive quality of anime dubbing in Japan, though there was a certain disconnect between visuals and sound. Erica, her independent personality established early, was the main focus as she was adopted with some alacrity.

She has such a big personality that you may be left expecting more than you wound up with, particularly when all this appeared to be leading up to a far grander showdown than you were given. But while the overall reaction was "Go back to the pen and ink!" actually Earwig and the Witch was not a dead loss, it just came across as cramped in its style by the plot's insistence on having almost all of its incident take place within the walls of the adoptive household during school holidays. Perhaps contemporary kids' entertainment had led us to anticipate far more mayhem than we were served up, but there was a small-scale quality in this that was unfashionable yet also, if you had little to invest in that style of production, kind of refreshing. So no huge, expansive Harry Potter story arc where Erica heads off to find her mother and battle the witches, merely a learning of magic from the bad-tempered witch (Vanessa Marshall) against her wishes and an understanding with her husband, a demonic ex-rock star (Grant), and a new pal in the cat familiar (Stevens). It wasn't complex, it was pitched young, but that was no bad thing, though it did cut off just when you thought it was staging a big finale. Music by Satoshi Takebe.

[Earwig and the Witch screens in cinemas from 28 May 2021.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 265 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
Andrew Pragasam
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf


Last Updated: