- MAN & WITCH
- Starring: Greg Steinbruner, Tami Stronach and Christopher Lloyd
- Directed by: Michael Hines
- Rated: PG
- Running time: 1 hr 39 mins
- Paper Canoe Studio
There is nothing like a good fairy tale. From the beginning of time, these stories have entertained the world over. A man yearning for love. Talking animals. A witch. Sounds like this is going to be a good one.
While driving his cart home a Goatherd (Steinbruner, who also wrote the screenplay) spies a beautiful woman, clad in white and dancing to a tune only she can hear. He is instantly smitten. Nearby, a young child known as Love takes notice and notches an arrow onto his bow. As he fires the cart hits a rock and the arrow misses its target. All in all, it’s a typical day for the man who is convinced he will never find love.
Smartly written, with strong performances, “Man & Witch” could easily be described as “SHREK meets ‘The Princess Bride’” with a little bit of “The Wizard of Oz” tossed in for good measure. The tale is narrated by Dog, voiced by Sean Astin. He is a big sheepdog who spends his days with his fellow farm mates, including Goose (Jennifer Saunders), Donkey (Bill Bailey) and Sheep (Eddie Izzard), who has a habit of quoting movie lines when the situation warrants it. Talking animals. Ogres. Royalty. And what about the Witch?
There is a lot to like about this film. The cast has fun with their roles, with special mention going to Miss Stronach, who gives the Witch a vulnerable side you don’t expect. If her name seems familiar, it’s probably because she played the Childlike Empress in 1984’s “The NeverEnding Story.” It’s always a treat to see Christopher Lloyd on the big screen. His Alchemist is a nice companion character to both Doc Brown and “Taxi’s” Jim Ignatowsky. The film was shot in Scotland and takes advantage of the beautiful countryside.
“Man and Witch” receives three and a half stars out of five.