He’s done it again. Matthew Warchus, creator of the outstanding on-stage musical adaption (music and lyrics by Tim Minchin, book by Dennis Kelly) has once again turned this childhood favourite into a spectacular cinematic experience.
Based on Roald Dahl’s novel Matilda, this on-screen adventure takes, even the mature of us, to a colourful and imaginative world. From the incredible product design to immaculate overlays, this is what we call a movie musical.
While previous 1996 Matilda film adaption, directed by Danny DeVito, took an authentic world perspective, Warchus meets in the middle, creating a hyperreal cartoonish value.
Characters including Miss Trunchbull, played by Emma Thompson, can be seen to embody the over exaggeration that adolescent imagination encompasses. From sharp husky facial features to the disciplined military ensemble, Miss Trunchbull is perfectly personified. When next to her is earthy Miss Honey, played by Lashana Lynch, Miss Trunchbull’s monstrous form projects her bullying personality in a physical stature. Warchus allows the audience to interpret Roald Dahl’s symbolism through this embellishment.
Yet the stars of this colourful film are, of course, the young actresses and actors. Sharp choreography, incredible voices, impressive dramatics, each young star bring their own unique part to the musical movie. However, the glue of this budding cast is Alisha Weir, who took on the important role of Matilda. Within Roald Dahl’s book, Matilda appears as an intelligent, cheeky, rebellious, and courageous individual. As a character, she takes on the voice of young people, fighting for what is right rather than following like a sheep. Casting such a figure isn’t an element that is easily done, nevertheless, the casting team completed this immense task effortlessly. Alisha Weir’s performance as Matilda encapsulates the fictional individual, projecting the opinionated revolutionary child we all know and love – a standing ovation performance.
The anticipated release nears nearly two hours. For a film adaption it does cause a sense of prolonging, however, with the quality of the film, losing a couple of minor musical novelties would not be largely noticed.
It is of no surprise that the film has quickly become a loved success. You can catch it in cinemas now and it will be available to stream on Netflix UK in Summer 2023.
Words: Beth Lander | Subbing: Summer Rogers