I was watching this thinking how much Alisha Weir's performance in the title role reminded me of Emma Watson's "Hermione" from back in 2001! Feisty and intelligent, she is sent by her parents to the "Cruncher Hall" school where she encounters "Miss Trunchbull" (Dame Emma Thompson). Now this is a teacher who would not have looked out of place working with King Herod at Christmas! The children live in fear of her, as do the staff - but as "Matilda" starts to bond with "Miss Honey" (Lashana Lynch) and realises her true potential, well - a rebellion is soon in the offing! It's a strong story this - Dahl addressed many issues of neglectful parenting, bullying, intimidation and sexual stereotyping and Tim Minchin puts much of that sentiment effectively to music with a clever and entertaining lyric. The almost unrecognisable Dame Emma is on top form exuding an almost ridiculous degree of menace as helped by her array of cctv cameras, she rules the school with a rod of iron. Weir really enters into the spirit of things - she puts her heart and soul into the enthusiastic, mischievous and engaging character and with some enjoyably choreographed ensemble dance numbers this all delivers well. It still has a bit of the theatrical to it, some of the production doesn't quite make the best use of the flexibility the big screen offers, but the toe-tapping "Naughty" and "Revolting Children" help put a smile on your face for a surprisingly quickly-paced two hours.
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