Spooktober: Hocus Pocus 2

After 29 years the Sanderson Sisters are back on our screens, with a brand new sequel that hit Disney+ on September 30th, how well have the witches adapted to modern times?

After previously reviewing the first movie, originally made in 1993, the sequel takes place in modern day Salem and features three young girls as opposed to the older cast. Becca, the leader of her friend group, accidentally summons the sisters during a birthday ritual and chaos ensues.

Now when the movie was first announced I was quite excited, afterall I am a huge fan of the original. I was counting down the days for when the sequel would release, and like a sad person that I am, I planned my entire evening around it.

The movie definitely gives off the same vibes as the original: corny goodness with very cringy jokes and main characters who will always be underwhelming compared to the Sanderson Sisters.

Speaking of witch, the sisters are obviously the stand out roles for the entire movie, but that is to be expected. When your first movie did so well because of the villains, then naturally you give them way more screen-time in the sequel.

Honestly, if I had to recommend this movie, which I am, it would be for the relationship between the small coven that makes the film entertaining to watch.

I can’t lie and say both movies have amazing story-telling, I related the Hocus Pocus franchise to something like a Disney Channel movie, because that’s what it originally was. You won’t get stories and drama like a big-budget Disney remake or animation, no. It’s slightly better quality than a Disney Channel movie and that’s all it needs to be.

The humour is hit or miss, most jokes rely on ‘Oh look, it’s modern day now and not the 90s, how will the sisters react?’ and some of this works but it gets old really fast. Another section of humour is references to the previous movies, a lot come across as easter eggs like one character whistling ‘I Put a Spell on You’.

There is some slapstick thrown in there too, but again, it’s not like they reinvented the wheel with it.

As I briefly mentioned before, the CGI has definitely improved. An obvious point, I know, but it does help the movie I suppose. I wish a lot more was practical, I mean, how hard would it be to replicate elements from the previous movie?

For example, Book has a CGI eye compared to his animatronic eye in the 90s. Why was it so hard to recreate that look? I feel as though if a movie can use practical effects then it should, when you’re in a movie climate where every film you watch is covered in CGI it’s nice to see something that is physical.

Now let’s talk about our three new young leads: Becca, Cassie and Izzy.

Although the young teens act their hearts out, their performances don’t exactly match the same energy as the Sanderson Sisters; and that’s a shame. I also don’t really like the ‘fight’ that happens before the movie starts between the main characters.

Because at the end of the day, you know they’ll come together and defeat evil via the power of friendship. It’s just a trope that is so overdone and to be honest, I’m sick of it. I personally found the ending too happy, I know it’s a family movie but I was hoping for a more solemn ending.

Perhaps the girls don’t remain friends, maybe the spell didn’t work entirely and the witches will come back on a different day? I don’t like how everything felt rushed so it would be wrapped up in a neat little bow.

And with that out of the way, I can now discuss the post-credit scene; because yes, everything has to be a Marvel movie.

We follow Cobwebs, the Binx replacement, trotting down the corridors of the Sanderson Sisters’ spell shop. After many, many zoom-ins on this kitty’s fuzzy face, it moves aside and we see there is another black candle.

And if you’ve somehow read these reviews but know nothing of these movies, first off I’m impressed you’ve made it this far, and secondly, let me explain. In the ethos of the Hocus Pocus universe, the sisters make their grand return when a virgin lights this enchanted black candle. When the black flame goes out at sunrise so do the sisters.

So another, well another another, candle being shown on screen is a big deal and clearly implies there will be a third entry into the series. And I have to say, I’m not a big fan of this idea. Why can’t we leave it at two?

Why does everything have to be a big franchise with multiple instalments? We all know the only reason they made a second movie was because Disney saw how much of a cult following the first had.

All in all, the movie feels like the original with crummier jokes but great character performances from Midler, Parker and Najimy.

Hocus Pocus 2 gets 1 out of 5 Books from me.

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