Saturday, October 1, 2022

Hocus Pocus 2

 And so we begin October with perhaps the most eagerly anticipated Halloween movie of the last 30 years: “Hocus Pocus 2.”

 The film, which easily should have been made ten (or more) years ago, has finally been made because of the dedication of stars like Bette Midler and millions of fans who have made “Hocus Pocus” into the cult classic— or, maybe more aptly, simply the classic— it is today. “Hocus Pocus 2” is as released on Disney at 3 am Thursday morning, and the Ghost has since watched it twice already.

 It’s simply magic to see Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy reprise their roles as the sisters Winifred, Mary and Sarah Sanderson. My only complaint when it came to their performances was that they weren’t longer. Although they don’t enter the film until almost 30 minutes in, every second of their screen time is worth the film. And that says nothing of Doug Jones’ reprisal of his role as Billy Butcherson, perhaps one of my most loved things about the film. 

 I had been expecting to not love the choice of opening with a flashback to the sisters’ childhood; it would deprive us of precious screen time with the original actresses. But the girls who play the Sandersons were fantastic, and one of my favorite things about the film. 

 The only real notes I had were that there’s not enough Halloween in the film. While the new cast of kids in the modern story are forgettable, they don’t seem to have an affinity for Halloween night, or any of the magic that time brings to Salem. There are no scenes of trick or treating, but we do spend nearly 10 minutes in a Walgreens (which, in fairness, is one of the funniest scenes in the film.) Also, the sentimental lean the ending takes is a bridge too far, and the way it is done is out of character, and something I wish they wouldn’t have done. Oh, and there’s no reason we couldn’t have had another talking cat character. 

 My notes being minor, they can’t take away the magic that does exist in “Hocus Pocus 2.” The film comes nowhere close to capturing the greatness of the first film; nor should it. “Hocus Pocus,” has captured the haunted hearts and minds of generations. If this sequel can bring more people to the incredible 1993 film, it is all worth it. 


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