“Two young women accidentally bring back the Sanderson Sisters to modern day Salem and must figure out how to stop the child-hungry witches from wreaking havoc on the world.” –IMDB
There are quite a few pet peeves I have when it comes to sequels. To name just a couple: 1) a complete disregard for the universe set up so wonderfully in the original and 2) dispelling any mystery that may have been left up to the audience’s quite capable imagination. Hocus Pocus 2 (:Electric Boogaloo) commits these cardinal sins within the first five minutes.
In my Hocus Pocus universe, these witches were ancient. They sucked the souls out of children in order to live for centuries. However, in this telling of it, the witches were only about 55 when they killed Emily Binx. Okay, so not nearly as cool as ancient witches who have traveled the world sucking the souls out of little children. But we’ll move on….
Apparently Winifred is a loving, protective sister who has committed all of these egregious sins only to protect her innocent little sisters. BULLSHIT! At the end of the first one, she specifically tells Max that he’s a fool for giving his life for his sister’s. So this whole redemption of the witches I found to be completely unnecessary. Also, “good” witches were brought in with the new cast, so I absolutely don’t see a reason to redeem the Sanderson sisters and render the plot completely useless. But anyway….
I also found it incredibly odd that the sisters seem to have forgotten everything they saw in 1993. The sisters are bewitched (yep, I went there) by the indoor lighting at Walgreens (thanks for the product placement Disney), yet they knew about electricity, driver’s permits, and even cultural references by the end of the first movie. So this was clearly just an attempt to replicate the first movie beat by beat, as opposed to creating any sort of fresh material.
And then there’s the music…I literally left the room. It was embarrassing.
Okay, so I did feel a type of way about this movie. But that’s not to say that I hated every minute. I did enjoy the new cast members that were brought in (although I would have loved to see more cameos from the original cast), as well as Billy Butcherson who absolutely delivered with his comedy chops. Sam Richardson, Hannah Waddingham (pretty much anyone who’s appeared in Ted Lasso), and Tony Hale particularly stood out and injected the film with a dose of comedy that should have been delivered by the Sanderson sisters. Instead, the Midler, Parker, and Najimy’s lines were stilted and unnatural, with far too much winking at the camera. Another cardinal sin.
Now, I knew this movie could never live up to the original for me. The original is sacrosanct. That’s also why I had a pretty bad attitude leading up to its release particularly after realizing that any sequel that SJP agrees to should be avoided at all costs (yeah, I’m looking at you And Just Like That), but I did try to give it a fair shot. As a stand alone film, it was descent enough, although I can’t say that I would ever give it another watch. As a sequel, it relied far too much on the nostalgia factor and I was left feeling little else than a terrific urge to go back and watch the first one again.
Disney, I love you and you do so much right. But I think it may be time to give up the ghost (or in this case the witch) and step away from the sequel game.
Rating: 4 out 10 Claire Bears
If you like this movie, you should also watch: Any other sequel/remake that Disney has mangled into oblivion.
With: Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy
Directed By: Anne Fletcher