The latest movie Hocus Pocus 2
"Hocus Pocus 2" comes out on Disney Plus this Friday, September 30
The story of three witch sisters who were executed in Salem in 1693 and returned to wreak havoc 300 years later on Halloween is told in the 1993 Disney film “Hocus Pocus.”More than just a classic, it is a cultural landmark. It was moderately successful when it was first released, but it quickly became a phenomenon on home video and cable, and many families now make it an annual tradition, with parents who loved it in the 1990s showing it to their children. With Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy playing witchy Three Stooges, Disney achieved the perfect balance of spooky and silly. Winifred, played by Midler, was the impulsive, Moe-like ringleader; Sarah Parker was a fluttery, Curly-like scatterbrain named Sarah; and Mary, played by Najimy, was the Larry of the trio. She never quite made anything work, but she was confident that she was doing it right.
Nearly 30 years later, “Hocus Pocus 2” should make fans of all generations happy because it pays homage to the original, updates it gently, adds diversity that’s welcome, and cuts out some violence. Additionally, it is slightly sweeter. The always terrifying Doug Jones, the brilliant actor who played the creature in “The Shape of Water” and Abe in “Hellboy,” portrays the helpless zombie Billy Butcherson in the first film. The comic powerhouses Tony Hale and Sam Richardson, as well as the all-around powerhouse “Ted Lasso’s” Hannah Waddingham, are welcome additions.
The first film was about brother-sister relationships with a touch of teen romance; The topic of this one is friendship. Additionally, we learn some background information. The Sanderson sisters are shown as young girls following an aerial opening shot that makes reference to the original “Hocus Pocus.”As Winnie stomps frantically through the town, we first witness the Pilgrim community fleeing the scene. Taylor Henderson plays Young Winnie, who has buck teeth and wild red hair. She does a sharp and funny job of Midler’s alpha witch in her clever version. Since Sanderson’s parents are dead, Winnie must marry a young villager, and the younger girls will be sent to live with another family, according to Reverend Trask (Tony Hale), the local clergyman. The girls run away to the forbidden forest after Winnie turns them down. There, they meet a glamorous witch (Waddingham), who gives them one of the most important props from the first movie—the book of spells with a human eyeball on the cover that actually opens and, I suppose, lets you see.
Becca (Whitney Peak) and Izzy (Belissa Escobedo), both high school students, are currently getting ready for their Halloween tradition, Becca’s birthday sleepover. This year, they will be without their other friend Cassie (Lilia Buckingham), who has been spending all of her time with her boyfriend and has not been a part of the group recently. Becca and Izzy like to play around with magic and spend a lot of time at Gilbert (Richardson)’s local magic shop. He gives them the other important prop from the first movie, a black candle, and they light it, just like in the first movie, despite knowing about the Sanderson sister’s legend. It is joked about but not explained that the candle’s ability to bring back the witches requires virginity.
So, on Halloween night, the Sandersons return as costumed partygoers and trick-or-treaters celebrate under the direction of the jolly mayor of the town, Cassie’s strict father. He is once more played by Hale and is a descendant of Reverend Trask. As in the first film, the witches want to exact their wrath on Trask by inhaling the essence of children so that they can live forever.
The challenge for a sequel to a beloved film is to keep enough of the original to satisfy fans without becoming too repetitive or confusing to newcomers. “Hocus Pocus 2” accomplishes this perfectly. A delightful musical number celebrates the best parts of the first movie, and a costume competition between the Sanderson sisters is one of the film’s most hilarious moments. To say that shrewd, brave, and trustworthy teenagers receive more comic treats than tricks is not a spoiler. The audience also does.