Published On: Fri, Sep 30th, 2022

‘Hocus Pocus’ has become a cult favorite. How does the sequel stack up?

Sarah Jessica Parker as Sarah Sanderson, Bette Midler as Winifred Sanderson and Kathy Najimy as Mary Sanderson in Disney Plus’s “Hocus Pocus 2.” (Disney Plus) (Disney Plus)

The only thing millennials have been waiting for compared to affordable housing is a “Hocus Pocus” sequel. The 1993 Halloween-themed Disney film enthralled critics and audiences, resulting in its rise to cult-film status in the three decades since its debut. Now its follow-up, “Hocus Pocus 2,” has finally arrived, with the direct-to-VHS — er, sorry — special Disney Plus streaming premiere Friday.

The original film follows a trio of children who work together to defeat the wickedly funny Sanderson sisters (played by Kathy Nazimi, Bette Midler and Sarah Jessica Parker) after accidentally bringing them back from the dead. The witches are on a time-sensitive quest for immortality, an adventure that involves a virgin, the souls of children, and some musical numbers.

The comedy was panned by film critics, including The Washington Post’s own Dason Howe, who called it “another futuristic videotape disguised as a movie. Look for ‘Hocus Pocus’ as part of a Halloween ‘trick or treat’ package.”

But the critical hatred did nothing to stop the intense love that the kids developed for the little horror movie. While it did not do particularly well in theaters or with domestic sales, it found a second life on television: when Disney began airing the film on its channel, and later on ABC Family, “a generation of millennials.. Suddenly starting to associate ‘Hocus Pocus’ with Halloween, it was viewed by kids of the ’70s and ’80s with equal reverence for the ‘It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown’ and ‘Thriller’ videos,” says Joseph Adalian of Vulture According to.

As Midler told People magazine in an excerpt celebrating the film’s 25th anniversary, “It was like an ugly duckling … it’s got its wings and it just flew away. I think it’s fantastic.” Is.”

Midler, Nazimi, and Parker reprise their roles as Winifred, Mary, and Sarah Sanderson in “Hocus Pocus 2”, alongside Doug Jones (whom you can call the fish person from “The Shape of Water” or the fish from “Hellboy”). person) ), who returns as friendly zombie Billy Butcherson.

So how does the new outing stick up to the original, without the benefit of shoddy special effects seen on well-worn tapes?

Here’s how the two do — and don’t — compare.

“Hocus Pocus” centers on a cat from a cursed boy named new baby Max (Omri Katz), his much cooler little sister Dani (Thora Birch), his crush Allison (Vinessa Shaw) and Zachary Binks (Sean Murray). While audiences fell in love with them almost 30 years ago – partly because of Max’s very floppy hair – neither of those characters are in the sequel.

Director Anne Fletcher told Entertainment Weekly that she tried to fit in the entire original cast, but her presence didn’t work with the story. “People will say, ‘They can be in the background!’ And I’m like, really? You’re going to have the lead roles of the first film in the background and be satisfied? You’re not going to be satisfied, you’re going to be angry,” she explained.

The new generation of Salem youth are a group of teenage girls: Becca (Whitney Peak), Cassie (Lilia Buckingham) and Izzy (Belissa Escobedo). These childhood friends don’t need to explain that their hometown is haunted, and they too are without the constant guidance of a talking cat. And although he has less floppy hair than Max, he also has much better witch-foiling plans.

The bad witches are out; There are good witches. Whether it’s because of the more universal acceptance that the historical concept of wicked women was based on sexism, or because a set of Disney’s target audience is on #WitchTok, “Wicked” has been given a new image of “Hoax 2.”

As the naive Gilbert (played by “Veeps” Sam Richardson) says of the Sanderson sisters in this period: “They were ahead of their time, they were misunderstood.” And while it’s fair to say that cards from that particular family clan may still not contain good witchcraft, it is found in a new generation.

Becca, Cassie and Izzy have been trying their hand at magic for years. The group breaks up early in the film because of a bad high school boyfriend, but their mini-coven provides the positive rebrand needed to survive the witch PR crisis.

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The original film features the iconic cover of Jay Hawkins’ “I Put a Spell on You”, as performed by Midler, Nazimi and Parker. The tune changes in the sequel, with an upbeat performance by the trio of Blondie’s “One Way or Another”, complete with a thrilled Flash crowd.

While “I Put a Spell on You” is a fan-favorite, Parker’s super-scary “Come Little Children,” sung by Sarah to enchant kids to eat, is also a memorable performance. For her fans, you’re in luck! We get a shorter version performed by Mother Witch (played by “Ted Lasso’s” Hannah Waddingham).

Did Winifred Really Like Her Sisters in “Hocus Pocus”? It would be fair to say no: his focus is only on revenge, his youth and flamboyance. At one point she even asks, “Why am I cursed with such stupid sisters?”

But “Hocus Pocus 2” offers more sisterly affection and less ridicule. Viewers are given a glimpse of Sanderson’s childhood and how Winifred worked to keep them together. It’s a “Cruella”-esque origin story that is rewritten in terms of how it gives childhood excuses for the villainy of adulthood, but still employs sibling camaraderie.

Do you still have to explain to your child what a virgin is like after watching a new movie?

In order to achieve their immortality in the original “Hocus Pocus,” the Sanderson sisters require a virgin to light a candle. As a result, the film places an aggressive emphasis on biting Max for his potential. While the sequel has thrown the issue under the rug a little more broadly, the birds-and-bees conversation still haunts Salem, and even leads to the uncomfortable “What’s a virgin?” makes fun of. After the first film many families were forced to negotiate.

We can suggest a more informative approach than that of Gilbert, whose interpretation is that a virgin is someone who has never lit a candle, but that young millennials must turn away from us to get rid of the uncomfortable situation they have endured for 29 years. He had given it to his parents earlier. Trying to watch a simple family Halloween movie. In that respect, “Hocus Pocus 2” is pretty much the same.

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