Hocus Pocus 2 Review


Legacy sequels are common today. The Jurassic World series, the new Star Wars trilogy and Top Gun Maverick are all continuing a story that maybe should have been finished years ago. These movies are often unremarkable, soulless cash grabs that only exist to make more money, however, there can be great movies to come out of this trope. Top Gun Maverick and Star Wars: The Force Awakens is both pretty good movies that are made better by bringing back a story we all thought was over. These movies are good on their own but made better because they are sequels. Hocus Pocus 2 is not one of these movies, but it still isn’t bad. It’s a completely average movie, so while entertaining it doesn’t hold a black flame candle to the original (haha).
To properly describe my thoughts on this film, I think I should briefly talk about the original. Hocus Pocus is a classic Halloween movie. It’s funny, has a great cast, (with the 3 witches played perfectly), and has a decent story. The film was also, in my opinion, made more hilarious because of how much Disney was able to get away with in terms of the… reason the movie’s events take place (I can’t say why they do for obvious reasons, but it is hilarious). This sense of humor was much more prevalent in the 90s, as the rating board wasn’t nearly as strict and PG movies were able to get away with a lot more. The humor in the first movie, however, is almost completely different in the new film. While Hocus Pocus 2 does have some jokes about the black flame candle is lit, it’s much less a part of the film, with the writers going for much more family-friendly jokes more often than the original.
This isn’t that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things. After all, a sequel is best when it introduces new things to the series and broadens the scope of the original. Hocus Pocus 2 does try, and sometimes succeeds to do this, however it comes with mixed results. It feels like all the new stuff introduced in this film is taken straight from a Disney Channel Original Movie, like High School Musical or Halloween Town. Instead of a story about witches bullying the main character for… not being in a serious relationship, Hocus Pocus 2 focuses more on a group of friends that want to be witches and discover the powers they have. This isn’t a bad idea for a film, in all honesty. It’s able to bring in modern “witchy” stereotypes, like tarot cards and star signs, so for audience members that are interested in these new trends, this film is basically made for them. However, I’d say that the film is trying to balance too many things and doesn’t really explore interesting plot points. Case and point, the film introduces the theme of friends growing apart and becoming different people decently early. I thought that this was going to be a situation like Superbad, where the film was going to explore how friends might naturally grow apart and that it’s ok if you stop talking to them, as it’s better to not talk to an old friend than to pretend to be someone else around them. This would have been, in my opinion, a really great story to follow for this series. I thought that the film was going to explore this further with how the Sanderson Sisters were constantly bickering with each other and how the main friend group would see how it’s ok to grow into different people. However, instead of doing anything interesting, the film relapses into a “Don’t abandon your friends, they’re always going to be there for you” lazy main theme.
Okay, so, I think I went off the rails a bit. I think I need to keep in mind that this is just a kids’ movie. However, respectfully, that is a really bad excuse. For decades now, kids’ movies have been doing far more interesting and mature stories with these sorts of themes. This, to some extent, includes the original Hocus Pocus, as the original had the theme of letting go and being able to say goodbye to someone you care about. It seems like such a simple theme that could have been explored in a way that could teach younger kids that it’s healthy to lose some friends, however instead Disney decided they cant challenge the audience and instead made a movie that has no point at all for existing.
However, just because there isn’t a point in the film does not make it bad. If you are looking for a simple, turn your brain off and enjoy the ride movie then this is perfectly fine. It’s simple, short, decently funny, and, above all, entertaining, which is all that really matters. I just think that it could have been so much more, and could have had a message that isn’t only strong, but fits in the theme of the original film. However, just because the film is forgettable doesn’t make it bad, it just makes it a weak sequel to a classic film.