“Hocus Pocus 2” fails to replicate spark of original



Sarah(left), Winifred(middle), and Mary(right), returning to Salem 29 years later, are confused by modern-day culture.

by Faith Kyere, Reporter

After 29 long years the Sanderson sisters made their return to screens starring in “Hocus Pocus 2.” The sequel created a nostalgic experience for many as fans of the original movie got to see the Sanderson sisters wreaking havoc once again. 

The movie started off strong as it focused on the origin of the sisters as children in 1653. The film captures the trio in Salem on Winifred’s (Winnie) 16th birthday. The actors playing the younger version of the sisters did a great job showing the dynamic of the three, which emphasized how they relied on each other and Winnie’s dominance as the elder sister.

Unfortunately, the writers took a comical route, which minimized the point of the reference to the witches’ childhood. It took a serious moment in the witches’ development and turned it into a joke. 

The movie begins on the night the Sanderson sisters became witches. Winnie Sanderson, the eldest of the three, shares her distress concerning her sisters with the town’s Reverend. In response, Reverend Traske tells her that she will marry John Pritchett.

Since Winnie refused to marry, thus going against the church, the Sanderson sisters, Winnie, Mary, and Sarah, were banished from Salem forever and escaped to the Forbidden Woods.

Including this detail in the movie gave fans an idea of their upbringing as it showed where the sisters’ hate for Salem originated. 

For fans of the original, it felt nostalgic to hear the melody Sarah Sanderson sang in the first film, “Come Little Children,” play as the sisters were entering the forest. One factor in this movie that was particularly enjoyable was musical references to the original Hocus Pocus. 

The movie then fast forwards to present day, introducing the main character, Becca, on her birthday. Her and her best friend, Izzy, decide to go to the Forbidden Forest to perform a spooky ritual that they do every year.

What they failed to realize, however, is that they were given a real black-flame candle by the store owner that consequently resurrects the Sanderson sisters. Twenty-nine years after the events of the first film, the Sanderson sisters were finally back to seek revenge on Salem. 

Despite the promising beginning, one thing missing from this film was the spook factor. Although the witches were not terrifying, they projected evil as they sucked the soul out of a young girl in the very beginning of the first movie. There were also multiple points that kept viewers at the edge of their seats.

Sadly, this was not the same in the sequel. It almost appeared as if the film had created a caricature of witches and was mocking the idea of the sisters being scary or evil. 

Instead, it once again seems Disney is pushing the message of “the power of friendship”  with mediocre story lines for the main teenage characters.

Randomly giving the main character powers messed with the dynamic between the kids and the witches. This contributed to the main story line feeling rushed and not making sense.

Attempts to connect the two movies did not seem well thought out as the sequel randomly introduced a new character to the original movie who had previously only been briefly discussed. The idea of a store owner wanting to bring back the witches and claiming to have seen them as a child in the original film seemed rushed and ill-conceived. 

On the other hand, Disney did well with the musical aspect of the movie. It was fun to see the witches give a hypnotic performance on stage at a Halloween festival as a throwback to the first film. Although it would have been nice to hear the Sanderson sisters perform an original song, it was still enjoyable to hear the reference to “I Put a Spell on You.”

Disney also did a nice job with some of the comical factors in the movie by making jokes out of the Sanderson sisters’ ignorance of modern day.

The ending of the movie was bittersweet and wrapped up the storyline well, but the closing credits alluded to a third movie which already feels tiring. This sequel offers a pleasant end to the Sanderson sisters’ story; yet, I fear that Disney, once again, is trying to drag out a storyline  for profit. If Disney wants to continue making tales about witches, it should create a new and refreshing story and allow the story of the beloved Sanderson sisters to thrive on its own.

Overall, Hocus Pocus 2 had its highs and lows. The special spark the first movie generated failed to be replicated in its sequel. According to Rotten Tomatoes, many viewers agree. The film scored a 61% on the tomato-meter and a 53% audience score. Although this movie was not horrific and had enjoyable moments, it did not live up to the expectations of fans excitedly awaiting a sequel decades in the making. It definitely does not hold a black-flame candle to the original.

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