Review: They’re back!

Now exclusively on Disney+, the new Hocus Pocus movie was released to mixed reviews, but does this movie live up to its predecessor?


Walt Disney Pictures

“Hocus Pocus 2” is a disappinting cash grab that does not live up to the original movie.

Beth Brackmann, Staff Writer

This new take on this classic Halloween movie has some people pleased, while others believe it’s just another one of Disney’s cheap Disney+ cash grabs. 29 years after the release of the original movie, Hocus Pocus 2 hit Disney+ on September 30 of this year. Quickly after its release there has been a mix of positive and negative reviews, with critics praising the movie, and casual viewers having very different opinions. As of right now on Rotten Tomatoes , the movie has a 62% (“fresh”) from critics and a 52% (“rotten”) from the audience. 

The movie shows the events following the return of the Sanderson sisters, 29 years after the events of the first movie. Being brought back to life by the main character Becca (Whitney Park). The sisters soon find out that the current mayor of Salem, Mayor Traske (Tony Hale) is the descendant of a priest who tried to separate the sisters when they were alive, and they make it their mission to get revenge on him. Hijinx follows as the sisters go through Salem trying to find the mayor, and getting stopped by Becca and her friends. While waiting for Gibert (Sam Richardson) and returning character Billy (Doug Jones) to get ingredients for a potion to make them more powerful. The movie ends with Winifred (Bette Midler) becoming so powerful that it affects her sisters, making them disappear. Becca and her friends are given the chance to redeem her, allowing her to disappear with her sisters. 

The entire movie feels rushed and sloppy. The plot is hard to follow with new points being added but not being fulfilled. An example being that about half way through the movie, Becca is revealed to be a witch. There is no further explanation to why she is and how she didn’t know before. Another being that it doesn’t make sense for the sisters to go after this random mayor, other than the fact he’s related to someone who wronged them. It would have made more sense if they had brought back Mayor Max (Omri Katz) from the first movie. That way it ties into the original movie instead of completely discarding what happened in the first film. 

Even with all the jokes in this film, it’s not really funny. The jokes in this film will be outdated in just a couple of years. They tried to update the film to modern standards with Swiffers, robot vacuums, etc. Jokes like these will eventually become old and wouldn’t appeal to the modern audience, since these things wouldn’t be modern anymore. 

The characters are stale and uninteresting. It’s clear they tried to write their main characters in a way that literally anybody could relate to. Writing a character like this makes that character uninteresting and boring to watch. Sure the parts where the Sanderson sisters were on screen were interesting, but the parts with Becca seemed to drag on. It’s hard to feel anything for these characters, whether something good or bad happens. When writers make characters like these they make them bland so anyone can relate no matter their background. This takes away from getting to know that character and creating a bond with them, which is what causes viewers to have a relationship where they want the characters to succeed. This movie just doesn’t have that bond. 

In this movie the characters don’t have any motive. In the original, Max wants to protect his sister and help Binx, along with trying to find a way to destroy the Sanderson sisters. Becca has a motive, saving the mayor, maybe? The sisters aren’t after her like they were with Max. Even at the climax of the movie the sisters don’t even do much harm to her. 

The redeeming of the Sanderson sisters was also bad. The first movie they’re introduced as villains and they die villains, because not everyone can be redeemed. An ending like this also feels more fulfilling since you’ve grown to sort of “hate” or “dislike” these characters so you feel happy when you see the good guys defeat them. This ending just feels empty. 

Another let down with this film is the lack of original songs, which is honestly quite odd for Disney. There is a short new song when the sisters are brought back from the dead but other than that the only major song in the film is a cover of One Way or Another. This is a let down considering the original film had quite a few original songs that really made the film. 

Making the eye on the spell book animated insead of an animatronic like the original made this new version look too cartoony and alive. The animatronic can be jittery and not move smoothly, but it’s a book. It gives off that sort of eerie feeling because a book is not meant to be alive. Also at the end of the movie there’s a bat that flies across the screen and it’s laughable how bad it looks. 

Overall this way a huge let down on Disney’s part. There are so many directions this film could have gone in, ones that would have made this movie great. What we got was a cheap movie based solely on the nostalgia of the first film. Though the original “Hocus Pocus” is not a movie masterpiece, but it’s that feeling of Halloween you get when you watch it which makes that movie so good, and you just don’t get that with this movie. If you want to watch Hocus Pocus, stick to the first one.