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  • Writer's pictureTodd McDevitt

Hocus Pocus Won't Keep Your Focus

Disney's sequel to Hocus Pocus comes twenty-nine years later: but did it really need to?


Hocus Pocus 2 is a fantasy/comedy film, and the sequel to Hocus Pocus (1993). The evil Sanderson witches return to life once again and, this time, embark on a quest to become all-powerful. Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy return as the Sanderson sisters, and the rest of the cast is rounded out by Whitney Peak, Belissa Escobedo, Lilia Buckingham, Sam Richardson, and Tony Hale, with Doug Jones returning as his zombie character from the first movie as well. This film was directed by Anne Fletcher and was released directly to Disney Plus just in time for the October spooky season. Twenty-nine years after the first movie was released, this sequel has become the most-watched premiere of all time on Disney+.

A Cult Classic?

While the original Hocus Pocus wasn't necessarily a great movie, it has reached almost "cult classic" status on the internet from Disney fanatics and mega fans of the Sanderson sisters. So when this sequel was announced in late 2020, many people were very excited. Film critics like myself, however, were not thrilled. Hollywood's obsession with releasing "legacy sequels" lately has become almost tiresome, mainly because most of these aren't very good (i.e., Ghostbusters: Afterlife, The Matrix: Resurrections, Terminator: Dark Fate). And since Hocus Pocus is a mediocre film, expectations for this sequel were not set very high, which is good because Hocus Pocus 2 is almost as mediocre as the original.

Middling and Mediocre

Let's start with the aspects of this film that are not up to par, which is most of them. The plot is very similar to the first movie, and neither is very compelling. The protagonists of this movie are uninteresting, and one of them somehow gets superpowers, which are never appropriately explained. Some character motives are unclear and seem stupid if given some thought. The cinematography, editing, and score are all bland and uninteresting. Together, these aspects make this movie mostly a waste of time. However, it's not all bad.

Some Saving Graces

Even though twenty-nine years have passed and the witch actors from the first movie are in their 50's, 60's, and 70's, Parker, Najimy, and Midler all manage to look the same as they did in the first film, which is quite impressive. They also seem much funnier in this film than in the first one. And they put on a helluva musical number in this movie that is fun to watch. Their musical number in the first film was the best part of that movie, and the same is true about this sequel. They even have a musical number for the credits, another bop. While this movie may not be good as a whole, some of its parts are enjoyable and hilarious to watch.

Closing Critiques

In conclusion, Hocus Pocus 2 (2022) is a suitable sequel to Hocus Pocus (1993) and maybe a better movie when it comes down to it. However, neither of these films is great cinema and is probably only fit for viewing by young children or Disney fanatics. If you are a fan of the first movie, like many people on the internet, you will probably enjoy this sequel. But if you haven't seen either of them or don't like the first film, this legacy sequel is not worth your time.

Raving Rating: 6.0

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