Let me start by saying that I don’t take a lot of pleasure in bashing movies. It’s not that much fun, it’s not something that’s conducive to telling a story, and it’s not fair because each movie takes a lot of work to complete. But, here it goes. Hocus Pocus 2 was miles beyond the original movie and not in a good way. Back in 1993, the Sanderson sisters were a great deal of fun since they were evil in a comical manner, they were ridiculous in a lot of ways, but they were watchable since they leaned heavily into the idea of being evil witches that didn’t care if they caused harm or sucked the souls from young children to expand their own lives. They were evil without apology, and they worshipped Satan, for crying loud, and yet this all fit well into a kids’ movie since Disney hadn’t yet started going woke, and jokes were still funny, and acting was still allowed to be a little edgier and raw, and the first movie, in general, was a good time if one enjoyed that kind of thing. In other words, the sequel took on the woke approach and somehow is still being lauded as one of the best movies made this year. But the truth, if anyone is willing to tell it, is that humanizing the witches, the villains, was another misstep in a long, broken line of missteps that Disney has taken at this point.
The first movie was corny, this one was cringe-worthy.
It’s hard to know where to start digging in, really, since the belief in the Sanderson sisters, or rather, the lack of it, was evident in the first movie, but since it apparently wasn’t documented back in the day, and the original actors that played Max, Dani, and Allison weren’t present so their experience couldn’t be counted upon. Instead, we get Gilbert, who’s taken over the Sanderson house and uses it as a museum and gift shop, and three young friends, one of whom is apparently a natural witch because, of course, she’s going to be powerful without earning it. Yes, that’s cynical as hell, but unfortunately is a very true statement since these days, it feels as though too many protagonists are being given abilities they don’t earn and are innately powerful in one way or another. Hey, that can be looked past for a while.
It’s not okay to make anyone look foolish these days, apparently, unless we’re talking about…never mind.
Sarah and Mary Sanderson, who weren’t dumb as rocks but still weren’t that bright, played great roles back in the 90s since their lack of intelligence when it came to practical knowledge and how they acted was great. But apparently, these days, we can’t denigrate anyone unless we’re talking about male characters since…well, the patriarchy, I guess. But getting past that, exploring the feelings of witches who were known to kill children, worship Satan, and otherwise perform mischief and acts that were known to damage and harass others is apparently the norm these days since evil witches have feelings, too, right? Seeing the witches as young girls was interesting, but it also made it easier to roll your eyes since the general idea is to show characters when they were ‘innocent’, which is to say that the Sanderson sisters were regular young women before they took up witchcraft fully. It’s funny, but Winifred didn’t appear to be all that pleasant from the start.
There are a few plot holes that were easy to shore up, but Disney didn’t think they were worth doing anything with.
One glaring plot hole is that the sisters react to the world around them in a way that suggests that they’d never been brought back in the 90s, meaning that they had no idea what technology was and that, to them, everything was brand new. One has to remember that they spent a night searching for their book, for the kids that stole it, and in the process interacted with a great number of technological marvels that, to them, were akin to magic that they didn’t understand. An automatic door, for instance, shouldn’t have been that big of a deal, and neither should the lighting in the pharmacy. But hey, who needs to fix plot holes when it’s a Disney movie, right? Just turn off your brain and watch away.
It might have been better if this sequel had been given to someone else and allowed to be a real horror story.
The basic gist of this story is that Gilbert reformed the black flame candle and tricked the natural witch and her friend into lighting it while they practicing, and the Sanderson sisters were brought back. Once again, they had to find a way to stick around longer than the night, and once again, they failed in the end. This time around, however, there was a big dose of feelings added in to show that the sisters weren’t that bad. I mean, they just killed a bunch of children in the past, but hey, they’re not that bad.
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