Hocus Pocus 2 is everything the original 1993 movie was — and then some. Which, frankly, is rude. On a lot of levels. Of course, it’s also a very, very good thing…on as many, if not more, levels.
No discussion of the film would be fair without full transparency. So, to begin with, I’d like to point out that I kind of went into this hoping for a hate watch.
“But WTF why, Shana,” you ask? Well. Star Bette Midler did this Islamophobic bullshit, right after she did this TERF trash, which we already rejected here. (While we’re on the subject: What is it with people involved in witch properties with the abbreviation “HP” and TERF takes???). And both of those things came a couple years after…whatever this was.
To quote the absolutely genius Izzy, “that’s a big ol’ yikes.”
So, yeah. After all of the above, I went into Hocus Pocus 2 looking for a hate watch. So, I figured I would, at best, discuss the excellent choreography. (For the record, which the film delivers there — in spades). Or maybe I’d just praise the new actors and actual, diverse film that reflects our world. Again, that’s predictably easy to do here. Because the young talent is utterly fantastic.
But, perhaps against my best intentions, I fell in love with the Sanderson sisters — all three of them — all over again. Actually, I fell harder than ever before. After all, there they were in all their glory. The Sandersons were exactly as I remembered them. And yet, they didn’t feel recycled or overly repetitive.
In short, this movie is just…fun. And while the original was all about a brother/sister bond, and finding where you fit in in a new place, this sequel is about something that gets to the soul just as deeply if not moreso.
It’s about sisterhood, both destined through blood and chosen through the bond of friendship. And it’s about realizing what’s really, truly important to you. Somewhere toward the end, it also becomes all about what one girl (in all the world) can do against the forces of darkness.
This is Becca, Izzy, and Cassie’s story
The main thing, thematically, this movie shares with Hocus Pocus (1993) is, of course, how difficult it is to just grow up. Here, it’s Becca and Izzy thinking they’ve grown apart from their friend Cassie and maybe even been abandoned. And that’s all while she’s feeling the sting of the exact same thing on her end — all because she’s in a relationship.
Along the way, there are so many phenomenal, touching, and downright hilarious throwbacks to the first film. Even with everything that could’ve gone wrong, or just been a bad association because of *gestures at twitter dot com*, yes, I did clap like I was at an actual live show or something when the Sandersons first appeared. That lightning effect was stunning. And so are they, regardless.
But what’s important here is the new girls, realizing their powers. And thanks to them, there are just many, many more bits for us to cherish for the next 29 years of our lives. Just as we’ve adored that first wild ride the Black Flame Candle took us on since it happened in the ’90s.
So, to share a final verdict on Hocus Pocus 2, I’d have to say this: In short, the universe is, to be corny AF on main about it…magical. And this film, in particular, is the perfect passing of the
torch Book from one generation to the next. While still holding space for us olds. Because of the story’s success, this legend should live on for many, many generations to come.
Random magical musings on Hocus Pocus 2
- Yes, I sat through the credits. Why? Because I had to make sure I congratulated the choreographers by name. So, Zach Woodlee and Sarah Beymer, you are my absolute heroes. The way the crowd leaned back when the sisters started singing? That whole group number to “One Way Or Another”? But, of course, dance is everywhere — even in Sarah’s twirling. And the smaller, less obvious, dance moments are exquisite. Absolute genius.
- Taylor Henderson, Nina Kitchen, and Juju Journey Brener mastered everything about these well-known characters’ mannerisms and interpersonal dynamics. Which, make no mistake: That should’ve been impossible, but for them, it looked easy.
- Similarly, I love, love, love this new chosen sisterhood of Whitney Peak, Belissa Escobedo, and Lilia Buckingham. Sure, we get less of Buckingham, but when we do see her with the others…it’s perfect to see that missing piece of the puzzle (the power of three, if you will) slide into place.
- Hannah Waddingham. Need I say more? Because, while she has little screen time in this film, it’s utterly unforgettable. Be my Witch Mother, ma’am. Any. Day.
- “Well, that was enough for me today.” Yes, this is me after I swing by the Starbucks drive-thru on the weekend and come straight home.
- “A rotten apple quickly infects its neighbor, and we want no more like thee. I banish thee from Salem! Forever.” Take note, Ms. Midler. And do better.
- “Eight legs of sin!!!” Weird how my Jewish ass identifies with the reverend so much but ok.
- “Magic has a way of uniting things that ought to be together.” That’s it. That’s the theme.
- The guy dressed as a vampire in the back had better not think he’s supposed to sparkle.
- Sometimes, letting a bit drag on “too long” is actually perfect timing. See also Mayor Traske laughing while the girls are like “WTF” at him. Or, you could also just live forever in Sarah Jessica Parker’s sloooooooow slide into a split when Winifred tells the sisters to spread out. Icons.
- 50% off Black Flame Candles for Halloween? Well, I guess capitalism is out here, attempting to ruin even this?!
- “And like most legends, I’m assuming that’s based in some sort of patriarchal fear of female aging.” I love Becca. Period. End of story. But this was a particularly good one from her.
- “The Witches Are Back” is the new anthem of Spooky Season. Argue with your mom.
- “You are our idols.” And the way they preen.
- “I delighted in the luring. ‘Twas my only job.” And then, the unison on “alas.”
- If you’re unsure where to start with listing some of the funniest “can’t handle modern world” bits, you’re not alone. However, the dancing around the Walgreens doors is a gem. Actually, there’s a lot at Walgreens.
- The face of a child.
- THE SELFIE SHUT UP
- The sound crew deserves a billion dollars for the impact on that smack.
- AMOK AMOK AMOK…and don’t even get me started on hearing Sarah’s theme. Or the twirling, for that matter — any of it, to be honest.
- The pacing and turning in unison. For the record, no, I will not shut up about the movement!
- “We have no time for warnings.” When you get a new prescription and immediately throw away the big ol’ pamphlet that comes with it.
- “It’s a butt dial. Awesome.” Unfortunately, that is often my reaction when my dad calls.
- “If candles can bring back the dead, why can’t potpourri bring back the stairs?” Izzy is the queen. Honestly, she pushes for the reconciliation and the intelligent planning throughout the film. Without her, Becca’s magic would be useless. So, she’s truly a queen, definitely not a sidekick. Period.
- Much like Hannah Waddingham, I’m pretty sure all I have to say about Doug Jones here is just that: DOUG. JONES. There is nothing he can’t do, and Hocus Pocus 2 would’ve been so much less without Billy Butcherson.
- Izzy: “Maybe we do a hand-wavey thing, like the witches do?” Me, a former Mathematics graduate student: Yes, that’s literally where the dark magic of proofs comes from.
- “Mind your business, girl.” Get her.
- The stage backdrop? Is a throwback to the original poster? I can not stress enough how beautifully this movie creates a love letter to our generation.
- BLONDIE. Obviously, Debbie Harry doesn’t need a Black Flame anything to live forever.
- The “shove it, Satan” scene from 1993!
- “I’m tired, Winnie. I need, like, a snack and a stool.” I am Mary, and Mary is me.
- The Sandersons at the door with the lightning!
- “Do you hear yourself? Ok. Pointing out other people’s differences and saying that they’re weird? Is making fun of them.” Imagine if certain celebrities listened to this as closely as Mike did.
- “I love the commitment. I love the resting witch face.” Ok but who put my actual thoughts on Hocus Pocus 2 in the script before I even saw it? Wild.
- Um, Mr. Traske, sir. If you actually came home to the Golden Girls in your garage, you should’ve felt honored.
- “This could be a caramel-covered matzo ball for all I know…” Not my Jewish ass now stanning the reverend’s descendant. And, for the record, this is a wee bit too close to a Passover snack description for my liking…It’s not the time of year yet, ok???
- “I am not a fool. I am a good and loyal sister, and I expect to be seen as such!!!!” She’s my favorite, ok? I was so proud of her here, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love the twirling just as much. If not more.
- Of course Mary would get the Shakespeare quote backwards AF.
- Another thing I loved against my will: Midler’s performance as the last Sanderson standing. Absolutely gut-wrenching. Ma’am, please, fix your social media so I can love you again. This is me actually begging.
- “I think it is my heart; I feel it is breaking.” Oh, hey. Me too!
- Also, that single tear from the book. If you didn’t catch it, congratulations on not feeling that particular level of pain.
- The walk! They did the damned thing on the way out.
What are your thoughts on Hocus Pocus 2? Leave us a comment!
Hocus Pocus 2 is now streaming on Disney+.