Reviews are for hocus pocus 2, and critics largely disagree on whether the nostalgic sequel is a gimmick or a treat. The original 1993 hocus pocus introduced the public to the Sanderson sisters, a trio of witches consisting of Winnie (Bette Midler), Mary (Kathy Najimi) and Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker). They drain the lifeblood of children in Salem, Massachusetts and are executed for their crimes. However, they return on Halloween night when a group of children light the Black Flame candle, unknowingly resurrecting them and sending them on a new rampage across town. This original film was directed by Musical High School director Kenny Ortega.
This year, on September 30th, Disney+ is bringing the franchise back to life with its first sequel, directed by The proposalby Anne Fletcher. The film will reunite all three of Sanderson’s sister actresses alongside Doug Jones, reprising his role as slapstick zombie Billy Butcherson, though it will not feature the return of the original cast of young people including Omri Katz, Thora Birch and Vinessa Shaw. This time, a new crop of children will light the black flame candle and set the vengeful sisters free.
Earlier today, the embargo was lifted on reviews of hocus pocus 2 and critics were able to share their thoughts on the sequel. They’re largely divided on whether he’s managed to recapture the magic of the original film, though his supporters seem to outnumber his detractors by a hair. One thing that almost everyone seems to agree on, however, is that returning star Bette Midler delivers a powerful performance and that the project should be a real Halloween treat for people who don’t mind a heavy dose of nostalgia. However, the nostalgia seems to come at the expense of the new young cast, who don’t have much to do in the face of expanded roles for the three witches. Read selected quotes from critics below:
The film suffers from the script. While the novelty of the Sanderson sisters roaming the 21st century makes for a few laughs, the script fails to cater to the charm and charisma naturally imbued in the lead actresses, namely Bette Midler and Kathy Najimy. Sarah Jessica Parker plays her inappropriate sex appeal playfully, but she offered little to her, with the script apparently catered to Midler and Najimy. Plus, the new ensemble barely holds up, with paper-thin characters that are hollow imitations of the typical Disney Channel character.
Pedro Debruge, Variety:
The film misses an opportunity to present a helpful portrait of the petty divisions that separate old friends, while also orienting itself to lecturing audiences on the importance of loyalty and the dangers of selfishness. It’s doubtful that such moral lessons are the reason anyone is watching “Hocus Pocus 2,” which again mixes Midler’s diva persona with details that seem almost too dark for a children’s movie (but have since been normalized by the likes of Neil Gaiman and Tim Burton).
Jude Dry, IndieWire:
It is the world of witches; everything else is just scenery to put these three back on broomsticks together. Unfortunately, his petty streaks seem to have softened over the years, and the film relies on a fabricated brotherly bond to wrap things up. The script adds a sugary sweetness along with its teen feminist morality play, as if it’s all too aware of sending a message. Some things, it seems, are best left buried.
Amelia Emberwing, IGN:
The original cast returns to remind us why Hocus Pocus became a cult classic, and new players give fans who are introduced to the franchise wonderful characters to root for, though Hannah Waddingham should have been given more to do. Some shoddy green screen work pulls Hocus Pocus 2 down, but otherwise it feels like a Disney Channel Original Movie in a charming way.
Lovia Gyarkye, THR:
Midler, Parker and Najimy have an electric presence on screen, their chemistry largely unchanged in the decades between films. His scenes are the most consistently enjoyable of Hocus Pocus 2 – the moments when it seems like everyone behind and in front of the camera is under his charming spell.
Pedro Travers, ABC news:
Is “Hocus Pocus 2” as tiring as it is fun? Clear. But it’s impossible to resist the inspired madness of Midler, Parker and Najimy, whether they’re flying brooms or vacuum cleaners. One way or another, as the song says, they’re gonna get you, get you, get you, get you.
Brian Truitt, usa today:
The witches are dirty, but the youth movement is not well served either. There are so many easter eggs and callbacks to the original “Hocus Pocus” piled up that teens don’t have the focus they need to be heroes of the story.
How Hocus Pocus 2 compares to the original
The Rotten Tomatoes score for hocus pocus 2 will continue to fluctuate throughout the week as more and more reviews are added to the aggregator. However, at the time of writing, the score has hit somewhere around the 68% to 70% range, which is comfortably Fresh. Even if it eventually drops below the line on Rotten, it looks like the sequel will still rank considerably higher than the original. hocus pocuswhich is at 39% completely rotten, although the general public has been considerably nicer, giving it 71%.
This score increased to hocus pocus 2 may in fact be largely a result of the general cultural shift in perception of the original film. Although the original film was a critical and commercial failure, it has become a cult home video Halloween classic. It has since become a genuine classic in the eyes of many despite its inauspicious debut, so it makes sense for younger critics now to have warmer feelings towards the original that might color their perceptions of how the new film works. as a sequel.
Source: Various (see above)