“Hocus Pocus 2” is a wicked funny sequel

Photo courtesy Disney
Photo courtesy Disney

campus editor

The year is 2022 and you learn Disney is bringing back “Hocus Pocus.” You get excited and celebrate by breaking in your “Lightning McQueen” Crocs and taking a long sip from your “Buzz Lightyear” mug.

Sound familiar? Sure it does! Between “Pinnochio,” “Cheaper by the Dozen,” “Chip n’ Dale: Rescue Rangers,” “Lightyear,” “Disenchanted,” “Avatar 2” and now “Hocus Pocus 2,” Disney has been churning out revivals at an alarming rate.

Alas, in order to keep the money-hungry Disney corporation at bay, one brave consumer must be willing to make a financial sacrifice during these trying times.

So “Hocus Pocus 2,” what’s the deal? Well, the movie follows teenage friends Becca, Izzy and Cassie on their adventure to stop wicked 17th-century witches known as the Sanderson sisters after unknowingly resurrecting them. 

It’s a simple but fun premise to work with. So fun, as a matter of fact, that it’s near-identical to the original. Perhaps this is one of those, “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it,” kinds of things. 

Let’s kick things off with the positives and then work our way down to the more negative aspects.

Positives? The Sandersons. They steal the show every time they’re on-screen, and they bounce off each other remarkably well. 

Winifred, played by Bette Midler, Sarah, played by Sarah Jessica Parker and Mary, played by Kathy Najimy are having a blast and you can tell they know these characters like the back of their hands.

Another highlight was Tony Hale’s performance as mayor. Mainly because he was being Tony Hale, and as an “Arrested Development” fan, more Tony Hale is only ever a good thing.

To touch on the more technical side of things, the set design is surprisingly well done. The score is nice and fits the tone of the film, and the camera work is fine enough for what it is.

Now let’s shift gears a bit and talk about the negatives. Thankfully, the movie doesn’t have much in the way of major negatives and the bits that aren’t as good don’t get in the way of the fun too much.

The writing is solid most of the time, but some lousy stuff is thrown in. There’s still the occasional cliche line, eye-roll-inducing gag and fart joke which reminds you that you’re watching a modern-day Disney film.

The Sandersons’ electric performance is a blessing and a curse since it makes it obvious when someone isn’t pulling their weight the same way the sisters are. 

This mainly comes from the protagonists of the film. Becca, played by Whitney Peak, Izzy, played by Belissa Escobedo and Cassie, played by Lilia Buckingham, left a lot to be desired in their performances and characterization during the film.

None of the girls are characterized particularly well, and their development hinges on the friendship they formed off-screen before the events of the film. Certain things happen in the story and seeing their reaction to said things would make you wonder whether or not they were dragged in from off-stage and thrown into frame.

Becca gets the worst of it since we’re expected to feel something when she’s on-screen given she’s the main character, but she doesn’t have much to offer to the audience. To be fair it doesn’t seem like Peak had much to work with, but a bit more charisma from her in particular would’ve gone a long way.

Izzy is there, but she just kind of fades into background noise and doesn’t do much of note. Her character was quite inconsequential but she brought more to her role than Peak. She delivered her lines with a bit more energy, which is greatly appreciated.

Cassie is a weird case since she’s technically a main character but she doesn’t have much screen time or really anything to do. There’s an implied history between her and the other two girls, but it isn’t really explored. 

She shows up in the beginning as if to set herself up to play a bigger role alongside Becca and Izzy, but she stays out of the picture for the majority of the movie. She comes back later on in the last 10-20 minutes but doesn’t add much to the disjointed friend group that is Becca and Izzy. A bit of a wasted character to be honest.

Granted these aren’t major deal breakers. In a serious movie having flat main characters is a death sentence for the film’s plot, but in a movie as goofy as this, it’s a minor gripe.

With that being said, “Hocus Pocus 2” is a fun movie that can be enjoyed without prior knowledge of “Hocus Pocus.” It’s a silly romp through Salem that will leave you with a smile and cravings for a candy apple.