HOCUS POCUS 2 (REVIEW)
Dir. Anne Fletcher
Reviewer. Martyn Wakefield
Good things come to those who wait, but some things should be left in the past. HOCUS POCUS 2 has been 29 years in the making with fans clammering for a return of the Sanderson Sisters, now bowering to the fandom, Disney Plus have made that wish come true leaving a bitter taste in many broths. And yet after spending a 100 minutes with the rib tickling trio, in all honesty, it feels like they never left.
Three young women accidentally bring back the Sanderson Sisters to modern-day Salem and must figure out how to stop the child-hungry witches from wreaking havoc on the world. The world may have been free of Winifred, Mary, and Sarah and the fear they invoked in us all, but what happens when you mess with magic? It messes back.
Opening with an uncanny casting for the younger sisters, we learn more about how they became the everlasting trio and through local giftshop storyteller Gilbert (Sam Richardson) we get a fast track trip down memory lane and reintroduction to the towns famous Sanderson Sisters.
As far as entrances come, there is no disappointment as they bring a rendition of Elton John's classic, 'The B***h Is Back' while removing the profanity in favour of their own characteristic namesakes. As soon as Bette Midler graces the screen she chews it to the very end. The 29 years have not softened the trio's over the top personas and thank heavens for it.
Capturing the spirit, humour and heart of the original, HOCUS POCUS 2 is a worthy sequel to a fan favourite and with a new cast and new story to tell, this could have, and should have, been much less forgiving. Instead, Anne Fletcher has garnered enough nostalgia and continuation as she has to bring this into the current world in a manner that many studio films use to overpower the series' spirit. HOCUS POCUS is testament to take on old treasure and make it fresh enough to reel in a new generational audience.
As far as casting goes, the new stars are endearing enough to replace Thora Birch and Omri Katz and Vinessa Shaw but the real stars are undeniably Midler, Parker and Najimy.
There's plenty of joy and colour added to the streets of Salem once the ladies reappear and a few familiar faces pop up throughout to give this more than a whimsical cash-in and despite the film's disappointing trailer it manages to bring as much delight so many years on that it's difficult to see what is not to like. For fans of the original, absence and nostalgia seem to have a Mandela affect.
It may be a little late, I can imagine this being a much bigger hit if released before 2005 but for those with fond hearts of the original and those wishing to extend the love to a new generation, there's much to love with HOCUS POCUS 2. Welcome back witches!