Mary (Kathy Najimy), Winifred (Bette Midler), and Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker) Sanderson in Disney’s Hocus Pocus 2 streaming on Disney +. PHOTO COURTESY OF DISNEY MEDIA KIT
Arts & Cultures Editor
Since the Sanderson sister’s bewitching debut in 1993, fans like myself have awaited their return.
On Sept. 30, 2022, the Sanderson Sisters returned in “Hocus Pocus 2” after almost 30 years had passed since the initial lighting of the Black Flame Candle. With the downside of the film not being shown on the big screen, viewers were still able to indulge in the film’s spell casting premiere on Disney+.
Taking place in the present day, two teenage witches, Becca (Whitney Peak) and Izzy (Belissa Escobedo), performed their yearly Halloween night ritual in the woods with a candle that had been gifted to them by magic shop owner Gilbert (Sam Richardson). This ritual led to the witches bringing the Sanderson sisters back. As times had changed since their return, so did their intentions with not only beauty Winifred (Bette Midler), Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker), and Mary (Kathy Najimy), but to also seek power and revenge. Prior to receiving the power that they already possess, we see how the sister were banished by the reverend on Winifred’s sixteenth birthday and given the life changing gift, Book. Since receiving Book, their knowledge of witchcraft and wickedness grew stronger.
The sisters are in pursuit to kidnap a descendent of the reverend, the town mayor (Tony Hale), and obtain the materials needed to cast “Magicae Maxima” that grants immortality and maximum power. Izzy and Becca not only try to track the sisters, but also protect and mend their friendship with their longtime friend Cassie (Lilia Buckingham), ironically the mayor’s daughter. The race against time was not only a challenge for the three friends, but also for Gilbert as his minutes are numbered as the sisters had cast a spell on him forcing him to do what they ask, including waking Billy Butcherson (Doug Jones). With the originality and sense of nostalgia, the film was a great way to continue the franchise.
It was good to know that there were elements of the original film that remained unchanged. Like the way of casting a spell over a large group through song using the song “One Way Or Another” by Blondie. Another example of this is when they are flying and there are not enough brooms, and Mary had to compromise with what is available, from a vacuum originally to now Roombas. Even, a unique scene of having a costume contest for Sanderson sisters look-a-likes and losing to a trio dressed in drag.
In growing up watching the original movie on VHS to being an adult watching on Disney+, there was a different type of experience. In a way, there is a sense of appreciation for the film to continue the story told years prior and still give a sense of excitement. Even if you didn’t grow up watching Hocus Pocus every year for Halloween, it is never too late to start.