MOVIE REVIEW: “Hocus Pocus” stars Bette Midler (Beaches, Divine Madness), Sarah Jessica Parker (Sex and the City [TV series], Ed Wood), Kathy Najimy (King of the Hill [TV series], Wall-E), Omri Katz (Dallas [TV series], Matinee), Thora Birch (American Beauty, Ghost World), Vinessa Shaw (Eyes Wide Shut, 3:10 to Yuma ), Larry Bagby (Walk the Line, Saints and Soldiers), Tobias Jelinek (Batman & Robin, The Golden Scallop), Stephanie Faracy (Sideways, The Great Outdoors), and Charles Rocket (Dumb & Dumber, Dances with Wolves). It is directed by Kenny Ortega (High School Musical [TV movie], This Is It) and is written by David Kirschner (An American Tale, The Pagemaster), Mick Garris (The Fly II, Master of Horror [TV series]), and Neil Cuthbert (Mystery Men, The Adventures of Pluto Nash). After three witches are resurrected from the grave after dying three centuries ago by a boy named Max (Katz), his sister Dani (Birch), and his love interest Allison (Shaw), the kids must find a way to put them back where they came from before they take the soul of a child. If they do, they will be able to stay in the present forever.
Expectations were rather high for this one for I have heard people talk about it quite a bit around this time. Supposedly it is a classic to some that got a majority of average to good reviews. Makes me wish that I watched it when I was younger. Maybe then would I have enjoyed it more now. Sure, this film is likable, that’s a quality that it has going for it, but there are so many little issues and plot holes with it that it is hard to mark as a fantastic film. When talking about the plot, it is basically the typical 90’s Halloween story. Kids have to stop witches from staying alive or else they will end up going back to their old ways of taking children’s souls. It has some originality here and there, but overall it gives off the feel of some old Disney Channel Halloween flicks, especially “Halloweentown.” Which is why it has a likability towards it. It tries to be funny and sure some jokes land (especially some adult-humored ones), but what gets me laughing most is the problems rather than the witty writing. There are quite a bit of things wrong with this movie, and it takes someone who doesn’t have nostalgia over their eyes to actually accept it. The characters are fun in their own ways, the witches, played by Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy, being the funniest because of their realization of the “futuristic” world. The others are suitable for the storyline to push forward and the acting that goes along with all of them is okay. It’s all silly, so the acting isn’t anything distinguished. The kid actors could’ve been better, but Thora Birch, who played Dani, did a good job. The actresses who played the witches did a very good job in their roles and I thought they were entertaining. With the special effects, there are cringeworthy scenes, but overall it does well for the time it was created. This is a likable, little picture that is sure to hit home for those who watched it as tradition or who used to watch it as a kid. I can tell that it is one of those and that is what brings in a good amount of points because I can actually see myself watching this again around Halloween time…maybe. But the problem that I have been saying is how many things you can nitpick in it. It would take up a lot of space to write every little thing, but I’ll give an example: there is a scene where the kids find a cat who was actually once a human. The cat talks, but yet they are cool with it and hang out like its something they see everyday. If I were in that situation I would have a panic attack. They should have at least gone crazy for a little bit, but they didn’t. This is all what the cons are made up of. It’s the only ones to talk about and that’s all that can be said about it. No matter how jumbled this review may seem, take it as a way of knowing what you are getting into. For most of you, I’m sure you’ll love it, but for those like me, it’s just fun to watch with others. Overall, this is a flick with heart behind it and calls back to what Halloween was to the 90’s. It definitely has its problems, but it can still be a likable release. FINAL SCORE: 74%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer: