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Hocus Pocus (1993)


Hocus Pocus was released in 1993. I remember seeing it on television multiple times growing up. I cannot remember ever not enjoying it and I was happy to be entertained for an hour and a half in my early thirties. Bette Midler anchors the cast as the lead witch sister Winifred. Sarah Jessica Parker plays the head in the clouds, often distracted sister Sarah. Kathy Najimy is the dimwitted Mary, the third sister. The witches do battle with three children, Max, played by Omri Katz, his sister Dani, Thora Birch, and friend Allison, Vinessa Shaw. It is very much a Disney film with lots of jokes and fun visual gags.

The group of kids never seem to be in perilous danger. They are freed repeatedly after minimal amount of time in captivity. Only the youngest viewers may be truly concerned for the good guys. The movie is still entertaining despite the low stakes feel. Midler, Parker, and Najimy must have had a blast making this film. This must have been a wonderful set to be on. The comedic timing between the three is impressive. Bette gets just enough music numbers to show off her skills.

There is some homework before going into this movie. Your children need to have some grasp as to what a virgin is. I would not be surprised to learn that virgin is said over fifty times in the film. There is a sequel in pre-production, and I suspect it will be less virgin heavy. Then again this is a Disney property and virginity is very important to that image. Max and Allison do start a relationship during the film and snuggle for a few hours, there was an opportunity for them to gain some protection together, but they do not take the opportunity.

Most people, I imagine, have already seen Hocus Pocus a few times in their lives. It is a fun way to spend an hour and a half if you have Disney+. Some of the CGI looks dated, but overall, the movie still feels fresh. It is not as slapstick as Hubie Halloween, but that might be a good thing. It is the original low-stakes Halloween themed comedy. Both Hubie Halloween and Hocus Pocus are set in Salem Massachusetts. Hocus Pocus is the better of the pair.

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