Gather ’round, sisters! Tis time to open thine Disney+ and conjure up some spirits (and snacks) for the witches are back! On Friday September 30th (tomorrow), Hocus Pocus 2 drops on the streaming service.

However, I shall present thee with a bit of advice. Remember that a sequel is rarely as good as the original — especially when it is made for a streaming service and not for theaters. If you go into it looking to be entertained, then you will be fine. If you expect it to be as epic as the first, I fear you will be disappointed.

As a huge Hocus Pocus fan, I wanted to love it. I did love all the little Easter eggs sprinkled throughout the film but it just did not have the same energy. Overall, I would still recommend watching it. I would just grade it as a C…average.

I will admit that my rating is based on very specific inaccuracies or questionable prop/set decisions that might not bother the average viewer but drove me crazy. I am about to go into more detail (without major spoilers but I will reveal some things you might not see in the trailer). If you don’t want to know anything else, stop reading here.

Kathy Najimy as Mary Sanderson, Bette Midler as Winifred Sanderson, and Sarah Jessica Parker as Sarah Sanderson in HOCUS POCUS 2, exclusively on Disney+. Photo by Matt Kennedy. © 2022 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

I did like that we got a glimpse into the Sanderson Sisters’ origin story. Unfortunately, some details do not match the origin story from the original film. In the first film, while in the Sanderson Sisters’ Museum, Allison reads that Winifred Sanderson received Book from the Devil himself. In the sequel, the Witch (Hannah Waddingham) gives her Book in the Forbidden Wood on her sixteenth birthday.

Another mistake involving the Witch occurs later in the film. Winifred reminds her sisters that “Mother said one day witches would rule Salem” — it was the Witch who actually told them this on Winnie’s 16th birthday. There was never any indication that the Witch was related to them let alone their mother. In fact, it was clear they were strangers. This powerful shape-shifting witch wanted to eat them until she realized they were different from normal children. Their mother was never mentioned prior to this (except in the first film), only their father was referenced in the opening scenes. Perhaps there were script changes or un-checked ad-libs that could explain the “Mother said” mistake but not the origins of Book. We clearly see the Witch gift Winifred Book, not the Devil.

Hannah Waddingham as The Witch in HOCUS POCUS 2, exclusively on Disney+. Photo by Matt Kennedy. © 2022 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

If the viewer is not very familiar with the original film (or they have not watched it as much as I have) then perhaps they would not be bothered by the inconsistencies between the two films. It bothered me. The filmmakers had to know that people will probably watch the first film again (also available on the streamer) before viewing the sequel.

Watching the two films in order really reveals the differences, like the sets. The original was filmed in the real town of Salem and on soundstages. It is understandable that they might not be able to film in Salem again, especially because of budget differences and the second being filmed post-pandemic. But if an airbnb replica of the Sanderson Sisters’ home can be created near Salem, then they could certainly recreate their home (which is now a metaphysical shop) and cemetery on a soundstage that matches the original. Maybe no-one else will be bothered by the look of Salem in the second film or how the Sandersons Sisters’ home is now right on the street and close to other homes when before it was surrounded by a wall containing the “bones of hundreds of children.”

Doug Jones as Billy Butcherson in HOCUS POCUS 2, exclusively on Disney+. Photo by Matt Kennedy. © 2022 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Why did they choose to release the sequel now — in 2022? Why not wait one year and release it in 2023? The first film was set three hundred years to the day the Sanderson Sisters’ were hung. 2023 would be thirty years since the first film. There are three Sanderson Sisters and three friends dabbling with magic in this film. Three is a magical number for witches. Thirty years later would have just been so much better than Twenty-nine years later, in my humble opinion (as a witch myself).

It was clear that they did not consult a practicing witch with this film. Films like Practical Magic and The Craft consulted actual witches. Perhaps they consulted someone for the first film but the second repeats some lore from the first and then tries to jump on the trending “witchy” bandwagon by having Becca (Whitney Peak) and Izzy (Belissa Escobedo) using crystals and doing spellwork in the woods on a Full Moon. The girls claim to do a ritual every year on Becca’s birthday but what is the actual working? Just a general prosperity spell? Then why did Becca buy an amethyst from the metaphysical store and not clear quartz? And why did Becca pick turquoise for luck, not a green stone like aventurine or jade, when she predicted a pop quiz in school? The metaphysical store was also giving out angelica leaves, not angelica root, for uncrossing spells. Becca also lit a candle without any sigil carvings, anointing oils and herbs or charging it herself first. I understand that the average viewer may not be familiar with actual witchcraft practices and won’t be bothered by the inaccuracies.

(L-R): Belissa Escobedo as Izzy and Whitney Peak as Becca in Disney’s live-action HOCUS POCUS 2, exclusively on Disney+. Photo by Matt Kennedy. © 2022 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

There is one witchy aspect that I think they got right. As a subtle nod to being a coven without actually saying they are a coven, I did like that Becca, Izzy and Cassie (Lilia Buckingham) all wore matching medallions. I am sure Disney will market those soon and they will be available in the parks, stores or shopDisney.com by Christmas (or Halloween).

(L-R): Belissa Escobedo as Izzy, Whitney Peak as Becca, and Lilia Buckingham as Cassie in Disney’s live-action HOCUS POCUS 2, exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Disney Enterprises, Inc. © 2022 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Putting all my little nit-picking aside, the overall theme about the importance of sisterhood is the best part about this film. “A witch is nothing without her coven”. That message alone makes the film worth watching.

Kathy Najimy as Mary Sanderson, Bette Midler as Winifred Sanderson, and Sarah Jessica Parker as Sarah Sanderson in Disney’s live-action HOCUS POCUS 2, exclusively on Disney+. Photo by Matt Kennedy. © 2022 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.