‘Hocus Pocus 2’ assessment: Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy and Sarah Jessica Parker conjure the identical outdated brew on Disney+

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Disney repeatedly wrings inordinate mileage out of nostalgia, which might simply obscure when the supply wasn’t fairly as worthy of reward as we like to recollect. “Hocus Pocus 2” ought to profit from that dynamic, delivering a breezy sequel – 29 years later – that ought to present go-down-easy Halloween viewing for households within the less-demanding confines of Disney+.

The costumes and sneakers nonetheless amiably match for Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy because the Sanderson sisters, who even get to belt out a jukebox-style model of a sure Elton John track, stone chilly sober, as an added piece of content material to assist promote the film.

Still, what makes this “Hocus Pocus” gel is the nifty mixture of outdated and new, replicating the essential template from the unique whereas introducing a brand new and extra numerous contingent of teenagers to do battle with the centuries-old witches. Throw in a few “Veep” alums (Sam Richardson, Tony Hale), and three-decades value of technological advances to dazzle and befuddle the central trio (computerized doorways and Alexa actually are like witchcraft to undiscerning eyes), and you’ve got a blueprint for humor that matches neatly throughout the authentic mildew, whereas increasing it ever so barely.

It takes a bit an excessive amount of time for the film’s charms to kick in, because the movie begins with a 12-minute Sandersons origin story that’s maybe most memorable for a cameo by “Ted Lasso’s” Hannah Waddingham. Director Anne Fletcher (“The Proposal”) and author Jen D’Angelo then shift to introduce a pair of misfit teenagers (“Gossip Girl’s” Whitney Peak and Belissa Escobedo), who like hanging out on the native magic store, the place the proprietor (Richardson) helps plant the seeds for the Sandersons’ newest reawakening.

As typical, the youngsters wind up having to do the heavy lifting in combating off the risk, with the Sandersons once more exhibiting a mixture of malevolence and ineptitude, beginning with their magic’s vulnerability to a number of grains of salt.

Fortunately, the youthful contingent proves a reasonably likable bunch, even when the Disney Channel-esque thread operating via it – involving an estranged good friend (Lilia Buckingham) who has deserted her outdated buddies for the favored children – doesn’t precisely reek of freshness.

Then once more, this sort of film hardly must reinvent the cauldron, representing extra of a cut-and-paste job. To its credit score, the movie nonetheless manages to be intelligent about weaving in callbacks to the unique, just like the trio’s goofy synchronized stroll, with out overdoing them.

While the not-too-scary hijinks are acceptable for teenagers, these scenes will doubtless ship extra of a kick for folks who caught the film method again when, serving to flip it right into a Halloween favourite. In sensible phrases, simply seeing the principals reprise their roles ought to conjure sufficient advertising warmth to make this a winner for Disney’s streaming service, with out forgoing an excessive amount of money by not releasing the film theatrically.

By that measure, “Hocus Pocus 2” finds what quantities to the streaming candy spot, feeling simply sufficiently big, however not too massive. There’s extra alchemy than science to that components, however as Disney’s lengthy historical past of live-action remakes and revivals go, it does require a sure knack to serve the brew in a method that makes the toil definitely worth the hassle.

“Hocus Pocus 2” premieres September 30 on Disney+.

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