Hocus Pocus, What’s Your Focus?
I have to give my two cents on the new Hocus Pocus movie. That’s right, the 29-year long-awaited sequel that no one asked for or knew was coming. I was a fan of the original mainly because I was a kid when it came out and there weren’t many “spooky” movies we were allowed to watch. Fun music, the kids get to be the heroes, funny villains, (amok, amok, amok!) that still makes me laugh!
And now I’m older and I have kids of my own, ironically around the same age I was whenever that movie first came out.
My wife and I sat down to watch the new one the other day, not from the perspective of children but from the perspective of adults and believers and followers of Jesus.
Uh-Oh… He said the J Word…
Let me give you a little background because I know the word Christian easily brings up offense these days. It conjures (see what I did there 😉 ) up ideas like the Salem Witch Trials, The Spanish Inquisition, and the Children’s Crusades. (all sickening works of man(un)kind, btw)
We’re the kind of parents who encouraged our kids to read the Harry Potter books and we watched all the movies with them. Also, the Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, Chronicles of Narnia, and The Matrix trilogies, Pride and Prejudice (I used to put this on in the background while they played because the music was so lovely, and the vocabulary was expansive to their young minds) along with many other things that some parents might find questionable.
As we watched them together, it gave us all an opportunity to start a conversation. A conversation that keeps going to this day.
I did this because I didn’t want them to have to process it all by themselves. But also, because I knew they would have questions, and they did. I was able to answer many of them and provide context and support. They still bring me those hard questions about life to help them discern
I know the world is broken. We all live in this broken world and thusly, by proxy, parts of us are broken too. I found the answer to life’s problems isn’t to pretend like I’m not broken but rather to accept I need a savior, someone who is better than me in every way and knows me inside out and loves me past my inabilities, insecurities and even my willful rebellion.
Having said all that, I look at the world through the lens of Jesus.
If this offends you, you may or may not like what I’m going to say.
The Bible is a book that gives us insight into the mind of the Creator of everything. And it is confusingly hard to understand at times, and at other times it’s incredibly easy and plainspoken. More on this later.
Witches in Biblical Context
In the Old Testament God explicitly tells us not to mess with divination, not to mess with spirits that are not of God. As a matter of fact, he calls witchcraft an abomination. Very forthright. In the New testament, 1 John 4:1 we are told to, “Test every spirit to see if it’s from God.”
We live in the physical. We don’t really know much about the spiritual realm.
The spirit realm is not something we are privy to with our five senses. It’s even called a sixth sense when people refer to it. It is intangible and indescribable because we perceive it so vaguely.
God, however, does understand it, and if He’s warning us about it, then it might be a good idea to steer clear. He doesn’t tell us there’s danger unless there is.
Easy example: I don’t need to know why there are landmines buried in the yard or even where they are. I just need to know which yard to not step into.
So, Where’s the Review?
Ok, ok… Back to the Hocus Pocus 2 sequel.
Now the adult in me sees it simply as a fun movie meant to entertain. It’s a bit of nostalgia to play into our sense of aging. Disney knows a lot of those who watched it as kids now have children around the same age. They are banking we have a fondness for it. Familiar songs, familiar actors, original casts throwback.
You see, in money terms, familiarity equates nostalgia, which equates more people will watch, which equates more money to Disney.
These little internet scuffles about whether or not it’s good for children is a discreet way of advertising for it.
Liberals will say witches like this are all just fun and games.
Conservatives say it’s too witchy.
And witches, well they’ll say it’s just not witchy enough.
Whelp, everyone’s gonna be disappointed!
But in the end, it’s a movie meant to make money.
As adults we should understand the brilliant marketing aspect of it, the wistfulness for a simpler time when we all felt safe and loved in our parents’ home. And I even feel swayed by that emotionally. There is a fondness in reminiscing. The massive promotion machine known as Disney knows that all too well. I mean, c’mon, look what they did to Star Wars. #nuffsaid
Now, watching as a believer, I thought early on in the film, “This has a dark vibe to it. I thought, “I’m glad the kids are not young because this would be one of those shows we would have to help them unpack.” Not that I minded helping them unpack those when they were younger, but that brings me to the next part.
THIS is why people are really upset
When we were young, everything was magical. We believed EVERYTHING… Everything had the potential to be magical, everything has a possibility of being true. I don’t know about you, but I was lied to from birth till about 10 years old about a fellow named Santa Claus. I even defended him fiercely amongst the naysayers at elementary school. Only to be embarrassingly crushed when I found out it was a eccentric hoax to give us presents from a stranger.
As a kid I also believe Star Wars was real. I believed in the magic of Hope.
That things unseen could be real.
I believed those things because I saw them in movies. Movies are a POWERFUL artistic medium, especially to small children. Believe me when I say, children don’t have any discernment. It’s not inherent in kids, it comes with time, context and reference.
It comes if you teach it to them…
Some people, probably a minority of hardcore conservative-minded Christians are upset because they felt that same weird vibe I felt when they either watched it or read about it. Maybe they’re reacting out of fear, maybe it’s just caution.
And if they want to protect their kids from that then I respect them for their intent. To protect children and prolong their innocence is an honorable goal. You can’t unring a bell. Once it’s been seen, whatever it is, it can’t be unseen. Isn’t there a song that says, “Be careful little eyes what you see.. Be careful little ears what you hear…”
There’s nothing wrong with protecting kids. I’ve just found the best way to protect a child is to walk through the muck (amok, amok, amok!) and mire with them. To earnestly listen to them and let them ask questions and keep that conversation going, on to adulthood. It’s working for us so far.
For the most part, my kids are old enough now to discern for themselves what is good what is right, what is just and what is duplicitous, what is deception what is insalubrious. (sorry, I never get to use that word.)
I won’t ridicule the people who voice their opinion about it not being a healthy show for kids to watch and I won’t ridicule the people who worship Disney and bow down and eat up whatever recycled scraps the behemoth juggernaut throws at them (search your feelings, you know it to be true.) *Star Wars reference*
Should you let your kids watch Hocus Pocus 2? Totally up to you, my friend. Are there dark things about it? Yes, of course. But there are dark things about the Bible too. You better walk them through it because eventually you’ll find verses like
- Lot, a supposedly good dude, offering his daughters to the men of the city to be raped.
- Genocide on several occasions
- Demons and demonic activity
- All of Isaiah 47 (discussing witchcraft).
- A KJV unicorn reference (spoiler alert, it’s a rhinoceros) more witches, mediums, sorcery, New Testament prophets striking people dead for lying.
I mean… there’s a lot to unpack.
In the flesh, there have always and will always be mysteries.
Get used to not fully understanding things down here.
It’s very Biblical.
It’s very human.
Back to the Heart of it…
But I’m going to have to say if it’s a choice between letting them watch Hocus Pocus 2 or letting them have… oh let’s say… social media, you would be wiser just to flip on HP2 and sit down for an hour and a half and discuss it with them as you go, explaining what you believe and why.
In the hopes one day, when they get to an age of choice, they might come to the same conclusions as you.
Hear me Now
Because believe me, when you hand a child over as a sacrifice on the altar of TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, and all the other socials, you have handed the reins to their future over to an unkind, unchecked mistress whose intent is abuse, distress, and eventual extinction.
Dangerous and demonic? You don’t have to go any further than the phone in your hand if you want to obliterate the soul of your child. The world wide web is all too ready to catch what we neglect or throw away.
Believe me or not, disagree with me or not.
I said what I said.
el robbo the salty
Song of the day for reference. Check out my spooky song, The Big Bad Wolf on all streaming platforms!