- Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
- Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
- Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
- Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit), French Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0
- Subtitles: English SDH, French, Portuguese, Spanish
- Subtitles Color: White
- Region: ABC (Region-Free)
- Rating: R
- Run Time: 96 Mins.
- Discs: 2 (1 x Blu-ray + 1 x DVD)
- Studio: Walt Disney Video
- Blu-ray Release Date: September 4, 2012
- List Price: $26.50
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Director Kenny Ortega’s (TV’s High School Musical; Michael Jackson’s This is It) 1993 comedy/fantasy Hocus Pocus is a the sort of family friendly holiday fare along the lines of Home Alone that parents won’t have to worry about putting on for a room full of children for a Halloween party. The story follows teenager Max (Omri Katz) his new girlfriend Allison (Vinessa Shaw) and Max’s kid sister Dani (Thora Birch) on Halloween in Salem. When the trio accidentally resurrect a trio of 300-year-old sister witches, Winifred, Sarah, and Mary (Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy) the kids must keep the witches from getting their spell book and capturing all the town’s children to drain their spirits in order to obtain immortality.
The script is breezy, moving from one set piece to next, rarely slowing down to come up for air, while the incredibly over-the-top acting (read: campy) from the three witches somehow works to maintain a sense of levity. Ortega even manages to find time to squeeze in a show tune performance for “The Divine Miss M.” All of this adds up what is a fine, family-ready Halloween affair. It’s not too scary, not too violent, and not too deep.
Hocus Pocus comes to Blu-ray with only an average, but watchable transfer to Blu-ray from Disney. There are a few rough patches in the AVC/MPEG-4 1080p encodement, but nothing electronic or too off-putting slips in. The overall image looks just a little dim and grain is just a little on the coarse side, but the source is clean and the picture looks film-like.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit) soundtrack does not appeal to me at all. The surround channels are pumped full of ambience that mirrors what is going on across the front channels. This results in a mix that sounds out of balance and somewhat reprocessed to my ears.
The Definitive Word
Relax, turn off your brain, and enjoy this zany bit of comedy/fantasy seemingly custom made for kids of all ages and ready for the upcoming holiday season.
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