Hocus Pocus 2 review

Fellow, witches, vampires, ghouls, and pumpkin spice lovers it’s officially spooky season. It’s time to decorate your house with pumpkins, find your favourite cosy jumper and spend the afternoon warming-up with a pumpkin spiced drink whilst watching a spooky film. Luckily, this year we have a new instant classic to watch on the rainiest of afternoons, The Sanderson Sisters are back (evil laugh) in Disney’s Hocus Pocus 2!! Does the sequel live up to the highly popular 1993 film Hocus Pocus? Thanks to Disney I was able to find out before Hocus Pocus 2 releases on Disney plus on the 30th of September. This is a spoiler free review. 29 years have passed since the 17th century witches; The Sanderson Sisters were resurrected to terrorise Salem on Halloween night. Not once in 29 years has a Black Flame Candle been lit…until now. Winnie (Bette Midler), Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker) and Mary (Kathy Najimy) return to once again wreak havoc and steal souls. Standing between the witches and their p

LOTR: The Rings of Power Episode One Review + Premiere Experience

The Lord of the Rings trilogy took place within the time of men, we are currently in the time of TV. The MCU is pumping out shows at an outstanding rate, the new Star Wars show Andor releases soon, and HBO is ruling Sundays/Mondays with its Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon and on the 2nd September Amazon's Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power joins the fray. What a time for TV fans - is this the golden age of TV? Quite possibly. This week I was lucky enough to attend The Rings of Power premiere - my first ever premiere (yay!), where I got to watch the first two episodes of the show after seeing the stars walk the carpet. 

I thought I would start my episode one review with a little bit about my experience at the premiere - it won't be long but feel free to skip if you are solely here to find out if Rings of Power is worth an Amazon Prime subscription. The premiere was great fun, the dress code was smart formal, meaning all the fans and press looked almost as fancy as the cast (at times it was hard to work out who was part of the show and who had just worn a really great suit or dress). The only downside to the dress code was the heels, I was standing for a good three hours and spent about two hours wishing I'd worn flats. But the heels did come in handy as I was stood behind two rows of people and being that I am very short it was at times hard to see what was happening (even with the high heels on). Whilst at the premiere I got to see plenty of the stars including Lenny Henry and Morfydd Clark, as well as composer Bear McCreary. I even managed to take a little walk on the cream aka red carpet, whilst taking in the amazing set pieces that had been built right in the centre of Leicester Square for the occasion. After watching the stars, hearing some interviews and grabbing some exclusive free merch (badge and poster), I headed into the IMAX cinema to watch the first few episodes. Once inside the cinema everyone was given: Rings of Power popcorn, water and the most insanely packaged KitKats, before settling in to journey back to Middle Earth. It was a great experience, and a fantastic opportunity to dress up a little. Now onto the review!

There will be minor spoilers beyond this point!

Set thousands of years before the events of The hobbit and The Lord of Rings, Rings of Power begins when the Elven peace in a far off land comes to an end and they travel to Middle Earth to wage war upon the dark lord that preceded Sauron. Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) grows up during this time of war, and we join her as she undertakes her brother mission to root out the remaining evil, the lieutenant of the now dead and defeated dark lord: Sauron. Galadriel is not the only familiar character to play a key role in Rings of Power, Elrond (Robert Aramayo) joins her, throughout the first episode tension between the two develops as Galadriel refuses to give up her mission of revenge. Her presence onscreen in captivating, Clark steals the attention of viewers, I wanted every scene to include her. 

The first episode sets the story into motion, almost in a prequel like manor. Just like The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, Rings of Power introduces a range of characters all of whom are living separate lives. Lenny Henry plays Harfoot elder; Sadoc Burrows. The Harfoots are early hobbits pre The Shire days of Frodo and Bilbo Baggins. Whilst the Harfoots take up valuable screen time in the first episode, they feel a little out of place when juxtaposed with the Elven scenes, Hartfoots are clearly the comic element of the episode, hopefully as the story progresses, we will see a braver, serious side to the pre hobbit group. We also meet Elvan high King Gil-galad (Benjamin Walker), the Elven soldier Arondir (Ismael Cruz Cordova) who has a forbidden love for Human healer Bronwyn (Nazanin Boniadi) and Nori (Markella Kavenagh) a Harfoot that will hopefully embark on a great quest. The players have been set for another epic adventure.

The show has been marketed as the most expensive show ever made - but was the money worth it? Yes! Rings of Power is visually magnificent, the sheer scale is awe-inspiring. The shows cinematography meticulously brings to life middle-earth perfectly capturing the rolling hills, snow covered mountains and ethereal Elvan cities. As soon as the show begins, the visuals combine with Bear McCreary's score and Galadriel's voiceover transporting from the mundane of everyday life, fully immersing viewers in the wonders of Middle Earth. I am truly in awe of the visuals throughout the first episode, watch the show on the biggest screen you can, its honestly a shame cinemas aren't playing the episodes weekly.  

Amongst the character and time period introductions the first episode sets up two very important storylines: a man falling from the sky as a meteor and the mention of a special project - most likely to be the creation of the rings. If the first episode is anything to go by we can expect great things from Rings of Power, especially if they manage to sustain the glorious visuals and the epic storylines without succumbing to pointless side stories and over comedic characters. Galadriel is a brilliant lead, her motivations compelling, her voice mesmerising, I hope she stays at the very forefront of the show for this season and beyond. We are in for an exciting few weeks!

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.  

Thank you for reading xx

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