Revisiting ‘Halloweentown’

Wednesday night was hours of sadness and depression for me as I hopelessly watched my Los Angeles Dodgers get eliminated from the postseason for the seventh year in a row at the hands of none other than Mr. Howie Kendrick. I was not in a state where I wanted to watch a movie so I took last night off but now I am back to revisit one of the great Disney Channel movies of my childhood: Halloweentown. 

In case you forgot, Halloweentown is about a witch attempting to reconnect with her family, who lives in the “mortal” world, in hopes of saving her beloved world from an evil force. We find out that her daughter, Gwen wants her children to not have powers and be normal people, which leads to a power struggle between the two women.

Any memory that I have with this entire Halloweentown franchise has been positive. The original is timeless and the sequels, other than Return to Halloweentown are really enjoyable. This time of year is so fun with the aesthetics, the weather, and the decorations. Halloween is just a blast in general and that is what Halloweentown hits on so well. It captures all the joy that one could have around this holiday. The makeup and costume designs are stellar for a straight-to-TV movie. Disney did not need to go this hard with this movie.

All the performances are outstanding thanks to some entertaining writing and an iconic performance from the late Debbie Reynolds. Aggie Cromwell is a legendary character and the face for people who categorize themselves as misfits. “Being normal is vastly overrated”. How can you hate this movie?

Kimberly J. Brown, Joey Zimmerman, and Emily Roeske were perfect casting as our lead protagonists. I really could not see anyone replacing Brown as Marnie until Disney messed up by making a fourth film and casting Sara Paxton to assume the role….

The negatives I have with this film are mostly related to the special effects. For context, this was a Disney Channel original film made in 1998, so you really should not be expecting Planet of the Apes type of movie magic, but still, the effects are glaringly bad in this movie. Some of the shots are out of focus as well, especially in the beginning at their home in the “mortal” world. While Aggie would be speaking, her face would be out of focus but the kids were still in focus. I just found it distracting but those moments are few and far between.

If you love Halloween, this should be on your must-watch list every year. Looking past the awfully dated special effects, Halloweentown is arguably one of the best and most underrated October movies of all-time.

Rating: 9/10

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