By Colleen Meosky
As the Halloweentown movie series was a staple of Disney Channel’s “Monstober” for many people’s childhoods, I decided to rank the four movies.
Return to Halloweentown is still a solid movie, but did Disney Channel really think they could switch the actress who plays Marnie Piper without us realizing? I understand the movie was targeted at pre-teens and elementary school kids, but the recasting of the main character seems like a stretch. Apparently the original actress for Marnie, Kimberly J. Brown, had a scheduling conflict because she was busy shooting Big Bad Wolf at the time. However, I still believe Disney should’ve waited to produce the movie rather than replacing the face of the series. That’s why Return to Halloweentown earns 2.5 out of 5 stars from me.
While I appreciate Marnie’s initiative to build better connections between mortals and magical beings, I think the plot is not as strong as the first two installments of the series. Halloweentown High is about Marnie bringing a small group of students from Halloweentown to her own high school back in the mortal world. The Halloweentown Witches’ Council is not comfortable with the idea of this exchange program due to the Knights of the Iron Dagger myth. According to legend, the knights despise magic and have made it their mission to destroy all magical things they encounter. Marnie does not realize the seriousness of this, and this leads to her accidentally gambling the Cromwell powers with the Council, saying the program will be successful. However, the highlight of the movie is watching Grandma Aggie try her hand at teaching and eventually falling in love with Principal Flannigan.
Halloweentown is easily the most nostalgic movie for me. Marnie becomes frustrated at her mother Gwen because the kids are never allowed to go out to celebrate Halloween. Meanwhile, Grandma Aggie is trying to convince Gwen to allow her to train Marnie in magic because she could lose her powers otherwise. Marnie, Dylan, and Sophie finally discover their family’s witch background when they try to sneak off to Grandma Aggie’s house. They visit Halloweentown and become immersed in the magical world.
Halloweentown II: Kalabar’s Revenge is arguably the best Disney Channel original movie. Residents of Halloweentown fall under the “Grey Spell” and are changed into people from a silent film without color. Grandma Aggie’s spellbook is missing after Marnie shows her grandmother’s magical room off to a boy she likes. Marnie, Dylan, Sophie, and Aggie have to deal with portal closures, a lost spellbook, and soon face Kalabar before it turns humans into the creatures they dress up as on Halloween. This is definitely the strongest plot of all the movies.