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I don't know why everyone's being so hard on this movie. No it's not like
the TV series, but come on, this was made BEFORE the TV series as a movie
all on its own, of course it's different. Instead of endlessly comparing
to the TV show and complaining, why not try letting it stand on it's
I actually really like this movie, so much so that I recently bought it on DVD. I thought it was really cute. It doesn't try to be anything it's not. It's simple, but for me that worked. For me the cast meshed very well together. Back when this movie was made Melissa Joan Hart was young enough to be able to pull off playing a TEENAGE witch and she did a really good job. Melissa Joan Hart was so sweet in this film, she was cute but not too much, and her acting was just fine. I really enjoyed Michelle Beaudoin as Marnie, Sabrina's best friend. Beaudoin had great chemsitry with Hart and it was very easy to believe their friendship, which felt very natural. I also thought Lalainia Lindbjerg was super as the malicious Queen Bee character Katie and Ryan Reynolds was great as hunky Seth, while Tobias Mehler was perfect as Harvey. My only complaint is that I found Sherry Miller and Charlene Fernetz really bland and uninteresting as the aunts. They weren't so bad but I'm not that keen on them either.
The storyline was good enough...Sabrina Saywer is relatively new in River Dale. She has a crush on Seth, a senior and the hottest guy in school. But Seth is invovled with Queen Bee Katie, however when Katie breaks up with him Seth begins noticing Sabrina. When Sabrina uses her newly discovered magical powers to win a track competition, Seth asks her to the Spring Fling dance at school but by this time Sabrina's unsure if Seth really is the guy for her. All the while poor Harvey, who's liked Sabrina all along, has to wait to see if Sabrina will have a change of heart.
Sabrina, The Teenage Witch plays very much like a chick flick aimed at young teens. It clearly was made on a low budget but it still (in my opinion) looked good and it's just a cute movie that's fun if you have some time on your hands. Try and watch it with an open mind, forget about the TV show while you do, and don#t judge this little bit of fluff too harshly. You might just enjoy it.
Sabrina, The Teenage Witch, well, of course the movie is about Sabrina, a teenage girl who is sent to live with her two strange aunts. Whilst there, on her sixteenth birthday, Sabrina finds out she's a witch. At first, she doesn't know what to think, but she soon gets used to it. It's good that Melissa Joan Hart who also plays Sabrina in the TV Show, of the same name plays Sabrina here too as she really suits the role. It's a shame we don't have the likes of Jenna Leigh Green here though who played Libby Chessler for a few years on Sabrina, the TV Show, as she was really great, but fans of the show will most likely like this movie, anyway. I also think this is better then some of the other Sabrina TV movies.
I do think the the TV series based on this TV flick is better, but this movie did set the course for laugh-out-loud comedy series. Most of the casting is messed up, except for Michelle Beaudoin as Marny, Sabrina's best friend. Michelle went on to play Sabrina's best friend Jenny for a season, which was good. However, the voice of Salem in this one was all wrong! The voice in the show is much better.
I hate to admit it, but I agree with most of the comments here. Rather than Caroline Rhea and Beth Broderick as the aunts, Nick Bakay as Salem, we have an entirely different cast. The only ones that are the same as they appeared on the show were Melissa Joan Hart and Michelle Beudoin. But there are quite a few notable differences. Sabrina Sawyer instead of Sabrina Spellman, a British Salem instead of the one we all know and love. The movie was okay, but it just doesn't compare to the greatness of the TV show. I recommend "Sabrina Goes to Rome" or "Sabrina Down Under." Those movies are more up-to-date.
I think the previous comments can be explained by some clarification. Sabrina, the Teenage Witch the movie came first. Given the popularity of the movie, a TV show spawned off of it (much the same as what happened with Buffy, the movie was first) and the cast changes and other changes were made. I liked the series, but it's important to note that since Sabrina was already popular by that point because of the movie, the series had the opportunity to be much more polished and complete. Taken with that in mind, it's much easier to enjoy the movie as the delightful first romp through the Sabrina world that it is, rather than comparing to the much-improved later works.
I would love to own the series of films that Melissa Joan Hart has been in.
IE: Sabrina Goes To Rome, Right Connections, Sabrina the Teenage Witch,
Sabrina Goes to Austrailia (to save the mermaid colony), and of course I
would like the family to go to the theatre to see Drive me Crazy which is
coming out soon. I am a disabled father of three young children and the
entertainment provided by these shows are very entertaining and enjoyable.
I myself grew up watching the Sabrina the Teenage Witch episodes. If
you are a big fan of Melissa Joan Hart or love the series then you will
definitely love this movie. The movie takes place at the beginning when
Sabrina just discovers that she is a witch. It is very interesting to
see how she copes with it and what she goes through. However not all of
the main characters in the show make it to the movie since the movie
was created first. The voice of Salem you can also tell is off. But, it
is a great started movie to the series. I loved watching it.
If you like Sabrina, then watch this movie. It will amaze you. It is magical.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I must provide one of the dissenting voices here as an individual who
actually enjoyed this movie as relaxing and light entertainment even though
the character development had a few flaws, the script could have been
improved at times and the plot was essentially one that had been explored in
many different contexts. It is infinitely better than the subsequent
`Sabrina' movie that was produced and I actually came away quite impressed
with the quality of the acting
Indeed I think it was the quality of the acting that turned this movie from what could have been an exceedingly weak teenage movie into one that was entertaining and enjoyable. While usually not a fan of Melissa Joan Hart, she actually provided some high quality acting here and gave her character a real personality and a dimension that was very enjoyable to witness. Michelle Beaudoin also was excellent in her role, as was Ryan Reynolds as Seth and Tobias Mehler as Harvey. And Lalaina Lindbjergh provides an excellent portrayal of quintessential snob Katie Lemore. The only major criticism I have is to do with Seth's character development later on in the movie but I won't give that away because it would be classified as a spoiler.
Yet I think it was Sherry Miller and Charlene Fernetz who really provided the most excellent, comprehensive and in depth portrayals of their respective characters. The two gave the characters of Aunt Hilda and Aunt Zelda so much creativity, depth, imagination and appeal as well as an elegance and grace that went well beyond what the scriptwriters had in mind. Aunt Hilda and Aunt Zelda completely stole the show and it was a shame we didn't see more of the excellent acting of Miller and Fernetz in this movie and indeed that we haven't heard more from Miller and Fernetz on the acting scene. They are truly wonderful first class actresses I can't commend them highly enough.
Sure, the plot was predictable, but the acting made up for it in my view. If you are looking for some light and enjoyable entertainment for younger audiences, this movie quite definitely fits the bill.
"A girl, sent by her parents to live with her two eccentric aunts and
attend a new high school, finds out on her sixteenth birthday that she
is a witch". This premise sets up Sabrina the Teenage Witch (1996) to
be a blend of "Bewitched" and "Mean Girls".
This teen movie belongs to the "high-school-queen-bee-gets-her-comeuppance" sub-genre of which there are endless examples. Apparently there is a huge viewing demographic who on some basic level repeatedly get off erotically or emotionally on this humiliation dynamic. The friendship and coming-of-age elements are almost incidental to the story.
More central for your thinking viewer are the moral dilemma and ethical considerations raised by the story. Sabrina competes with other girls in track and field events; winning several of them by using her powers to cheat. Little effort is made to show her in any sort of quandary over her decision to cheat. The story hedges a bit on this issue, as her magic is mostly used in response to unwarranted attacks by her rival; but in several of the track & field events her cheating makes losers out of all the other participants and no attempt is made at rationalization or justification.
The problem with casting someone like Melissa Joan Hart as your good girl love interest is the absence of even a hint of physical sizzle. Which means that to stay remotely credible with viewers, the bad girl she plays off has to be several erotic levels below Megan Fox; hence Tori Spelling lookalike Lalainia Lindbjerg as Katy Lemore (apparently a play on L'Amore). And Hart's rival Libby in the 1996-2003 series would be played by the even less sizzling Jenna Leigh Green. Which makes their inevitable comeuppances almost sterile. And since Katy does not rank especially high on the queen bee badness scale Sabrina's extreme revenge is way out of proportion. To appreciate the missed opportunity just check out Samantha's inspired abuse of rival Sheila Sommers (played by gorgeous Nancy Kovack) in several episodes of "Bewitched".
But the producers should get some credit for a glammed up Katy in the "Zapped" (1982) inspired final comeuppance scene. Although Sabina has tortured Katy throughout the movie she saves the most extreme for the end, reducing her rival to a disheveled and whimpering wreck. With this "Sabrina the Teenage Witch" sets a new standard in teen movie queen bee degradation, if that is your idea of a turn on or a good time. Going any further with this sort of thing would cross into "Carrie" territory and that is an entirely different genre.
Sabina's bad boy hunk Seth is played by sleepy looking Ryan Reynolds, he is relatively harmless and almost cluelessly disengaged. Reynolds would play an almost identical character three years later in "Dick". "Dead Like Me's" Daisy - Laura Harris - plays one of Katy's friends and has a lot of what the main actresses are missing.
Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.
Sixteen year old Sabrina Sawyer (Melissa Joan Hart) moves in with her
aunts Hilda (Sherry Miller) and Zelda (Charlene Fernetz) in Riverdale.
After three months, her inner witch abilities are starting to show.
Marnie Littlefield (Michelle Beaudoin) is her best friend at school.
They have a crush on hot jock Seth (Ryan Reynolds). Harvey has a secret
crash on Sabrina. Katy Lemore spices up her love life by breaking up
with Seth. On her birthday, Sabrina is given her spell book and then
their cat Salem starts talking. She tries to win Seth with witchcraft
but it requires love with a pure heart from Seth or else she'll be
turned into a witch's familiar.
It's fine as a teen romance. Harvey could be played by an actor with a bit more charm. The rest of the cast is fine. This is for the TV show's fans and also anybody who wants to see Ryan Reynolds in his 80s fluffy golden blonde hair. It's a low level family-friendly fun time and not anything more.
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