Ah, more secret witches, but this time with secret twins, too!
Disney was really on a kick with secret witches (Wizards of Waverly Place, too.) These stories are the ultimate “you can be anything” inspirational pieces, because the characters are just like everyone else until they realize they aren’t! In that case, they haven’t been like everyone else since the very start, but that doesn’t matter. This movie, while sprinkling in a good heap of magic dust and general tomfoolery, is a story about family and love and is, honestly, just as engaging as the first time I watched it when I was eight.
Twitches (and the subsequent Twitches Too, which I FORGOT EXISTED!) is available on Disney+ for your viewing pleasure. This film was directed by Stuart Gillard and adapted from a book series of the same name by H. B. Gilmour & Randi Reisfeld.
The film begins with an ominous Darkness, laced with red and glowing (yes, a glowing darkness), looming over a magical castlescape as two little babies are whisked away into another dimension by their father’s friends, Ileana (Jennifer Robertson) and Karsh (Pat Kelly). Ileana and Karsh separate the twin babies, Artemis and Apolla–one who wears a moon amulet, and another who wears a sun amulet–and drops them at different hospitals in the mortal dimension.
Flash forward twenty-one years, both twins have been adopted and are celebrating their Halloween birthdays very differently: Apolla has been named Camryn (Tamera Mowry) and raised in the lap of luxury by kind, rich parents who are throwing her a giant birthday party that night; Artemis goes by Alex (Tia Mowry) and lives with her friend’s family after losing her single mother three months prior.
It’s on this fateful day that Ileana and Karsh decide it’s time for Cam and Alex to meet and take on the Darkness once and for all. The twins are ~magically~ pushed together by a series of events and immediately find out that they have supernatural powers. It’s super cool.
Throughout the film, Alex and Cam navigate their new relationship, their old family ties, and the danger that haunts them as they find out the secret of the Darkness that took their father’s life and intends to destroy (or take over?) Coventry Island, the place of their birth.
Some of the most pressing issues in the film aren’t actually the Darkness at all, though, but the sibling bond that the sisters forge underneath the surface of the danger. It’s all the more poignant when viewers find that the reason for the twins’ father’s death was because of his own brother, Thantos (Patrick Fabian), who wanted power of Coventry and the love of their mother, Miranda (Kristen Wilson.) At the end, true love–and I don’t mean true romantic love–prevails, and the twins are able to meld their old lives with their new ones.
Tia and Tamera do a really outstanding job of encompassing twins who never knew each other and, yet, feel and act connected. As a child, I loved Sister Sister and Twitches, but I didn’t really realize how engaging the Mowry twins were as actors, especially together, until last night when I watched the film. Their timing, their facial expressions, their emotional level–it’s so good. I love them!
But, while the twins in Twitches are funny and charming and heartwarming, some of the funniest moments of the movie come from the interactions of Ileana and Karsh, an on-again-off-again couple who come in every now and then with little quips and squabbles as Ileana repeatedly annoys Karsh. (Kind of weird when I read the synopsis of the book to find out those characters are more like father and daughter, it seems.)
What a good film. What a good message. What a time! I love it.
HAPPY ALL HALLOWS’ EVE EVE!