Director: Duwayne Dunham
Starring: Debbie Reynolds, Kimberly Brown, Judith Hoag
Plot: Marnie, Dylan, and Sophie Piper have their first out of many adventures! On Halloween, while Marnie is arguing with her mother Gwen, the kids' grandmother Aggie comes to visit. Aggie wants to start Marnie's witch training before her 13th birthday or Marnie will lose her powers forever. But there is another reason for Aggie's visit. Something dark & evil is growing in Halloweentown & Aggie wants help to defeat it. While Aggie & Gwen are arguing, Aggie uses magic which Marnie observes. After Aggie leaves to return to Halloweentown, Marnie, Dylan and, unknown to Marnie and Dylan, Sophie follow her onto the return bus. Soon afterwards, Gwen follows the children to Halloweentown. While there, Aggie & Gwen are attacked by the dark force in a movie theater. Marnie, Dylan & Sophie race to get the ingredients to activate Merlin's Wand to stop the evil.
This one was a request of my girlfriend. There's a bit of an age gap between us. I'm 40, so my childhood horror memories are from the late 70s and early 80s. She's 25, so for her it's stuff in the late 90s and early 2000s, like this TV movie (it originally played on Disney Channel).
We sat down and watched this as a family, me, my girlfriend and my five-year-old son. I'm not going to do a long review about it, because, well, it's a kids' movie, but I have to say that it is well done for what it is. It's family-friendly fare, but it captures the essence of Halloween quite nicely. Debbie Reynolds is charming as the grandmother witch and some of the "monster" effects are cool in a goofy kind of way (like a G-rated version of Night Breed monsters or something Charles Band would dream up).
You won't be checking this one out unless you have a young child or you were a kid yourself in 1998, but for a children's movie I give it a thumbs up.