Saturday, March 14, 2009

Race to Witch Mountain

Genre - Action-Adventure/Family/Fantasy/Sci-Fi
Year Released - 2009
Running Time - 98 minutes
Rated PG for sequences of action and violence and frightening and dangerous situations
Directed by Andy Fickman (who also directed The Game Plan)
Written by Matt Lopez (who also wrote Bedtime Stories) and Mark Bomback (who also wrote Live Free or Die Hard)
*Based on the book Escape to Witch Mountain written by Alexander Key
Cast Includes:
AnnaSophia Robb (Because of Winn-Dixie, Bridge to Terabithia, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)
Alexander Ludwig (The Seeker: The Dark is Rising)
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson (The Game Plan, Get Smart, The Scorpion King, and Doom)
Carla Gugino (Spy Kids 1 - 3 and Night at the Museum)
Ciaran Hinds (The Sum of All Fears and Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life)
Tom Everett Scott (An American Werewolf in Paris and That Thing You Do)

Rating: 3 Skulls

Plot Summary:
Two young siblings find themselves on the run from a dark organization seeking to exploit their paranormal abilities, while a helpful cab driver and a UFO specialist try to keep them safe.

Well, today was a father/daughter day with my oldest daughter, and she chose to go see this film. Generally, I like to wait for the family films to hit the budget theatre, as they are considerably cheaper to take the kids. However, as a fan of the original series [for those who may be unaware, this film is yet another "re-imagining" - this time of the 1975 film Escape to Witch Mountain] I was prepared to take the hit to my wallet.

As far as re-imaginings go, this one was not half bad. [I still prefer the original one though]
My daughter, who has seen the original films as well, thoroughly enjoyed this one as well, and what more could I ask for. :-)

When a UFO crashes just outside of Las Vegas, the government is quick to step in, hailing the site as the state's largest chlorine spill[?!?] Around this time, cabbie Jack Bruno [played by Dwayne Johnson] discovers two children in his cab, with $15,000.00 cash - there destination - an old abandoned house on the outskirts of Vegas. Bruno soon discovers that the children are not from our world, and with the help of a space scientist, they work with the children to return them to their spaceship and back to their home planet.

Say what you want to about "The Rock" but I like the guy - especially in children's films. I felt that he did a fine job playing the character of Jack Bruno, and he made me chuckle several times.

As for the films itself - even though I felt that it was overly-laden with special effects, the pace moved along nicely, and I could tell that my daughter was nervous a couple of times, so there must have been some suspense that I was missing out on.

One of the things that I did not like though was the addition of Siphon, an alien assassin sent to destroy the children and their mission. [Siphon was played by the excellent Tom Woodruff Jr who has portrayed some great creatures in film, such as the lead Alien in the Alien films, Gillman in The Monster Squad, and Goro in Mortal Kombat] however, I just felt that this character was completely unnecessary [but that's just me]

One of the things that I did enjoy was the cameo appearances of Kim Richardson & Ike Eisenmann - who played the children in the original films. The scene that they were in [together] was one of the film's finest moments.

Here's the trailer:

Overall, if you can afford to take your children out to the theatres, then this is a sufficient film.

If spending forty-bucks is out of the question, then treat your children to the original films - they will be just as entertained [well, okay, maybe not as much, with all of the new special effects and all, but still] :-)



Ryan Harvey said...

With no kids to take, I probably won't be seeing this. I loved the original movie as a child, but I haven't seen it in probably over twenty years.

Cins said...

I actually love the original films. They're a huge piece of my childhood. I'm pretty curious how they re-imagined this for today's audience. Despite my love of the originals they do tend to come across as dated.
Thanks for the review! I may catch it in the bargain theaters!

Wings said...

I haven't watched the original films in gah, forever.

Yesterday my wife took our two youngest to see this (I saw Last House on the Left). She liked it a lot, and the kids liked it, although they weren't super-thrilled by it.

I will give it a chance once it is out on DVD.

thebonebreaker said...


If ever you catch it on cable, give it a sit through - it was neat to see the kids from the original, all grown up now :-)


I will agree that the originals are definitely dated - though they are still enjoyable [fortunately I have a daughter who loves older films!] ;-)
Due to all of the action, effects, etc this one is a good one to watch on the big screen and your Bargain theatre would be your best bet!


I'll be looking forward to your thoughts on this one - right now, I'm off to read your thoughts on Last House on the Left... :-)