Think of watching Disney’s Race to Witch Mountain as an exercise in mental stability. Not that it’s overly complicated or hard to understand, in fact it’s quite the opposite. The difficulty here is that the film tries to get away with so many things you finally just have to break down and go along for a 98 minute mundane ride or leave the theater.
Dwayne Johnson plays Jack Bruno, an ex-felon turned Vegas cab driver whose trying to stay on the straight and narrow. Enter two young aliens, (Anna Sophia Robb and Alexander Ludwig) who crash land on earth and must recover a secret device that holds the key to the survival of their home planet. Throw in Gary Marshall as a know it all UFO expert, Carla Gugino as Johnson’s love interest, and Ciaran Hinds as the ubber baddy government agent and what we have is a Saturday morning cartoon gone awry.
As you may have already guessed by the plot synopsis, the plot really doesn’t matter. Yes this is a movie made for kids, but even young moviegoers deserve more than what director Andy Fickman has dumped into their laps.
***Spoilers ahead*** For instance, if you are aliens and have the dual ability of mental telepathy and molecular deconstruction, it’s mind boggling that a tranquilizer dart would give you the slightest problem. Also, lets say that you have the Neo like power to stop bullets, why then is an underground secret facility so difficult to escape from? Along with some catchy one liners and slightly interesting car chase/explosion scenes, Witch Mountain has all the excitement of a two day old IHOP pancake platter. Even throwing a lovable canine into the mix couldn’t save this one. Oh look! They did that too.
One can only assume that the tears shed in the films final scenes from all the actors were those of joy. Thankful to be done with such a half-hearted script, they happily went to collect their respective paychecks and went on to bigger and better things. At least, that’s the happy ending I would hope for.
If you have kids and are looking to treat them to some movie magic this weekend, have no fear. Save yourself some cash and watch Disney’s much better film Bolt, which is now on DVD. Or if your looking for some nostalgia, track down the original 1975 Escape to Witch Mountain. I haven’t seen it since I was a kid, but I’m sure it’s a better film.