Dr. Venkman's Early Review: Race to Witch Mountain

by Joey Paur

I recently had the opportunity to go see the first cut of Disney's new sci-fi action movie ‘Race to Witch Mountain'. It was pretty neat because I got a chance to take my 10 year old daughter to Disney studios. She is a Disney freak so she thought it was quite a cool experience.‘Race to Witch Mountain' is a remake based on Disney's 1975 film ‘Escape to Witch Mountain' which is based on a book. This new film is by far much better than the original. I never really was emotionally attached to the original films, which had their certain charms, but as a whole this remake is a fun version.

When I was at Comic-Con this year I got a chance to see some footage and hit up the panel that they had for this movie, and I liked everything that I saw and heard. Then earlier this month the trailer was released for the film, which looked like it could be pretty good, then I ended up getting to see it!

This film is incredibly action packed! There is one action sequence after another and it involves some great car chase scenes, explosions, bounty hunters, men in black and some very cool visuals. The action is the high point of the film. It was pretty intense, my 10 year old girl was grabbing tight onto my arm during some of these scenes, but when it was over she would giggle and clap. So yeah, it was scary for her, but she liked it and had a good time watching it.

The movie is about two child alien siblings named Sara and Seth who have certain powers. They come to earth searching for something that was placed there that holds the key to helping the planet that they are from. These two alien kids end up in Las Vegas durring a UFO convention, and in the Taxi of an ex mob guy named Jack Bruno. Jack is a hard tough guy, but he agrees to take these kids where they need to go, after all they are going to pay him. This is where the movie takes off and the fun begins. As the alien kids are trying to accomplish their mission, they are being hunted down by both secret government officials, which could be compared to the men in black, and a bounty hunter from their home planet that has been sent to destroy them. During the journey they enlist the help of a discredited astrophysicist because they have no idea who else to go to. The end goal is to get to Witch Mountain where the kid's space ship is being held so they can get home.

The film may be action packed but it doesn't hide the fact that the movie is an extremely cheese ball film. The dialogue and acting is really quite silly, but that not really a bad thing for a movie like this. It was so consistent throughout the film though, that it must have been what the filmmakers were going for. So if that is the case then they pulled off the cheesiness very well. On top of that it is a Disney movie for kids and my daughter laughed a lot. This is a big budget B sci-fi movie.

There is also a ton of things that happen during the movie that don't make sense at all. For example the kids have these powers that they could be using in the film the whole time to help in their efforts but they don't. So they will use one power in the middle of the film and you may wonder why they didn't use that power earlier when they were in a similar situation. Stuff like that. Adults will notice it kids wont care.

I won't give away the ending of the film but I did not like it at all. Story wise it was fine because it's where they had to go, but it was the way it was executed. To over the top sappy. There was a lot of crying involved and it lasted way to long. It is where the already stale acting got even worse. Crying on camera is not one of Dwayne Johnsons strong points.

The special effects were not completed when I saw the film so I can't really give any feedback on that, but the designs were really interesting and very retro. 

The movie stars Dwayne Johnson as Jack. Formaly known as The Rock he does yet another decent acting job. It's nothing to write home to mom about, but it works for what the movie is that is until he has to cry, for that he gets an A for effort.

AnnaSphia Robb as Sara alien child and Alexander Ludwig as Seth alien child. These two blonde headed kids are pretty good as the monotone alien children. They were parts any kid could have played they just had the right look.

Carla Gugino as an astrophysicist. You can't help but like her in whatever movie she is in. She was good as always.

Other characers and actors include: Ciaran Hinds as Burke, Tom Everett Scott as a government roadie, Chris Marquette as one of the most pointless characters ever, and cameos by Garry Marshall, Cheech Marin, Kim Richards who is from the original film, and Ike Eisenmann who is also from the original film.

Some of the characters in the movie were completely pointless. One that just annoyed the hell out of me was played by Chris Marquette who played a young government MIT graduate scientist. He had an ongoing joke through the movie about how he needs a gun. But most of the time his character looked scared and confused and he played no vital role in the film. It was like they wrote the part for just for the hell of it.

Andy Fickman directed the film. He also made 'The Game Plan' for Disney. He has his strong points and his weak points in this film, but put together a fun and consistent movie.

In the end I enjoyed the film. ‘Race to Witch Mountain' was a cheesy good time. As for my 10 year old daughter she wouldn't stop talking about it on the way home, she loved it. This is a movie that everyone can enjoy.

Keep in mind that this was the first cut of the movie and there is still a lot of work that needs to be done. They will most likely edit it down, change things around, and possibly re-shoot some stuff. I am looking forward to checking out the finished product. It opens up in theaters March 13, 2009.


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