Monday, March 8, 2010

Movie Review: Race to Witch Mountain (2009)

This is a random movie review of a random movie.

Well, not so random for Husband and I. You see, most of the films we watch are admittedly made for kids. Maybe we're immature. Maybe I've scared him after one too many feminist tirades after watching "EDGY" films. Maybe we prefer to watch films for pure, mindless entertainment. Or maybe we just get a little too wrapped up in nostalgia.

Pick any or all of the above.

Race to Witch Mountain (2009) stars The Rooo.....errr....I mean, Dwayne Johnson. You know, that serious actor who never EVER traipsed around in a speedo as a professional wrestler like this guy. THAT WAS totally SOMEONE ELSE! Anyway, throw in a couple of unmemorable cameos by Cheech Marin and Garry Marshall. (Do you think they maybe cut out the funny parts they filmed on accident?)

I'm not sure whether this film is technically a remake, but there was an Escape to Witch Mountain in 1975 with a similar plot. And Eddie Albert! And the doctor from the Halloween movies! Wowwowowowo!

I'm pretty positive I saw the original movie when I was a kid, because that was when the Disney Channel actually showed family movies instead of kidcentric, brain-numbing, egoist-encouraging junk. I grew up in the days of Savannah Smiles, The Parent Trap (Lindsay Lo-who?), and The Monkey's Uncle. But that's a debate for a different day....

Back to Witch Mountain. This is being marketed to a new audience, so how about some trendy updates? You say you want a greedy millionaire as a villain?---What are we? Communists?? Instead, how about an overzealous military trying to destroy Earth rather than listen to scientists' rational advice? And let's not rot our viewer's brains with too much plot. What we need are special effects. LOTS of special effects. I know: Let's make the cab driver (Rock) a Nascar-wannabe, Bullitt-obsessed ex-con to explain how he can be such a badass! Ooh, and let's totally rip off The Terminator and have a programmed robot chasing down the teenage aliens and trying to kill them!


Really, the problem with this film is that there isn't enough Dwayne Johnson. Special effects and car chases monopolize much of the film, and the shots are so tight, that you can't even tell what's happening. The best parts are when Johnson is interacting with the kids, with the bad guys, with the dog, basically anything he encounters.

Admittedly, there are some cute running jokes and small details that--if developed more--could have made for rounder characters. But I think it's fair to say that this film's main purpose was to capitalize on the rash of teen adventure movies glutting the market these days.

Oh, and when the characters attend a sci-fi adventure, be on the lookout for an enlarged book cover featuring the most haunting alien face you've ever seen. My mother read that book when I was a kid, and I distinctly remember lying beside her STARING at that cover while she read, because I was totally freaked out. I could never remember the title (and still can't!).

Photo from IGN. See their movie review here.

If you still call Dwayne Johnson "The Rock," watch this film.

If you prefer special effects (good or bad) over multi-layered characters and depth of plot, watch this film.

If you want to see the scariest alien book cover that ever existed, WATCH THIS FILM.



  2. aahhhhh! scary alien!!! i knew you'd remember it, too. TRAUMATIZING!

  3. LOL It's funny that you remember sitting in the room looking at the cover. I just remember running out of the room so I wouldn't even see the cover! Horrible!