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Toon Talk: Race to Witch Mountain
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by Kirby Holt (archives)
March 18, 2009
Kirby reviews Disney's latest live-action release, Race to Witch Mountain.
Toon Talk: Disney Film and DVD Reviews
by Kirby C. Holt

(c) Disney

Race to Witch Mountain

Walt Disney Pictures
MPAA Rating: PG

The Other Side of the Witch Mountain

As Disney remakes go, Race to Witch Mountain is no Flubber. What it is is aptly titled, as the action rarely stops in this fast-paced junior sci-fi romp. From its old school opening credits to its lets set up a sequel conclusion, director Andy Fickman (The Game Plan) keeps the momentum going, less you have a chance to scrutinize the plot too closely. The result is a whiz-bang throwback to the gee-whiz science fiction flicks of the pre-Star Wars 70s, a perfectly timed spring break distraction for the PG-crowd too young to get in to Watchmen.

(c) Disney

With a script by Matt Lopez and Mark Bomback (based, as was the original Escape to Witch Mountain, on the novel by Alexander Key), Race to Witch Mountain updates the familiar story to the present day and, cleverly, sets it in Las Vegas, where such set pieces as a UFO convention and the Area 51-ish title structure are naturally close at hand. Dwayne Johnson (the artist formerly known as The Rock and most recently known as The Rock Obama) plays Jack Bruno, a burly ex-con-turned-Sin City cab driver whose latest fare a pair of tow-headed teens named Seth and Sara (The Seeker: The Dark is Risings Alexander Ludwig and Bridge to Terabithias AnnaSophia Robb) drag him into the adventure of his life.

Following in the monotone footsteps of the originals Tony and Tia, Seth and Sara are unlike any kids on Earth fittingly, as they are actually from outer space. Empowered with X-Men-ish abilities like phasing, telekinesis and telepathy, the extra-terrestrial siblings have been sent to our planet by their unseen parents to retrieve crucial data that will save their world, as well as prevent ours from being destroyed by a nasty alien threat.

Seth and Saras mission is jeopardized on two fronts this go round; not only must they contend with a Terminator-like predator (or is that Predator-like terminator?) sent by their own planets corrupt military to stop them at whatever cost, they also must retrieve their crash-landed spaceship from the so-called Witch Mountain. Depicted as a craggy monolith in the Nevada desert, the titular peak hides a secret US government base where a squadron of Men in Black types have taken the psi-kids downed flying saucer. Needless to say, they are eager to get their hands (and scientific research equipment) on the ships crew as well.

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