Home > 2009 Movie Reviews > Race to Witch Mountain Review

Race to Witch Mountain Review

Race to Witch Mountain

Race to Witch Mountain is a great movie for young kids, it’s too bad that they won’t get the real message.

My rating 3.5 Stars

Race to Witch Mountain is a “re-imagining” version of the 1975 film Escape to Witch Mountain. Both films are based on Alexander Key’s 1968 novel Escape to Witch Mountain. I have never seen the original movie, nor have I read the novel, so I will not be making any comparisons to these early works.

The film stars Dwayne Johnson (a.k.a. The Rock) as Jack Bruno. Jack is a driver who apparently had a bit of a shady past. He lives a quiet life, or at least tries to live one as a cab driver in Las Vegas, taking people from the casinos to the airport and back. He seems otherwise bored with his job until one day he picks up two little aliens—who have taken the form of young teens. It is at this point where his life goes from dull and routine, to way too much excitement for his taste.

The kids are part of a reconnaissance mission to collect information on an experiment they are doing on our planet. Evidently these aliens’ home planet has become unsuitable for sustaining life. They obviously didn’t do enough research on ours. However, no matter how bad our planet is, it is still a whole lot better than theirs. Thus, they are interested in colonizing it. What about humans? The plan is to move us out against our will and then fill out their change of address forms. This is the solution proposed by their military, however, there is another solution suggested by their scientists that would require doing some work. This solution would fix their atmosphere and allow for life to once again flourish on their home planet. I thought it was very clever how the writers closely tied in our current cultural dilemmas in this story.

It is because of this proposed solution by the scientists that the Earth gets involved. Instead of attacking and colonizing our planet they thought to conduct their atmospheric experiments on our planet, if they are successful they would be able to improve their atmosphere and there would be no need to invade earth. However, their planet’s military would rather just take over our planet than to fix theirs. Their military then takes action to stop their scientists from succeeding in their experiments by sending in siphon assassins (an engineered being designed for the sole purpose of killing, similar to a terminator) to kill the scientist and therefore preventing their findings from reaching their public. As a back-up plan, the two kids that are featured in the film are sent to Earth to retrieve the experiments’ findings and report back to their planet so that they can make it public. Once the data is made public on the alien’s planet the alien people would rather fix their home planet than attack another.

I really like the message of this story. I think it’s a great thing to bring these types of scenarios to the minds of young people, because these are the types of difficult decisions that our future leaders will have to face. I like how the similarities of their home planet mimic ours. I also like how their government thinks just like ours. It’s good for children to see that sometimes government does not make good decisions and that sometimes it is up to the people to take matters in their own hands.

With that said, I should point out the negatives, and there are plenty. I understand that this is a kid’s movie, however, the plot is a bit involved so I would venture to say that the target audience is young adults ages 10-16 since the idea would be lost on children any younger. However, I thought that the film was a bit soft for the young-adult audience. I don’t think that the level of drama that Disney chose to go with would interest kids of that age range very much. I felt that Disney could have gone a little more risqué with this film and not be inappropriate for that age group. Instead the action was more appropriate for kids younger than 10 and I think that might turn off the actual targeted audience. That didn’t sit well with me and I think that it would not work with their viewers either.

In all, this isn’t a bad film, there are a couple of clichés here and there, but they used them in good context and in good taste. It didn’t feel like your canned Disney movie so that is also a big plus. I just wish that Disney had taken a bit more of a risk with the action. I must say that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was fantastic in this role. He was funny and very likable. There is something about him that is very rough and rugged, but also innocent enough to feature in a Disney film. He looks as though he enjoys playing these roles and I enjoy seeing him in them. I think he is a great kid’s hero, kudos to Disney for casting him in this role.

Categories: 2009 Movie Reviews
  1. April 18, 2011 at 7:09 am

    Oh my God this film frustrated me. Awful scripting, a heavy reliance on cliched plot developments and some see-it-coming “surprises” ruined this film for me. I agree that it is a film without a common audience – it’s too soft for older kids, and to convoluted and involved for the younger, which means it’s a film for… nobody? There’s no emotion in the film at all, the Rock looks like he is bored with the whole thing and probably wishes he hadn’t signed to do it, and Carla Gugino looks so out of her depth she’s barely keeping up with the plot. Yes, it’s a kids film, but it completely lacked the intelligence kids these days are looking for – it’s a dumb film made dumber by the hackneyed and cliched plot and reliance on sci-fi “in-jokes” for humor.
    Thank god the Rock has gone back to doing hard action films for a while.

  1. June 30, 2011 at 1:33 am

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