Cinema Mishmash

A personal and random look at movies, past and present

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Race to Witch Mountain

August 29th, 2009 · No Comments

racetowitchmountainAnyone of a certain age is sure to remember the Witch Mountain movies of the late 1970s, in which a pair of otherworldly kids with telepathic and telekinetic powers were constantly on the run from some threat of another. (Okay, I don’t remember the details, only that the girl Tia had a cool name and could make heavy objects fly across the room.) As is obligatory, both of the child actors from the original two films have cameos in this reimagining (as the Sheriff and a waitress in a scene clearly written to allow the two original child actors to have cameos). And while this film isn’t likely to win any awards, it is perfectly enjoyable and hits all the button you would want from a family-oriented sci-fi road movie thriller.

We’re past the point when we should marvel about “The Rock” (Dwayne Johnson) as an actor: he is perfectly fine. Does he have the subtlety of others in his guild: no. But for someone who used to just make being hit with a chair look believable, he’s come a long way. While it won’t win any awards for acting range, it is interesting to see the difference between the part he plays here as a guy in Vegas caught up in a supernatural phenomenon to that which he play’s in Richard Kelley’s Southland Tales, a film set slightly west which could fall under the same broad description.

The child actors here, AnnaSophia Robb and Alexander Ludwig, do an excellent job at making a film which could easily take itself too seriously steer clear of pretension. It is too bad that those involved tried so very hard to leave room for a sequel, because although this film justified the reincarnation of an idea from a previous generation, it doesn’t beg for us to anything more. There isn’t an E.T. sequel, for God’s sake, so why can’t the money behind these pictures just give up on the need to franchise. That reminds me: if you ask yourself: why is the Rock still driving the same beat up cab scene after scene even thought it would make sense to have just “borrowed” a different car? The answer is: product placement (regular cars don’t have the roof ads for certain insurance companies).

Tags: Action/Adventure · Capsule · Family · Sci-Fi/Fantasy

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