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Friday, March 13 12:00 AM ET

Trailer Review: Race to Witch Mountain

By Brian Briggs

Race to Witch MountainThis year tests geek's faith in Holloywood as classic geek stories are brought to the big screen. First, it was Watchmen.  Would it be faithful to the classic graphic novel?  We have our answer.  Another geek classic, Star Trek, renews itself.  Will it completely destroy the entirety of the Trek canon?  But another classic franchise raises even more questions: Witch Mountain.

In 1975 Escape to Witch Mountain captures the hearts of geeks everywhere.  The 1978 sequel Return from Witch Mountain surpassed even our wildest expectations.  In 1982 the TV movie, Beyond Witch Mountain expanded the franchise like Return of the Jedi could only dream about.  But that wasn't all.  Just when we thought we'd escaped, they kept pulling us back in, with 1995's Escape from Witch Mountain.

Fourteen years have passed, and like Halley's Comet, or a multinational corporation bereft of ideas and forced to revisit successes of year's past, Disney is releasing Race to Witch Mountain.

I know you're shuddering at the thought of revisiting this masterpiece of cinema.  Why is Disney bothering to touch such a classic? Will they really show Dr. Manhattan's private parts?  Wait, wrong movie, to the trailer!

Laptop like You

"I'll give you my MacBook if you
show me some skin."

It opens with a military monitoring station watching a UFO heading toward Earth.  The UFO crashes with a giant explosion.  If we're to believe the CGI recreation of the explosion, it's the size of the entire southwestern United States.  I'm no physicist, but I have a feeling that an explosion of that magnitude might have some global implications.  Of course, I probably know more about physics than the creators of this film.

A low-budget voice over guy tells us that "there's a place where unexplained phenomenon occur. It is known as Witch Mountain."

The scene is set, Las Vegas.  The Rock is driving two kids in a cab.  These kids are strange.  They talk in a monotone voice, and use a GPS to navigate, almost like the Rock, except he doesn't use a GPS.

Another questions rears its ugly head; how responsible is it of a cab driver to take two kids on a ride into the desert? Just saying.

The girl speaks in very formal English, telling him the "vehicles behind them are indicating a pattern of pursuit." Strange, almost alien formulation of sentences.

The Rock is just going to let the black SUVs pass, but they ram the car.  The boy in the back is sick of the Rock so he starts controlling the car with telekinesis.  He then Neos out of the car and stops the pursuing vehicles by just standing in front of them.  The car flips end over end like it hit an immovable object. 

Not Funny
Not Funny

Now, you wonder why kids with powers like this would need help from anyone.  They can control things with their minds.  They're impervious to danger.  Why do they need to enlist the help of a human?

The young girl tells The Rock that they aren't from Earth.  He says they don't look like aliens, and does a shtick that only kids with their underdeveloped senses of humor and fans of wrestling would find funny.  It's not funny. 

Carla Gugino plays some sort of authority figure, who doesn't believe the kids are aliens searching for their lost ship.  All it takes is one of them levitating a PowerBook and she's convinced.   I'm waiting for the unrated director's cut of this movie where Gugino gets naked and gets it on with the Rock! 

Now the danger is set up.  If they don't get to their ship in Witch Mountain in time, the invasion will begin.  Enter Predator Fett, the alien bounty hunter that has come to hunt the kids down.

Next, we get the action montage.  It's not particularly exciting.

And finally we get a scene of the kids flying the ship out of Witch Mountain.  What the hell?  They show us the conclusion of the movie?  Isn't it the whole point of the movie for the kids to get to the ship?  Can we leave anything unrevealed in this one? 

Reviewinator

Trailer Quicktime
Starring

Dwayne Johnson
Carla Gugino

Director Andy Fickman
Official Site Link
US Opening

March 13, 2009

Rated PG
Genre Nostalgic Remake
Explosions 7
Weapons Alien kid, pulse rifle, dog, assault rifle, fist, instrument table, space ship
Man Quotient

6

Trailer
Déjà Vu
Escape to Witch Mountain
Geek Factor 15%
See Trailer? No
See Movie? No
Follow Up Unlikely

I guess it's better this way,as no one needs to see the movie, they can just watch the trailer and be done with it.

Wacky Fun Fact: The original kids, Ike Eisenmann and Kim Richards, from the 70s version of the film make appearances in this one.

Ending prognostication: No surprises in this one, the kids escape and The Rock and Gugino get together.  Don't forget the sequel though, Revenge of Witch Mountain and  Cash Cow on Witch Mountain.

Conclusion on Trailer:  The Rock's attempts at comedy were painful to watch.  A couple scenes left me scratching my head in wonder.  It's not worth the download.

Conclusion on Movie: Kids may want to see this one, but it will be predictable and boring for adults.  Don't let nostalgia or the kids drag you to see this one.  Save some money and rent the original instead.

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