race to witch mountainDisney
2009
PG

“Don’t go in the pimped out fridge, Jack…”

Back when I was a wee lad growing up , my burgeoning love of science fiction and horror was fostered by, among other things, Disney movies. Classics like The Cat From Outer Space and The Black Hole occupy my nostalgia banks, as does the movies Escape To Witch Mountain and its sequel, Return To Witch Mountain. I was somewhat enamored with the Witch Mountain movies, mostly because it featured kids around my age at the time, who had powers and the guy who played Uncle Jesse on the Dukes Of Hazzard as their uncle. It’s been decades since I’ve watched either one of those, but I’ve always thought these would be prime for either a reboot, or at least a revival movie.

Well, here we are, in the 21st Century, and we now have, if not a reboot of the Witch Mountain movies, then definitely a continuation of the mythos kind of sort-of sequel, Race To Witch Mountain*. Released in 2009, and staring everyone’s favorite wrestler-turned-movie star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as our human protagonist, proving he’s not only a natural action star, but a Disney family oriented action star as well. Like Arnold Schwarzenegger, only with better teeth and diction.

Jack Bruno, a Las Vegas cabdriver struggling to stay on the right path, gets an out-of-this-world incentive when two aliens, disguised as teenagers, suddenly appear in his taxi. In a race against government agents, an alien hunter and time itself, Jack must help the children recover their lost spaceship so they can return home and save their planet and ours.

If we’re going to be completely honest with ourselves here, we have to admit that the original Witch Mountain movies weren’t what you would call amazing genre-bending blockbusters. I’ll be the first to admit that they were rather low-budget and cheesy. Comparatively, Race To Witch Mountain is a fine addition to those two movies. I consider it a requel–a movie that’s kind of a sequel, but also works as a reboot–as it’s a different story, and the two original actors portraying the kids in the first couple of movies have cameos here helping the kids out, using their original names from the films. Of course, that’s just me being a fanboy nerd, here. The kids were a bit on the obnoxious side, but for the most part, I rather enjoyed Race To Witch Mountain for what it was, that being a family friendly sci-fi adventure. Of course, Dwayne Johnson is very good at what he does here, playing the set-upon taxi driver who finds himself babysitting a couple of alien kids.

Overall, I found Race To Witch Mountain just as good as the original movies. The best thing to do is to set aside the nostalgia glasses, and enjoy this as it was intended to be, a sci-fi family romp.

[* = and before you start getting pedantic; yes, I am aware of the TV movie remake from 1995; I’m just not counting that one]

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