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  Publicity Stills of
"Race to Witch Mountain"
(Courtesy of BVI)

Genre: Sci-Fi/Action
Director: Andy Fickman
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, AnnaSophia Robb, Carla Gugino, Ciaran Hinds, Alexander Ludwig, Tom Everett Scott, Christopher Marquette, Cheech Marin, Garry Marshall
RunTime: 1 hr 39 mins
Released By: BVI
Rating: PG
Official Website: http://witchmountain.com.sg

Opening Day: 13 March 2009


For years, stories have circulated about a secret place in the middle of the Nevada desert, known for unexplained phenomena and strange sightings. It is called Witch Mountain, and when a Las Vegas cab driver (Dwayne Johnson) finds two teens with supernatural powers in his cab, he suddenly finds himself in the middle of an adventure he can't explain. When they discover that the only chance to save the world lies in unraveling the secrets of Witch Mountain, the race begins, as the government, mobsters and even extraterrestrials try to stop them. "Race to Witch Mountain" is a fun and thrilling adventure featuring incredible special effects.

Movie Review:

Disney reboots their hit Witch Mountain franchise of the 70’s - based on the 1968 science fiction book by Alexander Key - with this latest imagining. And what a lively adventure it is, packed with thrills, loaded with suspense, and sprinkled with laughs that I guarantee will have you at the edge of your seat.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson stars as Las Vegas cab driver Jack Bruno who picks up two unusual passengers one fine morning. The teen siblings Sara (AnnaSophia Robb) and Seth (Alexander Ludwig) are in fact extraterrestrials and they need Bruno’s help to save their planet as well as ours from annihilation. Unlike its predecessor where the children only realized their origins and purpose later on, this latest remake wastes no time in setting up its plot.

And from here on end, it’s one chase after another from Las Vegas to the Nevada desert as Jack and the kids have to evade not just government agents - led by a certain Henry Burke (Ciaran Hinds in a gleefully menacing role) - who want the children for their secret experiments, but also an intergalactic assassin known as a Siphon sent to kill them. Yes, there’s good reason why this movie is titled “Race to Witch Mountain” - the Mountain the place where the children’s spaceship is held.

Lest you think that chase after chase simply fades into a blur, let me assure you that it’s not. Thanks to some truly inspired location choices around the Strip and the desert, director Andy Fickman makes sure that each sequence is distinct from the other, and in every way just as exciting. Indeed, he deserves much praise for the excellent pacing of the film that never lets up.

But what really separates this movie from any standard-issue Jerry Bruckheimer action flick is Fickman’s tongue-in-cheek sensibilities. First, he plays with mankind’s romanticism of life from outer space when just miles away from where the children/aliens landed are enthusiasts at a UFO convention dressed in all sorts of outlandish costumes. Then he also toys with our naive assumptions of what aliens should look like - Bruno himself the skeptic at first who thinks aliens are little green people with things sticking out of their heads.

Certainly, Fickman has brought to this remake his fine Zeitgeist touches of contemporary man’s responses to something that we both do not know and do not understand. And thanks to Matt Lopez and Mark Bomback’s script, this has found its way into the many generous moments of good-natured humour in this movie that makes the journey more than just a wham-bang spectacle.

Just as deserving of praise is Dwayne Johnson’s absolutely engaging performance. Beginning with his hilarious turn in Be Cool, through movies such as The Game Plan and Get Smart, Johnson has shown that he is just as competent at comedy as he is at action. And reuniting here with his The Game Plan director, he displays great comic timing, in addition to an easy-going charm, that no doubt cements his leading-man status. Holding their own are his two bright young co-stars, AnnaSophia Robb and Alexander Ludwig – AnnaSophia Robb especially bringing a heartfelt gentleness to the role of telepathic Sara.

If remakes are often chided for being unnecessary, then “Race to Witch Mountain” is one rare exception that I dare say trumps the original. It is also a rarity in how it so effortlessly and efficiently blends action, comedy and fantasy into a thoroughly pleasing PG action-adventure. Without a doubt, this is superior family entertainment the best Disney way possible.

Movie Rating:

(This adrenaline-pumping Race from start to finish is one absolutely enjoyable ride from beginning to end)

Review by Gabriel Chong


. Jumper (2008)

. The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising (2007)

. The Game Plan (2007)

. Enchanted (2007)

. Sky High (2005)

. The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl 3-D (2005)

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