Race to Witch Mountain (PG)
Time Out rating:
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Time Out says
Tue Apr 7 2009A fairly clunky relic of Disney’s spluttering ’70s live-action output, 1975’s ‘Escape to Witch Mountain’ had the smart idea of putting two kids with telekinetic powers at the centre of a pursuit thriller. Effects technology may have progressed, but the idea of teen protagonists who can do cool stuff hardly dates for family audiences, hence this retooled version. Modernisation also brings a starring role for Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, as a Las Vegas cabbie who picks up an unusual fare – two peroxide-blonde youngsters (Alexander Ludwig, Anna Sophia Robb) with a penchant for circumlocutory English, a wad of cash and the power to move objects at will. Turns out they’re extraterrestrials, whose mission to save their planet could have ramifications for our own survival, especially if they’re collared by shady government agents tracking them in a fleet of black SUVs.
Leading man Johnson manages to exude brawn while keeping within the bounds of the PG rating, but though amiable, his acting limitations are exposed by a plot requiring him to express wonderment at the interplanetary shenanigans. There’s no shortage of zingy (if derivative) material, but the filmmakers seem content with anodyne chase sequences and tired action moves, which register little impact. It’s pacy all right, but glib and uninvolving for grown-ups, though perhaps furnished with enough in the way of spaceships, lasers and digital explosions to pacify undemanding little ’uns of an afternoon.
Author: Trevor Johnston
Fri Apr 10, 2009