Rated PG for sequences of action and violence, frightening and dangerous situations, and some thematic elements.
Race to Witch Mountain was somewhat disappointing, which was a surprise because Disney can usually throw together decent films.
Jack Bruno is a Las Vegas taxi driver who has seen it all. Or so he thinks. When Seth and Sara end up in the back of his cab, they take him on a ride he'll never forget. Seth and Sara, as it turns out, are aliens from a planet a few thousand light years away. They've come to Earth to retrieve a science experiment started by their parents. If they can get the results of this experiment back to their planet, they can not only save their home world, but save the Earth from an invasion. However, they have an intergalactic bounty hunter on their tale, along with members of the U.S. military. With Jack helping them, they must find their crashed spaceship and get home, before the invasion can begin.
I've never seen the original upon which Race to Witch Mountain was based. Yes, I know, it's a classic, you really should see it. Some day. Anyway, I can't compare the two, but all I can say is that I was expected a lot more from this version. First off, I'm a Disney fan, and even though I prefer their animated film, their live-action movies are usually decent. They're bright and colorful and have characters that you like and cheer for. They're usually simple with a happy message, and the good guys always prevail. Second, I'm a fan of The Rock - sorry, I mean Dwyane Johnson. Screw it, he'll always be The Rock to me. He's got charisma coming out of his ears and while he's not the greatest actor in the world, he's still fun to watch. So it was surprising to me that about halfway through the film, I started to tune it out. Even though it's not very long at under 100 minutes, it felt like it was dragging on. And after watching some of the extras, I think I might have found out why (more on that later). The Rock was his usual self - full of energy and trying his hardest to act, but not always getting there. But I think it was Seth and Sara as characters that I never connected with. Usually Disney kids are sweet and you can't help but like them. But as these were two kids who were aliens, they were very cold and it was only at the end that they really showed any emotion. Of course I wanted them to succeed against the evil that was after them, but I never really felt anything for them. And they had these really cool abilities that didn't get used nearly as much as they should have been. You'd think being able to read people's minds would have come in handy for a little more than moving a romance forward.
The special effects in the film were decent enough. And the film was bright and colorful and looked great on screen. The supporting cast wasn't anything special, with the characters all coming off rather stiff and uninteresting. The guy who played the government agent was your typical 'shoot first, ask questions later' kind of guy, but I couldn't even muster up enough energy to hate him. He was just so standard a character that once again, I didn't really care one way or another. There was a secondary story line dealing with Jack driving for a mob boss that has ZERO to do with the film, other than to set him up as being a great driver. Was that really necessary? You could have cut that out of the movie completely and it wouldn't have changed a thing. I also never felt a real sense of urgency. There was one scene where the kids said they needed to get this done in a week, but none of the characters seemed like they needed to move very fast. And lastly, there was the alien bounty hunter who was chasing them, who could have been a great villain, but instead he was shown in the shadows once or twice, but never played a big role. After this initial attack, we barely saw him again.
The Blu-ray/DVD Combo as you might imagine, comes with a Blu-ray, a DVD and a digital copy of the film. I don't have a Blu-ray player so I can't comment on those extras. The DVD comes with your standard extras including deleted scenes with an intro to each by the director. And here's where I wonder if Disney went wrong. When the director would explain why a scene was deleted, once I was done watching, I couldn't figure out what he was talking about. He would say, we took this scene out because we felt it was too comedic for the moment. And then after a 10 second scene I'd think, no, it would have fit perfectly into the scene. I disagreed with him about every deleted scene, which made me wonder if he had the right vision for the film.
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall, I was a little disappointed with Race to Witch Mountain. I wasn't expecting a masterpiece but I was hoping for a lighthearted film with likeable characters and a decent story. Instead I got a so-so film that had potential but was ultimately missing a heart.