DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

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Friday, April 10, 2009

Darkmatters Review - Race To Witch Mountain

Race to Witch Mountain (PG)

Dir. Andy Fickman - The Game Plan etc

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Buckle up for a hyperactive boost of alien chase action – Disney style…
Race to Witch Mountain is a pseudo remake / update of the 1970’s Escape to Witch Mountain, the new version is every bit as good and boy it looks great – with big expensive special effects running rampant. The budget people at The Mouse House have really gone for the ‘let’s hit the screen with everything we can’ formula. If you sign up for the trip to Witch Mountain you’ll get flashy flying saucers, an evil intergalactic assassin (not a million miles away from a Terminator) and two cool / cute kids with unearthly powers, oh and lots of pile-em-up car chases.

"The clockwork orange experiments - the junior years"

AnnaSophia ‘Bridge to Terabithia’ Robb and Alexander ‘The Dark Is Rising’ Ludwig are Sara and Seth, two alien youngsters who have crash-landed at Witch Mountain in the U.S. Seems that their own world is dying due to pollution (Hhmm – could there be a moral for us being not so subtly squeezed in here?). Now the chase is on for them to recover a vital piece of evidence which might be the key for them to save their own planet. But in true ET style the Government are keen to apprehend and experiment on our young alien visitors.

"Is Annasophia Robb the new Keira Knightley?"

Who can the little lost extraterrestrials turn to for help? Why – only Jack Bruno (Dwayne ‘once known as The Rock’ Johnson) a loveable rogue taxi driver and handily on the scene UFO boffin Alex Friedman (Carla ‘Watchmen’ Gugino).

The action takes place mostly back and forth between Las Vegas and the Nevada desert – the Government goons chase doggedly, some nasty gangsters try to get in on the action and the alien assassin / bounty-hunter blows up lots of stuff. Nothing makes a great deal of sense but as I said before – it sure does look good.
Unfortunately, director Andy’ The Game Plan’ Fickman manages to fumble the action scenes (of which there are lots due to the film being co-written by Mark Bomback of Die Hard 4.0 fame). That leaves little else to impress although the kids try their best and will both probably go on to better things.

"The US Government apparently wants to 'probe' this young alien - how wrong is that?"

I did find the wry section set at a Sci-fi convention appealed to my inner sci-fi nerd, there’s a great moment when two Star Wars Stormtroopers get into Bruno’s taxi, plus there’s the obligatory Disney dog cameo character that raised a smile but overall Race to Witch Mountain is a fun but forgettable family friendly action flick. And it even sets up a sequel… If you are a movie buff, enjoy graphic design or other aspects of visual communication, pursuing an online bachelor degree can prepare you for the rigors of a career in Hollywood, and maybe you can make movies less forgettable than this one!?

Arbitrary Darkmatters final rating of: öööööööö (8 -fun while it lasts but won't be remembered)
Darkmatters quick reference guide:

Action 8
Style 7
Babes 7
Comedy 7
Spiritual Enlightenment 5

Not convinced? check out this review of the film over at The Guardian - best line:

"At one stage, the aliens explain that they are able to cover vast tracts of outer-space by using wormholes as a shortcut. This made me long for my own personal wormhole, right through to the closing credits."

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