Race To Witch Mountain Blu-Ray Review

Cover Art and Menus: 4/10
Too plastic, too fake, that’s what I don’t like about the cover. I know it’s embossed and all that, but it’s still not appealing to me at all. Boring to say the least. It’s fitting for a Disney action movie, but I am not a fan. The menu is pretty cool, in contrast to the cover. It’s like a high tech desktop with flashing stuff and digital looking things. I say they put together as bare bones a package as they could without treading on any kind of unique or original ideas.

Features: 4/10

  • Witch Mountain? Discover Hidden References To The Original Movie – The director points out the handful of references to the original Witch Mountain movies and a few other tid bits of fun information about why they stuck several people, names, and objects in to pay homage to a variety of Disney classics.
  • Deleted Scenes – There’s not much to say about these scenes. So I won’t bother.
  • Bloopers –Hmm I have less to say about these bloopers than the ever popular deleted scenes.
  • DVD Version –Good to have if you have kids with a DVD player in their room
  • Disney Digital Copy –Good to have if you have, um, an iPod or laptop.

The Movie: 6/10
In the podcast this week Ascully and I talked about how Race to Witch Mountain is one of those movies that we grown ups just have to turn off our critical brain waves for and enjoy. It’s a family friendly adventure, which might sound really wishy washy, but it’s really not. Some family friendly flicks are boring and insultingly patronizing, this one doesn’t go that direction. It’s more like plain old fashioned fun and I liked it.

I can live without the glossy perfect teeth of Dwayne Johnson and some of his pat one liners and acting school 101 reactions occasionally, but other than that I dig him. He’s not obnoxious or overly heroic. He fits the bill of the down and outish kind of taxi driver who would just happen to have a shady past and big muscles who comes across two teenage aliens trying to save their planet. It’s pretty standard stuff for an ex-wrestler. Ugh, I hate wrestling. I always want to hate this guy, but I just can’t. He’s good enough for me, good enough for these kinds of movies, and suppose that could lead to bigger and better things, but why? He’s comfortable with this hammy Disney grown man who tangles with moral choices and setting a good example for the kids.

Unlike Johnson I didn’t fully enjoy Carla Gugino. I’m always torn about her. In Sin City she was awesome. In the Spy Kids movies she was functional as the mom, not much more than that for me, sorry to say. I get a certain awkward feeling from many moments and then realized she has been on a lot of TV, and while that’s cool with me, it’s that kind of saucy melodramatic acting that she does and it never quite fits the movie, except Sin City 🙂 I mean, I like her, but it’s a kind of shallow like. I don’t think she pulled off the scientist role very well.

The kids are very good. I was convinced that they were aliens, mostly. Again, some borderline acting school moments, but they are young and playing aliens in the middle of a wild adventure, so some slack is due.

I like the story of Witch Mountain. It’s got a good heart and not too much of a lecture like a lot of other hokey Disney movies can be. Heck, even Knowing with Nick Cage a few weeks ago was waaay waaaay over the top with the preaching about the environment. I do with less of that and more story telling.

The special effects are pretty good, but sometimes fall to a semi-crappy level. Which is a shame since it’s a friggin’ DISNEY movie! There are lots of nods to the previous Witch Mountain movies, so fans will have a good time with that. The original actors who played the brother and sister in the older films make token appearances. I like that. It does a lot to celebrate the legacy of the franchise, but then again, it might be that the director was focused on that more than on other things like the performances and special effects.

Overall I had a good time with Race to Witch Mountain. It looked good, sounded good, and really did give me a chance to exercise that feeling of being taken along for a ride in a big adventure.

Audio & Video: 9/10 (By Ascully)
Disney have really got Blu-Ray mastered, even a less well known title such as Race To Witch Mountain is given the 5 star treatment. This is quite a colorful movie with it’s fair share of dark and gloomy moments. bAll are pulled off perfectly using a high bitrate and an amazing 1080P VC1 wide screen transfer. There are a couple of moments where edge enhancment and black crush come into play, but they are really brief moments and you will hardly notice.

The DTS HD Master Audio track really delivers. There is a scene where our heroes are traveling in a taxi down a dark road in the dessert, a rumbling sound can be heard in the distance behind you which grows in intensity as the pursuer gets closer. It’s real standout stuff and will really blow away the younger listeners who are the intended audience for this type of movie.

Overall I was not expecting much from this movie, but the presentation on Blu-Ray elevated the fairly bland movie (the 10 year old version of me inside loved it) to a greater level. Whatever you think of Dwayne Johnson he’s got charm and that’s hard to not like. Recommended for the youngsters in your family.

Value: /10
If you have kids you will probably buy this movie, so it doesn’t matter what it costs. You can get it for around 25 bucks, which I say is too much for a family movie. I say sell movies like this to people for $10 and be the hero for once!

Overall Score 6/10