2019-11-12 13:04 KST  
  RSS
Global Voices Online - The world is talking. Are you listening?
JapanFocus
Join the 'Race to Witch Mountain'
Dwayne Johnson helps out a new set of aliens
Brian Orndorf (briano)     Print Article 
Published 2009-03-13 11:45 (KST)   
©2009 Walt Disney Studios
This is not Disney's first encounter with Witch Mountain, and it most certainly won't be their last. However, it's their loudest contribution to date. A reimagining of the 1975 motion picture and the 1968 Alexander Key novel, "Race to Witch Mountain" does away with all that pesky character development stuff to put the pedal to the metal and offer family audiences an adventure packed with stunts, gunfire, and one-liners. It's definitely a vibrant diversion, and kids will undoubtedly be glued to the screen, but the high tech, fist-happy approach leaves much to be desired.

Crash landing on Earth, alien siblings Sara (AnnaSophia Robb) and Seth (Alexander Ludwig) are desperate to retrieve a device their planet needs to survive. To reach their ultimate destination of Witch Mountain, the pair enlists the help of Las Vegas cab driver Jack Bruno (Dwayne Johnson), who's trying to avoid any trouble that would land him back in prison. With Department of Defense goons (led blandly by Ciaran Hinds) and an interstellar bounty hunter nipping at their heels, Jack becomes protective of his extraterrestrial charges and fights for their safety, eventually seeking assistance from discredited astrophysicist Dr. Alex Friedman (Carla Gugino, fighting an awful wig) to help him return the teens home safely.

  TODAY'S TOP STORIES
OMNI's New Approach to Citizen Journalism
[Opinion] Democracy's Downfall
Technology Can Save Money, Planet
[Opinion] Iran Defends Peaceful 'Right'
Couchsurfing in Gaza
  FROM THE SECTION
Blissfully Yours
An Education
[Opinion Essay] J셙ccuse!
The Blind Side
Last Train Home
"Race to Witch Mountain" has little in common with its even-tempered, low-budget forefathers. The new film is made with the Playstation generation in mind, as director Andy Fickman ("The Game Plan") lays down colorful lights and CG tweaks to lavishly ornament the world before he promptly destroys it all. "Race" is an action film at its core, valuing the beauty of mayhem over the anchor of character composition. The plot is spelled out in minimal detail, only there to provide a motive for the stunts, while the rest of the picture is in a constant state of alert, ready to take the audience on a wild ride as Sara and Seth battle their way back to their spaceship.

The newfound pacing is certainly not a bad thing, giving the material a needed kick in the pants when the script stops needlessly to smell the plastic flowers. Fickman masterminds a thrill ride atmosphere for "Race" that keeps the film free from overt boredom, preferring the characters endure constant movement on freeways, casino floors, and around the titular mountain to lure the viewer in. This vigor sacrifices any emotional content, and the absence of heart reverberates throughout the movie.

Unfortunately, most of the holes set aside for sentiment are replaced by comedy, with Johnson the vessel for scripted and unscripted spit-takes that lack spice; he is consistently dropping the ball with his feeble reactions to mass hysteria. "Race" is more a film you want to laugh with than actually do, cruelly leaving wide open spaces for the cast to land a gut-buster or two, only to see everyone fumble their shot. With spirited performances all around, it's not for lack of trying. It's just impossible to believe that with this much effort on display, not a single punchline scores.

While the shootouts and sprinting manage to entertain in a decidedly PG fashion, Fickman's little touches stuffed into the corners of the frame lend "Race" the personality it dearly needs. Most notably, cameos by the original "Witch Mountain" kids, Kim Richards and Ike Eisenmann, help to liven up the proceedings with a little retro magic. And an appearance by author/alien abduction survivor Whitley Strieber gooses the space invader goofiness of the premise. However, the one appearance that completely blindsided me was Meredith Salenger, who pops up for a few seconds as "Natalie Gann," a television reporter. Now there's a lovely sentimental moment.

Granted, "Race to Witch Mountain" can become a little numbing at times, particularly during any extended staging of fisticuffs. Perhaps it should come as little surprise that the director of "The Game Plan" and "She's the Man" doesn't have much skill staging fight choreography. The movie is best appreciated as a flashy chase film of continuous peril. It's hardly a suitable replacement for the earlier installments, yet it doesn't exactly embarrass the franchise either.

B-

Related Articles
Keira Knightley Meets 'The Edge of Love'
Run Screaming From 'Miss March'
Julia Roberts Handles 'Duplicity'
Comedy 'I Love You, Man' Hugs Warmly
Nicolas Cage Is 'Knowing'
'The Haunting in Connecticut'
Witness the 'Monsters vs. Aliens'
John Cena Loses All '12 Rounds'
Rev the Engines for 'Fast & Furious'
A Retro Trip to ' Adventureland '




©2009 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Brian Orndorf

Add to :  Add to Del.icio.usDel.icio.us |  Add to Digg this Digg  |  Add to reddit reddit |  Add to Y! MyWeb Y! MyWeb

Ronda Hauben
 
Netizens Question Cause of Cheonan Tragedy
Michael Werbowski
 
[Opinion] Democracy's Downfall
Michael Solis
 
Arizona's Immigration Bill and Korea
Yehonathan Tommer
 
Assassination in Dubai
[ESL/EFL Podcast] Saying No
Seventeenth in a series of English language lessons from Jennifer Lebedev...
  [ESL/EFL] Talking About Change
  [ESL/ EFL Podcast] Personal Finances
  [ESL/EFL] Buying and Selling
How worried are you about the H1N1 influenza virus?
  Very worried
  Somewhat worried
  Not yet
  Not at all
    * Vote to see the result.   
KOREA WORLD SCI&TECH ART&LIFE ENTERTAINMENT SPORTS GLOBAL WATCH INTERVIEWS PODCASTS
  copyright 1999 - 2019 ohmynews all rights reserved. internews@ohmynews.com Tel:+82-2-733-5505,5595(ext.125) Fax:+82-2-733-5011,5077