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DVD Review: Escape To Witch Mountain (1975)

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The original 1975 Walt Disney classic Escape To Witch Mountain is, unfortunately, dated, and it doesn’t fully provide the magic it would have needed to make it more than just another run-of-the-mill Disney affair. It is occasionally fun and diverting, but otherwise mundane, and the special effects are of decidedly inferior quality even for its time. In addition to the cheap imagery, the high-flying finale lacks of visual marvel. It starts off on level ground and never takes off, thanks partly to cast members Kim Richards and Ike Eisenmann, who give a vibe much too creepy for a family film.

Escape To Witch Mountain definitely has some of the qualities of a classic, but they're basic and fundamental rather than qualities of style and interest.  Nevertheless, though the film looks inexpensive, and most of its cast is inadequate at line-reading, Escape To Witch Mountain does have the ability to keep viewers mostly amused through its 97-minute running time.

John Hough, director of the 1974 cult classic Dirty Mary Crazy Larry, here switches his apparatus to much less action with nearly no authenticity. Rent it for its curiously large quantity of cheesy moments that tickle, and some enjoyable quotes. It’s pleasant enough to warrant a one-time viewing, especially if you grew up in the 70s. But from the perspective of 30 years later, Escape To Witch Mountain is lacking in emotional sonority.

This new special edition DVD has some of the most detailed special features of any Disney DVD. For Disney enthusiasts and those fond of the film, the special features may be a nostalgic and even overwhelmingly enjoyable experience.

The special features include "Making The Escape," which mostly explores the special effects and features interviews with the cast about the making of the film; "Conversations with Director John Hough"; "Disney Sci-Fi,'' a montage of some of Disney's best Sci-Fi films; an animated short from 1940 entitled Pluto's Dream House; a "1975 Disney Studio Album" that highlights Disney's greatest pictures from that year; and "Disney Effects – Something Special," which explores the importance of matte painting in the Disney Studio.  The release also includes "Pop-Up Fun Facts" and "Audio Commentary."

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