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DVD Review: Race to Witch Mountain

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Race to Witch Mountain is the third film to be based on the 1968 novel Escape to Witch Mountain by Alexander Key. Nick Bruno (Dwayne Johnson) is a Las Vegas cab driver who has a somewhat shady past. He gets into his cab one day to find a pair of children, Sara (Anna Sophia Robb) and Seth (Alexander Ludwig), sitting in the back seat of his cab. They tell him they need him to take them to a place and are willing to pay $15,000 for him to do so. Nick is suspicious but his desire for a 1968 Camaro overrides his suspicions. What the kids don’t tell him is that they are aliens whose ship crashed and that they are being chased by the government which wants them for experiments.

The reason the children are here is because their planet is dying and their government wants to invade the Earth so their race can live here. However their parents are researchers who performed experiments that will enable them to save their planet without having to invade Earth. A device was sent to Earth which contains the results of those experiments and Sara and Seth were sent to retrieve it. Since their government doesn’t want to listen and would prefer to invade, they sent an assassin called a Siphon to stop them.

So now Nick, along with Dr. Alex Friedman (Carla Gugino), a discredited astrophysicist who believes in UFOs (who gets swept up in the story), must help Seth and Sara evade the Siphon and the government agents, as well as retrieve the device and escape Earth so they and our planet will survive.

The movie is a fun roller-coaster of a ride. Johnson has transitioned from wrestler to action star and now has transitioned once again from action star to Disney film star, and he is a lot of fun to watch. Anna Sophia Robb and Alexander Ludwig are believable as strange visitors from another world; while Carla Gugino is credible as an astrophysicist and seems to be partially channeling her character from the short-lived Threshold series. That series was about aliens and was partially why director Andy Fickman cast her. Race to Witch Mountain also pays homage to its roots — look for cameos by Iake Eissinmann and Kim Richards who were the stars of the two Mountain movies in the 1970s.

If you watched the scenes during the closing credits, there’s a scene that indicates the kids are coming back, which could set up a possible sequel.

There’s not too much in the way of extras. You get a gag reel of the standard flubs and goof-ups as well as a deleted scenes section, which has both deleted and extended scenes. Each of the scenes have an introduction from director Andy Fickman, who explains why they were cut or trimmed. While the extended scenes are interesting, the deleted scenes don't add much and one can understand why they were cut. However there’s no commentary, no behind the scenes, making of featurette or interview with the cast! Since Fickman was available for the deleted scenes and does give some insight into the process behind making the film, couldn’t they have gotten him to do commentary?

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