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RACE TO WITCH MOUNTAIN

SYNOPSIS:
Las Vegas cab driver Jack Bruno (Dwayne Johnson) has been on the wrong side of the law and he is keen to stay straight. When he unexpectedly finds two teenagers in his cab wanting a ride, he suddenly finds himself in the middle of an adventure he cannot explain.
He soon discovers that Sara (AnnaSophia Robb) and her brother Seth (Alexander Ludwig) have strange powers and with the help of astrophysicist Dr Alex Friedman (Carla Gugino), find their way to Witch Mountain, where their spaceship, recently crashed in the Nevada desert, is being stored.

Review by Louise Keller:
A proficiently made sci-fi family adventure, this updated reimagining of Alexander Key's book hits the spot for its target audience plus parents, for whom the charismatic presence of Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson counts for plenty. It may be predictable, but the story is nicely put together with touches of humour, action pieces and special effects to bring it into the 21st century. The film's success lies in the casting not only of The Rock, but also of AnnaSophia Robb (Bridge from Tarabithia) as the mind-reading Sara and her brother Seth (Alexander Ludwig; The Seeker) who can control his molecular density. Both youngsters have great screen appeal as they project vulnerability within their roles as aliens, whose spaceship crashes on earth during their mission to save their own world.

Things start in fine fashion when Johnson's Vegas cabbie Jack suddenly discovers two blonde teenagers clutching a large wad of money, are in the backseat of this cab. There's a sign on Jack's cab that reads 'Life comes at you fast', and that is precisely what happens as they are chased not only by Government officials but by an alien assassin who stops at nothing to terminate its target. The teens have a formal manner of speech which amuses and by the time Jack discovers they are not as innocent as they seem, we are engrossed in the adventure.

Kim Richards and Iake Eissinmann, who played the original alien children in the 1975 and 1978 movies make cameo appearances as heroic characters who help Sara and Seth keep one step ahead of their pursuers. There are some funny moments during the UFO space Expo at Planet Hollywood, when the fans can be excused for thinking that the extra terrestrial action is part of the show. This is a perfect family film that entertains, provides good escapist fun as well as delivering some nostalgia for fans of the book and the original movies.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

RACE TO WITCH MOUNTAIN (PG)
(US, 2009)

CAST: Dwayne Johnson, AnnaSophia Robb, Alexander Ludwig, Carla Gugino, Ciarán Hinds, Tom Everett Scott, Cheech Marin, Chris Marquette, Billy Brown, Garry Marshall, Kim Richards, Ike Eisenmann

PRODUCER: Andrew Gunn

DIRECTOR: Andy Fickman

SCRIPT: Matt Lopez, Mark Bomback (Book 'Escape to Witch Mountain' by Alexander Key)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Greg Gardiner

EDITOR: David Rennie

MUSIC: Trevor Rabin

PRODUCTION DESIGN: David J. Bomba

RUNNING TIME: 98 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Walt Disney Studios

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: April 9, 2009







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