Race to Witch Mountain
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, AnnaSophia Robb
Direction: Andy Fickman
The week’s other release is also a remake, in this case of a family favourite made back in 1975. Unfortunately, Race to Witch Mountain just doesn’t have the quaint charm oozed by the original Disney sci-fi adventure. It’s bogged down by banality and the leaden direction by Fickman (The Game Plan). Also, there’s a touch of déjà vu about the effort which recalls such fantasies as E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
In place of the avuncular Eddie Albert from the first film, we have Dwayne The Rock Johnson portraying a disgruntled Las Vegas taxi driver who must chauffeur two children from another planet. The former football player and wrestling champion at least enjoys himself enormously in the role.
The two young passengers (Robb-Alexander Ludwig) are alien siblings who are stranded on earth when their spacecraft crash-lands in the Nevada desert. Besides a Terminator-like assassin, the children are also pursued by a gung-ho federal agent (Ciaran Hinds, suitably sinister) and his team of acolytes.
Fortuitously, an astrophysicist (Carla Gugino, perky as ever) fetches up to help the cabbie and his intergalactic charges cope with calamities galore.
Since this is a Disney production, the accent is on the cute and the cloying, never mind the occasional outbursts of action. Obviously, the aim is to hook pre-teen audiences with a light-hearted escapade and in that Race to Witch Mountain is right on target.