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Movie Renter's Guide - September, 2009

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"Race to Witch Mountain" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Chris Eberle

movie-september-2009-race-to-witch-mountainSynopsis

Race to Witch Mountain is a remake of the 1975 Disney classic Escape to Witch Mountain.  The story is basically the same.  Two extra-terrestrials in teenage form (Robb and Ludwig) enlist the unlikely aid of a Las Vegas cab driver (Johnson, aka The Rock) and a scientist (Gugino) to help them retrieve an experiment that will save their home planet from extinction.  Through a series of car chases and narrow escapes from an alien assassin they manage to complete their mission and return to their home world.  Along the way they must also avoid a cold-hearted government organization led by the diabolical Henry Burke (Hinds).

 

Specifications

  • Disney Pictures
  • 2009, Color, Rated PG, 1 Hr 39 mins
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • 1080p
  • Codec: AVC
  • English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Starring Dwayne Johnson, AnnaSophia Robb, Carla Gugino, Ciaran Hinds, Alexander Ludwig
  • Directed by Andy Fickman
    Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: No
  • Language: No

Commentary

Disney adventure movies have always been good clean fun for the whole family and Race to Witch Mountain is no exception.  There might be the occasional scene too intense for the youngest children though the violence is no more than the average video game.  The action sequences are pretty much non-stop and extremely well crafted.  I always enjoy a good car chase and this movie had several.  Dwayne Johnson plays his part with the usual barrage of quips and one-liners.  He is very enjoyable as are the two teens, AnnaSophia Robb and Alexander Ludwig.  They are quite believable as beings of advanced intelligence in human bodies.  Special effects are used quite liberally and are excellently done.  Production quality in general is very high.

Technical

Image quality is not quite up to par with the better Blu-ray releases.  While colors are well-saturated, there is a yellowish cast to most scenes which makes the image look a bit unnatural.  Contrast is very high with consistently deep black levels and fair shadow detail.  The picture was reasonably sharp but the inaccurate color was a disappointment.

The audio is among the best I have ever heard.  Your sub and surrounds will get a real workout!  The action sequences are loaded with deep bass effects and superb detail.  Surrounds are used appropriately and often.  Dialog was very clear and uniform with superb imaging.  The music is typical of Disney movies with a full orchestra and very lush scoring, very nice!  Despite the box labeling stating the sound track as DTS-HD it is in fact DTS-HD Master Audio.

Extras

The box includes a DVD copy of the film plus a digital copy which you can rip to your computer and/or portable device.  On-disc features include a featurette discussing references to the original film, deleted scenes and a blooper reel.