"Race to Witch Mountain" opened this past Friday, and all indications seem to point to a solid opening day.
I went on Saturday for a matinee with rather low expectations. The reviews have been mixed, which is not surprising for this kind of movie. I think I was more anticipating seeing a trailer for "Up", but disappointingly, there were none.
Now for the movie. First of all, parents, look at the rating for the movie. It isn't "G". While kids can certainly enjoy the movie, you might want to seriously consider bringing kids under 5 to see this one. There are scenes that could be a bit too intense for this age group, and a few were already crying barely a quarter into the movie. And if the precious young ones cannot sit still and not continue to kick the seats in front of them, then that's even more reason to not being them to a movie theater!
The storyline is simple. Two aliens looking like a couple of teenagers (how they assumed that look was never revealed, or if they have always looked that way) crash-landed on earth near Las Vegas (Vegas! Why does it have to be Vegas?!) trying to look for a device that contain some evidence their parents have gathered that can save their home planet. Again, they never explained (or I must have missed it) why the evidence are found in an old decrepit house in the middle of nowhere on the third planet from the sun, but I digress. So they have to find this evidence, and bring it back to their home planet before the military of their home planet decides that the better solution is to just simply invade earth, rather than save that home planet. The alien's military have sent this "thing" that is hunting the kids to stop them from bringing back the evidence.
But there's a problem. The US military is also tracking these kids and want to "study" them. They tracked the crashed space craft and have stashed it in an installation at Witch Mountain. So these kids are actively being pursued by two different "parties".
In came a Vegas cab driver play by The Rock. To make a long story short, he gave them a ride to find the secret place where the evidence that the kids were looking for, and then with the help of an astrophysicist, help them track their space craft at Witch Mountain. Along the way there's a lot of chase scenes, explosions, hot pursuits, firearms, a cuddly dog, humans dressed as aliens, UFO conventions, big bad government men, dark tinted SUV's, etc... etc. You get the idea. It is all quite predictable.
So is it worth seeing? Kinda. Again, if you have such low expectations, and you still want to go see it, then you won't be disappointed. It is what it is. The Rock was surprisingly adequate for the job, and you start to like him towards the end of the movie because there's a feeling that he's not taking himself that seriously. Still, I was hoping to be surprised by a Disney's live-action movie. It seems that lately, the animated movies out of Disney, both within their animation division and out of Pixar, have more heart and intelligence than the live-action movies. It seems like a reversal of fortune, that the animated movies are more geared towards adults and adults sensibility, while the live-action movies are getting to be dumbed down to appeal to appeal more to kids.