Sunday, August 30, 2009

Race to Witch Mountain (2009) 5.50/10


Cab Driver Jack Bruno (Dwayne Johnson) finds himself thrust into the middle of an intergalactic conflict when two teens (AnnaSophia Robb, Alexander Ludwig) hop into his cab one morning. Now he must team up with discredited scientist, Alex Friedman (Carla Gugino) in order to return these kids to their spaceship before all of earth is destroyed, or the government gets its hands on them... whichever one comes first.

I'll be honest and say up front, we all know this movie isn't written with a 22 year old film geek in mind, so we can get that out of the way. This 2009 reboot to the classic Escape to Witch Mountain cramps down all character development, in favor of modern day blow it up and move on style. This provides a solid entertainment base, but to be honest, if you're over 13, mentally or otherwise, you'll spend most of the film with a pale "ugh" expression watching.

That's not too bad though, recent films made for 5x the budget have failed to inspire even that much appreciation. The real plus RWM has going for it, lies in its casting. Now it may be my over bearing love for all things Carla Gugino, but I just enjoyed the casting for this film. Teen up and comers Robb and Ludwig fit perfectly into the role of overly blonde alien kids, with an over developed sense of literal speak (where's Dr. Brennan when you need her?). The Rock plays his usual likable tough guy with a dark past, and Gugino is, of course, the brains of the operation.

The supporting cast is filled with character actors, who go exactly into their basic roles. Sadly for the audience though, the "villians" are as bland and generic as they come. The over the top evil government operative (Ciaran Hinds), and the futuristic assassin who lets nothing get in his way from killing his target. These characters work because they are so generic, and the film follows the play by play format for them to be really evil and grrr and all that usual stuff. To be honest I prefer a little bit, just a little, of depth to my villains, maybe a reason why they are the way they are... oh well.

As for directing, it's by the numbers, pure entertainment, and I wouldn't expect much else from a kids film. Which is what this boils down to. An entertaining, fun, but ultimately forgettable action film, that'll do little more than mesmerize kids for 1 and a half hours without ever grabbing at their core.

In the end, it's a kids film, it does what kids films do, and that's really all I can say about it. I just wish someone would take the time to make kids films that inspire them to create, and seek out knowledge, rather than mindlessly entertain them with explosions.

1 better thoughts:

thistimeitwillbedifferent said...

Try Lemony Snickett and (to a lesser extent) The Spiderwick Chronicles for more inspiring Kids films, I thought both were excellent. I've got RTWM coming for the weekend.

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