Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Race to Witch Mountain

A sequel of sorts to two Walt Disney films from the 1970s, Race to Witch Mountain (2009; dir. Andy Frickman) features The Rock, Dwayne Johnson, in his new child-friendly persona as an ex-con cab driver named Jack Bruno trying to go straight. Unfortunately, he picks up as his fares two children, brother and sister, from another planet. The girl can move objects through the air and her brother can alter the molecular density of his flesh so that he can poke his hand through doors. Both behave in an aloof and creepy manner. The plot thickens and coagulates with each moment of this film. Suffice it to say that the brother and sister are trying to get back to their spaceship, which has crash-landed and been secretly impounded by the U. S. Government. They come from a planet that is dying, and their species is planning to migrate en masse to the Earth and take up residence. The parents of the two space children have discovered a way to restore life to their home planet, thereby making invasion of the Earth unnecessary. For some reason the boy and girl have been entrusted with possession of the discovery, which they are supposed to carry back to the home planet. But there is also an evil robot assassin sent by enemies of their parents to kill the children and recover the discovery so that the aliens can take over the planet anyway. And much of the action takes place at a UFO convention in Las Vegas. In one scene The Rock and his female scientist sidekick gape in embarrassing and unconvincing awe at a flying saucer lifting off just past the edge of the screen. The boy and girl, who are repressed and uptight and who speak in stilted bureaucratic sentences, by the end of the film have warmed up. The girl tearfully bids The Rock goodbye and makes him promise to take care of the friendly dog they have picked up along the way as they fled the evil robot assassin and the irrepressible agents of the U. S Government. Driving his yellow taxi at top speed up and down isolated dirt roads (and through railroad tunnels) just outside Vegas, the Rock manages to stir up a lot of dust.

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