Race to Witch Mountain (2009)

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Released 24-Aug-2009

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Family Main Menu Audio & Animation
Deleted Scenes
Outtakes
Rating ?
Year Of Production 2009
Running Time 94:21
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (73:02) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Andy Fickman
Studio
Distributor

Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
Starring Dwayne Johnson
Annasophia Robb
Alexander Ludwig
Carla Gugino
Ciarán Hinds
Tom Everett Scott
Chris Marquette
Billy Brown
Case ?
RPI ? Music Trevor Rabin


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Czech Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Russian Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Hungarian Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Ukranian Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Czech
Hungarian
Slovak
Russian
Ukranian
Latvian
Lithuanian
Estonian
Hebrew
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement Yes
Action In or After Credits Yes

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Back in the 1970s, Disney produced lots of live action movies for kids. Two of these were Escape to Witch Mountain (1975) and Return from Witch Mountain (1978). Now Disney have decided to resurrect the franchise with this new film, Race to Witch Mountain. Once again, the story involves two kids with strange powers appearing suddenly and needing the help of someone with transport.

    The film opens with a spaceship crash landing near Las Vegas which immediately grabs the interest of a government spook, Henry Burke (Ciaran Hinds) who sets off to control the situation and hopefully grab the occupants for research. Meanwhile, a taxi driver, Jack Bruno (Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson) is getting a hard time from his ex-employer's goons who want him to come back to work for the boss. When he leaves that altercation he finds that the back seat of his cab is occupied by two young blond teens who do not seem quite 'normal'. They ask him to take them out into the desert and provide a large wad of cash to pay for the trip. He becomes concerned that they are in trouble and need help, which they deny. It quickly becomes obvious to him that they are aliens with special powers. Sara (AnnaSophia Robb) is telepathic and can move things with her mind. Seth (Alexander Ludwig) can control his molecular density which allows him to go through obstacles or be unbreakable. Seth & Sara need to retrieve an experiment their parents started; avoid Henry Burke and an alien assassin sent to kill them and also retrieve their spaceship (which has been taken to the titular mountain) so they can return to save their planet. Obviously Jack, our hero, helps them out with the assistance of a scientist, Dr Alex Freedman (Carla Gugino). Cheech Marin appears in a small cameo.

    This is a decent family film with good doses of action and excitement within a PG framework. There are some nice effects and mild humour. On the negative side, the story is quite clichéd and the kids have very little in the way of character development so they start to feel like background rather than foreground characters. Interestingly many of the deleted scenes included on the disc give more flesh to the bones of their characters. Dwayne Johnson is his usual amiable self and the film is quite focused on his character. Carla Gugino and the kids really don't have a lot to do but certainly don't embarrass themselves.

    This is certainly not the worst family focused action film I have ever seen but really doesn't light my fire either. Worth a rent for your 8-15 year olds.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is very good but not quite excellent.

    The feature is presented in a 2.40:1 aspect ratio which is the original aspect ratio or very close to it.

    The picture was very sharp and clear. Shadow detail was also very good. There is some occasional minor MPEG artefacts such as at 62:00.

    The colour was excellent, vibrant and well saturated.

    There were no other obvious artefacts.

    There are subtitles English, English for the Hearing Impaired and nine other European languages.

    There is a layer change at 73:02 which causes a short pause.

   
    

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio quality is very good.

    This DVD contains six audio options, an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack encoded at 384 Kb/s, the same in Czech, Russian, Hungarian & Ukrainian plus an English Audio Descriptive Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack encoded at 192 Kb/s.

    Dialogue was easy to understand and clear throughout.

    The music by Trevor Rabin is suitable but not overly memorable.

    The surround speakers are used constantly especially during the action sequences for voices, explosions, music and lots of other stuff. Considering the limitations of a 384 Kb/s track this has a surprising amount of surround presence.

    The subwoofer was used regularly for explosions and car crashes.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    

Menu

    The menu features motion and introduction and scenes from the film. This disc also features Fast Play allowing for the film to play automatically after language selection.

Deleted Scenes (About 20 minutes in total)

    There are eight scenes here in total and there are introductions by the director, mostly explaining why they were cut. Some are extended version and there is also an alternate ending. As I mentioned above some of this stuff should have been retained in my opinion to flesh out the characters.

Bloopers (3:36)

    Better than most but that isn't saying much.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 1 release is essentially the same as our local release although we have different language and subtitle options. Draw.

Summary

    A fun but forgettable family action film.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is very good.

    The only extras are some deleted scenes and bloopers.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Review Equipment
DVDSony DVP-NS708H upscaling to 1080p, using HDMI output
DisplayLG Scarlet 42LG61YD 106cm Full HD LCD. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

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