Race to Witch Mountain (2009)

Rated PG. Our ratings: V- 3; L- 1; S/N-1 . Running time: 1 hour 39 min.

Hear my voice, O God, in my complaint;
preserve my life from the dread enemy.
Hide me from the secret plots of the wicked,
from the scheming of evildoers,
Psalm 64:1-2

Our foursome arrive at their destination.

2009 Walt Disney

Were he a religious man ex-con cabdriver Jack Bruno (Dwayne Johnson) might well have uttered the psalmist’s prayer in this hide and go seek movie. Since his release from prison he has been trying to go straight on the streets of Las Vegas, but his former mob boss, wanting him back, will not leave alone. He picks up a fare headed for the large hotel where a UFO conference is being held. Unlike many of those in attendance, sci fi geeks in all sorts of space and alien costumes, astrophysicist Dr. Alex Friedman (Carla Gugino) dresses conventionally, but even though she is attractive, he is put off by her. We know, from a thousand other such comedy-thrillers, that these two will be paired up soon. No sooner is the good doctor out of his cab than two children appear in the back seat Sara (AnnaSophia Robb) and Seth (Alexander Ludwig).

They want Jack to drive them way out to Witch Mountain, far, far beyond the limits of the city. Jack tries to blow them off, but the wad of money they offer overcomes his hesitancy. The two speak in a strangely formal way for children, and almost before you can say Unidentified Flying Objects, the three become a foursome with the at first reluctant addition of Alex, and they are off pursued by federal agents, mob goons, and a Terminator-like creature supposedly from the children’s home planet. The race to Witch Mountain, it seems, involves the fate of humankind. (Doesn’t it always in these kind of movies?)

Dwayne Johnson proves to be a likeable comedic hero with his ironic and wise cracking reaction to the children claiming to be aliens. Young viewers will have plenty to chuckle about and identify with—too often they too have not been taken seriously by adults who think they have seen and know everything. Not a bad way for a family to while away an afternoon, though I would underline afternoon, with its matinee prices.

Walt Disney