A "reimagining" of the Disney films from the '70's, "Race to Witch Mountain" stars The Rock (er, I mean Dwayne Johnson), who continues his rather unexpected shift from action star to heading more family-friendly fare (see also: "The Game Plan".) The actor stars as Jack, a Las Vegas cab driver who finds himself transporting a couple of kids - Seth (Alexander Ludwig) and Sara (AnnaSophia Robb) - who are actually aliens with special powers posing as human teens.
Soon enough, Jack realizes that the kids aren't exactly kids, and that he finds himself wrapped up in the middle of their quest to retrieve a device that will ensure the survival of their home planet. Eventually, they're also joined by UFO expert Dr. Alex Friedman (Carla Gugino). Not surprisingly, there's others on their tail, including a CIA agent and other ET's. Meanwhile, even though Seth and Sara are aliens, Vegas is just happy to have the tourism.
Although the movie may serve as light entertainment for families, a main issue is that the picture never rests - there's a chase sequence a few minutes into the movie and the picture really never lets up the frantic pace, seeming essentially like one big chase sequence. The kids will never be bored (although a few elements of the picture may be a bit too scary for the youngest viewers), but adult viewers will likely have preferred at least a slightly richer/more detailed story.
Performances are fine for this sort of fare (which doesn't really require a great deal beyond running a lot and looking worried) - The Rock cracks jokes, Robb and Ludwig look concerned and Gugino seems largely along for the ride. Effects work is a little mixed, although most of the effects sequences are at least average. Some other elements come up a bit short, however: the picture doesn't make much use of Vegas, and some of the sets and other elements (such as the alien "villain" character) could stand to look somewhat sleeker and more polished.
While this (too) briskly paced movie has its moments, the picture would have been improved with a better balance between story and spectacle.
This set offers the Blu-Ray edition of the film, the DVD edition of the film and a third disc with a digital copy of the film.
VIDEO: The film is presented on Blu-Ray in 2.40:1 (1080p/AVC) and the transfer is simply a delight. Sharpness and detail are exceptional throughout the whole film - fine details are crystal clear and the image has a smooth, detailed appearance throughout. A touch of fine grain was seen at times - likely an intentional element of the cinematography. Otherwise, this was a pristine-looking image, with no print flaws, edge enhancement, noise or other concerns. Colors seemed bright and well-saturated, with rich tones and no smearing or other faults. Black level also appeared solid, while flesh tones looked natural. Overall, another great effort from the studio.
SOUND: The film is presented in DTS-HD 5.1. While not a full-out audio assault (it is a family film, after all), the picture's sound design certainly puts the surrounds to use for plenty of effects (car chases, gunfire, etc.) and mild reinforcement of the score. Audio quality was fine, with punchy, well-recorded effects and clear dialogue that wasn't overwhelmed by the action.
EXTRAS: A brief "making of" featurette, bloopers, deleted scenes and previews for other titles from the studio. As mentioned above, the DVD edition and a digital copy edition of the film are also included.
Final Thoughts: While this (too) briskly paced movie has its moments and a fine performance from Johnson, the picture would have been improved with a better balance between story and spectacle. The Blu-Ray edition offers excellent video quality, fine audio quality and a few minor extras. Recommended for fans; those who didn't catch the film theatrically may want to check it out first as a rental.
The Film C+