Dir: Andy Fickman (The Game Plan, She's the Man)
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, AnnaSophia Robb, Alexander Ludwig, Carla Gugino, Ciarán Hinds, Garry Marshall
Seen: March 16, 2009 at Scotiabank
Reason to see: Looked fun, hype few positive and hey... Dwayne Johnson is it it.
I'll admit it feels a little strange to review a family movie when I a) never saw the original b) not really into kids movies and c) don't have kids. But, it was fun and this is a non-nostalgic, non-parental point of view review.
The strongest impression I was left with from the film was that it is trying to appeal to both kids and their parents. I can see the logic of this given that it's a remake of Escape to Witch Mountain from 1975 which makes it a good fit for nostaliga and a reboot. But, I found that you could feel the film shift when it is directed to one audience and then the other without a strong enough crossover appeal. Adults could certainly appreciate the kid directed content via nostalgic, but I think kids would be lost at the adult references. Maybe that is fair, especially considering the film is set in and around Vegas - what more of an adult playground could you find? There isn't any objectionable content but it just seems odd to have a kids film set there.
Speaking of the kids, the ones in the theatre were attentive and non disruptive so that speaks volumes that it retained there attention. AnnaSophia Robb and Alexander Ludwig, who played the two kids were a shining light of the film with believable performances in a range of situations from delivering articulate dialogue to the action sequences. There sure is a fair share of action, way more than I was expecting and certainly had some "Bourne" tendencies, which sounds like it is in line with the 1975 version.
Overall I was expecting a little more fun and a little less action, especially considering the action was from a chase/evade point of view - again, pretty scary concept to have anyone going after kids. I think it was well balanced being engaging but not too scary. The film also had soft but notable 'lessons' and 'messages' in it, but that is to be expected from a Disney film and in all honesty they are pretty heartfelt and positive.
Shannon's Overall View:
I wanted to enjoyed it more
I'll definitely give it another go
I'd recommend it as an action-y family film
13 minutes of preshow including unknown amount of commercial and at least 3 previews: Monster vs. Aliens, earth and Up!
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© Shannon Ridler, 2009