RACE TO WITCH MOUNTAIN

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Overall Impression – Not one honest laugh, real emotion, effective plot point, sincere character arc, or original idea.  Other than that, it was great.

THE FOUR QUESTIONS

Who is your main character? – Jack Bruno

What is he trying to accomplish? – Professional: Keep the alien kids safe and get them back to their ship. Personal: Get Dr. Friedman (the sexy astro-physicist, not the balding gynecologist from Beverly Hills) to love him (alternatively, it might be to believe in something.)  Private: Not be the quitter he’s always been all his life.

Who’s trying to stop him? – Henry Burke and the other super-secret government people who keep things super-secret.

What happens if he fails? – Earth will be invaded by aliens.

THE FOUR ARCHETYPES

Orphan – Jack’s literally an orphan (we find out that his parents died in a car accident.)  He’s an ex-con (but the nice kind), and drives a cab in Las Vegas where he gets no respect from anyone, while also living alone in a sleazy motel.

Wanderer – After some ethereal kids jump into his cab, he tries to figure out who they are, where they’re going, and who’s trying to stop him.

Warrior – Once he learns that they’re aliens he now fights to keep them safe and get them back to their spaceship.

Martyr – Jack risks going back to jail (and his life) to rescue the kids who have been taken by the government scientists and who are about to have some non-specific procedure performed on them, get them to their ship, and defeat the alien assassin who wants to kill them.  Did I mention the alien assassin?

AND, IN THE END…

I love movies, I really do.  It is seldom that I see a movie so relentlessly bad that I find myself wishing for it to be over.   RACE TO WITCH MOUNTAIN represents the most creatively bankrupt storytelling I’ve seen in the past few years.

Here is a movie with so little plot that it can be vomited out in one speech by the ethereal alien children.  Before and after that, the movie devolves into one repetitive chase scene after another.

Structurally, the movie kinda sorta has everything in the right place, but it violates the rules of good storytelling (and good common sense) by purporting to be a chase movie that goes from point A to point B, yet the characters actually (and casually) return to where they started from (Las Vegas) two thirds of the way through the movie in order to pick up an ally character before hitting the road again.   It’s almost as if the filmmakers are daring us NOT to think that this is a whole lot of running around for nothing.  

And another thing…the characters don’t even RACE to Witch Mountain!  They leave Las Vegas and then drive there, leisurely, in a Winnebago.  In fact, the trip to Witch Mountain is the only section of the film where they’re actually not racing around or being pursued.

Add to this some really bad special effects and the worst flying saucer since PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE, and you have a movie that is predictable, laughable, and so poorly structured that it watched like someone shot a first draft and slapped the Disney seal on it.

C’mon guys…we can do better than this. 

— Jeffrey Alan Schechter

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2 Responses to “RACE TO WITCH MOUNTAIN”

  1. ds April 8, 2009 at 9:23 am #

    I just watched the original recently, and without analyzing it, was struck by how bad it was. I was thinking about seeing the new one to compare–thanks for the warning!

    • totallywrite April 8, 2009 at 9:25 am #

      Definitely don’t NOT see a movie based on my very biased opinion. You might disagree, which is totally valid. Plus, if you see it and do agree, you’ll learn a lot about what to avoid in your own stories.

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