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Blu-ray Review
Blu-ray Disc review by Jeff Kleist of The Digital Bits

Race to Witch Mountain (Blu-ray Disc)

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Race to Witch Mountain
2009 (2009) - Walt Disney Home Entertainment
Released on Blu-ray Disc on August 4th, 2009
Also available on DVD


Film Rating: C+
Video (1-20): 16.5
Audio (1-20): 17
Extras: C

Many people who grew up in the 1970s remember the original Escape to Witch Mountain and its sequel, Return from Witch Mountain, with a nostalgic fondness. Now their children have a chance to experience the same basic story with Race to Witch Mountain, a pseudo sequel and somewhat re-imagining of the basic Witch Mountain framework, made relevant for today's audiences.

Former wheel-man and current cab driver Jack Bruno (The Rock) is having a really bad day, when a pair children literally appear in his backseat and offer him a wad of cash to take them out to the middle of the desert. Figuring his day can't possibly get any worse, he accepts the offer. Naturally, fate proves Bruno incredibly wrong... and thrusts him and his passengers smack into the middle of an otherworldly race for their lives.

Disney brings us Race to Witch Mountain in a solid, if uninteresting, Blu-ray Disc edition. The film's bland color palette doesn't really lend itself to a lot of wow factor, but fine detail is plentiful and solid. While there's occasionally some black crush, and haloing characteristic with therapeutic application of edge enhancement, nothing here is a deal-breaker, video-wise. Likewise, the DTS-HD MA lossless sound mix is merely serviceable, delivering some nice punch whenever things start exploding, but otherwise simply doing its job.

The bonus features are also less than extraordinary. You get about 20 minutes worth of (rightfully) deleted scenes, a gag reel and a Backstage Disney option that points out all the winks and nods you may have missed to the original films. There's no commentary track, nor even an HBO First Look-style EPK featurette - a missed opportunity for sure. You do, however, get both a standard DVD version and a Digital Copy… if you care about such things.

Race to Witch Mountain really wants to be a fun sequel to the originals, but while it makes for decent family viewing, it's unlikely to inspire much excitement in the young... or the young of heart. And with an SRP of $44.95, it's also not likely to be a huge seller. Unless you really loved the film, your best bet is to rent this one first, and spend your money on better (and cheaper) family fare on Blu-ray.

Jeff Kleist
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