Jack Bruno (Dwayne Johnson) is an ex-mobster now earning an honest living driving tourists around Las Vegas. He finds two teenage children, who have appeared out of nowhere, sitting in the back seat of his cab. Seth (Alexander Ludwig) and Sara (Anna Sophia Robb) ask Jack to drive them to the desert, telling him it is urgent that they get there without delay. Jack finds their money too good to refuse and accepts the fare. But before Jack and his mysterious passengers have travelled very far, they are pursued by government agents in black SUVs, led by Henry Burke (Ciaran Hinds). Seth uses superhuman powers to crash the pursuing vehicles. Thinking that the SUV occupants are mobsters, Jack warns them off.
Jack, Seth and Sara travel to an abandoned shack in the middle of the desert. Here the teenagers reveal their alien identity. They are all attacked by an alien predator called a Siphon.
After another escape from government agents, Jack decides to head back to Las Vegas to enlist the help of Dr Alex Friedman (Carla Gugino). Alex takes Jack and the children to meet Dr Donald Harlan (Garry Marshall), an expert on government conspiracy and UFO cover-ups. Harlan tells them that the government is holding Seth and Sara’s spaceship at a secret government base inside Witch Mountain. Jack, Alex and the children leave Las Vegas and head straight for Witch Mountain with the Siphon in close pursuit.
Race to Witch Mountain contains frequent action violence, violence against children, some intensity and peril, infrequent threats of violence and some intimidation. For example:
- A speeding spaceship crashes in the desert. The impact of the crash causes an explosion and the aftermath resembles a bomb blast with burning bushes and blackened ground.
- Two men wearing Star Wars Storm Trooper costumes get into the back of Jack’s cab and point replica weapons at him. Jack snatches the weapons away from them.
- Two large mobsters approach Jack and order him to accompany them to a meeting with their boss. Jack refuses and a fight erupts with Jack punching one of the men in the face and elbowing the other in the stomach. One of the henchmen says, ‘You’re dead Jackie’. He then opens his jacket to reveal a handgun. A police car arrives and the men walk away.
- Three black SUVs containing government agents drive up behind Jack’s cab and attempt to push him off the road. Seth dissolves into the back seat of the cab to reappear on the road in front of an oncoming SUV. The vehicle crashes head-on into Seth, the front of the van crumples inwards, and it catapults over the top of Seth, who appears indestructible. Jack, who is holding a tyre lever, gets out of his cab and approaches the wrecked van. He tells the occupants of the van, who he mistakenly believes are mobsters, to leave him alone. He hits the body of the van with the tyre lever before he walks away.
- While in an underground cavern, Jack, Seth and Sara are attacked by an armoured alien creature called a Siphon. The Siphon uses a gun attached to its forearm to fire bolts of explosive energy at Jack and the children. We see lots of explosions, sparks and smoke.
- The alien hits Jack with its arm, and he hurtles through the air. It fires its weapon at several glowing gelatinous orbs hanging from the ceiling, and they explode in flames. It strikes Seth and Sara with its arm, knocking them off their feet. Sara uses her powers to hurl a fireball at the alien creature, which is unaffected.
- Jack drives his cab along a train track, followed by the Siphon in its flying space craft. The Siphon’s craft fires blasts of energy at Jack’s cab, creating lots of explosions, sparks and smoke. We see the back of Jack’s cab lifted into the air when it’s hit by a blast of energy. Jack drives his cab into a train tunnel followed by the Siphon’s flying craft. A train approaches the tunnel from the opposite direction. It appears as if Jack’s cab will collide head-on with train. At the last moment, Sara uses her powers to increase the speed of Jack’s cab. There is a large explosion in the tunnel as the Siphon’s space craft collides with the train. We see train carriages being hurled through the air leaving a crash site that resembles a war zone.
- Dozens of armed soldiers point assault rifles at a café where Jack and the children are sitting. A group of agents wearing concealed hand guns walk into the café. When the town sheriff approaches, the agents pull out their guns and point them at the sheriff, the sheriff’s men and customers sitting in the café.
- Sara uses her powers to cause numerous government and military vehicles to explode in a shower of sparks, smoke and flames. Soldiers and government agents fire their weapons at Jack’s cab with numerous bullets hitting the back of the cab. Jack and the children are uninjured.
- Jack threatens to kill two men.
- The Siphon attacks Jack and the children on stage at a Space Expo, with a crowd of onlookers believing the fight to be staged. The Siphon fires a bolt of energy at the children. The resulting explosion causes a hanging stage prop to fall down, hitting the Siphon and propelling it through the air and a stage wall.
- While Jack, Alex and the children are walking on a mountain path, Sara and Seth are shot in the neck with darts and fall unconscious. Jack, Alex and the unconscious children are then surrounded by dozens of gun-wielding soldiers. Jack punches one soldier, and a second soldier hits Jack in the face with a rifle butt, knocking him unconscious.
- While being escorted from Witch Mountain in a SUV, Alex slaps Jack hard across the face to create a diversion. Jack then punches a guard in the face, grabs hold of a second guard and shoves the guard’s head through the van’s window.
- Seth and Sara are strapped unconscious to operating tables with various IV tubes attached to their bodies. We hear that they have been drugged. Comments are made about the children being killed as a result of the examination. We hear a command given to initiate testing.
- The Siphon attacks soldiers inside Witch Mountain with numerous explosions and flying debris. Soldiers are propelled through the air with lots of smoke and sparks. Soldiers fire at the Siphon, and the bullets bounce off an invisible force field.
- While rescuing Seth and Sara from the operating tables, Jack punches and hits several people. He throws one person through a glass window.
- When Jack, Alex, Seth and Sara make it to the captured space craft, they are surrounded by dozens of soldiers. The soldiers point assault rifles at the children and fire at them. Bullets fly towards the children, compressing and falling to the ground as they reach the force field that the children have created around themselves.
- The Siphon blows a hole through a wall. A battle erupts with the Siphon shooting at soldiers and them firing at the Siphon.
- Inside a space craft, Jack fights with the Siphon. The Siphon punches Jack in the body and throws him against the ceiling. Later Jack punches the Siphon in the head, resulting in the Siphon falling down a shaft to be incinerated.
Content that may disturb children
In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under eight. For example:
- Dozens of people wearing white bio-hazard suits walk through a desert area that resembles a disaster zone with lots of small fires and blackened ground.
- There is a quick image of a scorpion walking across desert sand.
- Inside a deserted shack, a dark menacing humanoid alien lurks in the shadows.
- The alien Siphon is a helmeted predator. Towards the end of the movie, we see the creature with its helmet removed to reveal a slimy squid-like, flesh-covered head with eyes but no mouth.
- An underground forest has large pulsating gelatinous orbs hanging from the ceiling. The orbs are egg-like in appearance and appear to have some type of life within. We see Sara push her hand through the side of one of the orbs (we hear a squelching sound) and pull out an electronic device.
- CDs and other objects float in the air, controlled by Sara’s telekinetic powers.
- While unconscious, Seth and Sara are strapped to an operating table with tubes attached to their bodies. We hear that they have been drugged to keep them unconscious and that they may die as a result of experiments carried out on them.
- A guard dog snarls and snaps at Jack, and later bites the hand of another man.
Younger children in this age group might also be disturbed by some of the scenes mentioned above.
Children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this movie.
None of concern
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
This movie contains some use of substances. For example, Seth and Sara are hit in the neck with tranquiliser darts that render them unconscious. They are later strapped to an operating table and kept unconscious with anaesthetic.
Nudity and sexual activity
None of concern
None of concern
This movie contains some name-calling.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Race to Witch Mountain is a Disney science fiction action film likely to appeal to older school-aged children (10 years and over) and younger adolescents. The film is packed with action, explosions, smoke and sparks, as well as car chases, danger and escapes. Children under the age of 10 might find the amount of violence and scary scenes overwhelming and possibly distressing.
The main message from this movie is that humans are capable of displaying selfless acts of compassion towards complete strangers even if they are aliens. Values in this movie that you might wish to reinforce with your children include:
- selflessness and compassion
- perseverance through adversity.
This movie could also give you the opportunity to discuss with your children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences. For example, you could discuss:
- the way that Sara and Seth are treated by the US government as ‘illegal aliens’
- the fact that Sara and Seth steal money from an ATM.