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Escape to Witch Mountain (Special Edition) - family and children's DVD / action adventure / Disney DVD review
Rated G by the MPAA curledupdvd.com rating: 4 1/2 stars
Featuring: Ike Eisenmann, Kim Richards, Eddie Albert, Donald Pleasance, Ray Milland
Director: John Hough   Distributor: Walt Disney Video
DVD release: 10 March 2009   Runtime: 97 min.
(1 disc)
Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, DVD-Video, NTSC, Original recording remastered, Special Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen
DVD features: Aspect ration 1.75:1, Audio tracks (English, French - Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround), Subtitles (English SDH, French, Spanish), Audio commentary (Ike Eisenmann, Kim Richards, dir. John Hough), Making the Escape, Conversations with John Hough, Disney Sci-Fi, Disney Effects Something Special, 1975 Disney Studio Album, Pluto's Dream House, Pop-Up Fun Facts

This delightful tale of two orphans with remarkable psychic talents is a Disney classic re-released. Moving things with their minds, clairvoyance, and their mysterious alien origin all combine to make a charming movie to watch as a family. Tia and Tony Malone created movie magic before big whiz-bang special effects mavens took over Hollywood, and even 30-plus years later, it plays well to those who really like to burrow into a story.

Kim Richards and Ike Eisenmann started their careers in acting in the early 1970s (at quite young ages), and they did a great job of playing these two kids and going through the hoops of getting help from the good guys and escaping the bad guys. Kim was a hugely popular child star, and Ike did steady work in TV shows and movies. The cast additions of Eddie Albert as a helpful camper who guides the children in the right direction and Ray Milland as the evil Aristotle Bolt, determined to manipulate the children his way, are good casting choices. Kim and Ike carry the movie beautifully on their own, though, and the adults act more as clever foils to the campy high-action plot.

As with many Disney movies, the sub-theme of self-discovery is pivotal and fun to watch. Tia keeps having flashbacks to their previous "lives" before they were placed in a foster home, and Tony can draw places they are going to be. With such skills as these, they are dynamite against the machinations of Aristotle Bolt and his sidekicks, including some rather ferocious dogs.

As with many older Disney features, the plot is timeless (see the recently released Dwayne Johnson movie - Race to Witch Mountain - with bit parts played by Kim Richards and Ike Eisenmann) and enjoyable to watch with children from about five and up. Be prepared to explain a bit about the magic to the younger children, as well as the alien-from-another-planet concept. Be sure, too, to take the time to look at the bonus features of this special edition, which are filled with delightful behind-the-scenes conversations and some fun pop-up facts. A movie that deserves a place on the family movie shelf for re-watching on those nights that boredom strikes.
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reviewed by Laura Strathman Hulka
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