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Return from Witch Mountain (Special Edition) - family and children's DVD / action adventure / Disney DVD review
Rated G by the MPAA curledupdvd.com rating: 3 1/2 stars
Featuring: Ike Eisenmann, Kim Richards, Bette Davis, Christopher Lee, Jack Soo, Anthony James
Director: John Hough Distributor: Walt Disney Video
DVD release: 10 March 2009 Runtime: 94 min.
(1 disc)
Format: Aspect ratio 1.75:1, 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 sequel to Escape to Witch Mountain is a re-release by Disney, timed to go with the new-to-theater feature starring Dwayne Johnson (The Rock) in Race to Witch Mountain. This movie, originally made in 1978, stars the same two dynamic kid stars as Tia and Tony Malone (Kim Richards and Ike Eisenmann). Not quite up to the standards set in the first movie in the series, Return from Witch Mountain seems to try a bit too hard to tempt adult audiences with the addition of two classic actors, Bette Davis and Christopher Lee. Although I have great respect for the talent of both of these great Hollywood stars, their name will mean nothing to the children watching, and the plot seems disrespectful and overdrawn in regards to the use of Davis and Lee.

Although three years older this go-round, Kim and Ike take the age changes in stride, providing the storyline with charming portrayals of two alien children trying to not only help others but also get back to their ride, the quintessential spaceship, parked at a nearby football stadium. The plot involving bad people trying to use Tony for his mind control abilities and Tia's newly helpful pals, a gang of sandlot kids, is fun to watch. Even remembering the period in which this movie was made, and the lack of fancy CGI and special effects, it doesn't quite reach the cleverness of the first movie in the series, but it certainly acts as a jumping board for the 2009 sequel.

Using a somewhat raddled Bette Davis and spacey Christopher Lee as evil manipulators attempting to control minds seems far-fetched. Yet the scene in the museum, where gold bullion is on display, is quite amusing and will elicit belly laughs from the youngsters watching - it's a great use of the star talent the film embraces.

Special features include "Making of..." scenes, a "lost" interview with Christopher Lee, and a fun 1978 Studio Album. All are great fun to watch for adults and children alike, although I would think older children a better audience for the extras. Recommended for children five and up, this movie, as with the first in the series, will need parental guidance to separate reality from fantasy, especially when it comes to roof-walking, clairvoyance and telekinesis. Certainly, this movie will provide an hour and a half of good, clean Disney pleasures, and a chance for families to enjoy a classic together.
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reviewed by Laura Strathman Hulka
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