Posted on Sunday, March 15th, 2009 by Peter Sciretta
Over the weekend I went and saw Race to Witch Mountain, mostly due to the fact that, as a kid, I was a fan of the original 1975 film. Also, I’ve always found Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson amusing, even despite some of the really crappy movies he’s done over the years. I was expecting a fun kiddie flick, and nothing more… but I didn’t even get that.
I’m not saying that Escape to Witch Mountain was a masterpiece, or even a good film for that matter. I’m sure if I had revisited that film over the weekend, I might have been largely disappointed over the extreme difference between my memories and reality.
On a sidenote of a sidenote, I recently had a conversation with Dan Trachtenberg of the Totally Rad Show about a theory I like to call “Retro Pop Culture Smell”. You know how when you buy new things, and they have this “new purchase smell”? Apple products are a great example of this. Well “Retro Pop Culture Smell” is like that but the complete opposite.
There are movies that you watched as a child, or at a particular moment in your life, that will never be as good as when you watched them. But that initial experience of watching the film blends into your memory of the film itself, and when you revisit that film, those experiences can sometime cloud your ability to see the film for what it actually is. Anyway, moving on…
My point is that even if I rewatched the original film, I’m not sure I could evaluate it on the same level of someone who had never seen it before. But I’m pretty sure the original film was at least 73 times more magical and wonderful than the remake. Screenplay, acting, and special effects aside, I was really surprised to discover how badly directed some of the action sequences were in the film. Andy Flickman had even been rumored to helm a Johnny Quest movie adaptation. But as we all know, being a good director isn’t important as long as you can turn out whatever the studio wants, under budget, and the resulting film makes a profit. Hey, it is the movie BUSINESS after all.
And following the opening weekend of Witch Mountain, Disney has announced that Flickman will helm a big screen adaptation of Marc Bernardin and Adam Freeman’s graphic novel, Monster Attack Network. And since MAT is being produced at Dinsey, and Flickman’s last two Disney family films starred The Rock, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see the duo reunite for this film as well. The official plot synopsis of the comic book follows:
“MARVEL! At the Pacific island of Lapuatu, perfect in every way…except for the giant monsters. THRILL! As Nate Klinger and his daring team of first-responders at the Monster Attack Network expertly deal with the frequent rampaging-beast-related crises. WONDER! If the shady American industrialist who comes to the island bearing “gifts” and the mysterious, gorgeous Lapuatuan ex-patriate are up to no good. ENJOY! The hair-raising adventures of the noble men and the drop-dead sexy women of the MONSTER ATTACK NETWORK!”
Scott Elder and Josh Harmon have been hired to script the adaptation. Monsters vs. Aliens, the next computer animated film from Dreamworks also involves big city-attacking monsters, but in a twist, they join forces with the U.S. Government to protect the planet against alien invaders.