Back in early November, I received 40 followers on 18 Cinema Lane! As I mentioned in my Movie Blogger’s Christmas Wish-List post, I’ve been busy doing blog related things. I apologize that this thank you review is being published much later than expected. But, anyways, back to the review itself. Like I’ve done with my other thank you reviews, it is time for me to talk about a film that was released 40 years ago (in 1978). Because Return from Witch Mountain just so happened to be on my DVR, I decided to pick that movie for this review. Since this was my first time seeing this particular film, I coordinated a double feature with both Escape to Witch Mountain and Return from Witch Mountain. I really enjoyed the first movie, as it was intriguing and memorable. So, after I saw Escape to Witch Mountain, I was definitely looking forward to watching the continuation of Tony and Tia’s story. Was the sequel just as memorable as its predecessor? Join me on this journey through this review to find out!
Things I liked about this film:
- The acting: I really liked this cast! Everyone was so talented, bringing a sense of believability to the portrayal of their characters. I liked that Ike Eisenmann and Kim Richards reprised their roles of Tony and Tia because their performances were a highlight in both Escape to Witch Mountain and Return from Witch Mountain! Ike and Kim not only provided versatility to their roles, but they also added a good amount of likability to their characters. I really liked Tony and Tia, as characters, because they seemed like intuitive children and good people. Everything I just said helped me, as an audience member, stay invested in Tony and Tia’s story.
- The film’s setting: Whenever characters in a children’s/family movie or television show take a vacation to California (specifically the Los Angeles area), the portrayal of the trip is, more often than not, glamorized (for example, the characters take a trip to Hollywood and/or get involved in the movie-making aspect of the city). In Return from Witch Mountain, however, the portrayal of the Pasadena/Los Angeles area appeared well-rounded. While the film shows tourist/ “glamourous” aspects of the city, such as the Rose Bowl Stadium and a museum, other parts of the area are showcased in the film’s narrative. For instance, a run-down house that serves as a secret hiding place represents a not-so-glamourous side to that particular area. Within the movie, a plutonium plant is also featured, giving the audience an idea of the types of businesses that can reside within that area.
- The story: While there are a few similarities between the narratives of Escape to Witch Mountain and Return from Witch Mountain, I feel that the story in the sequel expanded upon Tony and Tia’s story from the first movie. Return from Witch Mountain explores the idea of what happens when twins are separated and the differences of how their powers can be used. The acting performances and screen-writing helped these ideas flourish to the best of their ability. When watching this film, I was surprised by some of the other ideas expressed within this story, such as the importance of education and what exactly it means to be “tough”. While these ideas were not fully explored, I still thought they added something special to the overall story.
What I didn’t like about the film:
- The editing: In Return from Witch Mountain, there were a few scenes that seemed to end a little too quickly. I feel this was a result of the film’s editing. However, this problem was improved upon from the first movie, where the editing made a certain amount of scenes feel too short.
- Scenes lasting a little too long: There were some scenes in Return from Witch Mountain that, in time length, were a little too long. An example of this is the museum robbery scene, where the events associated with it seemed to be stretched out. To me, the length of these scenes were the result of satisfying the film’s run-time. Either the movie itself should have been a bit shorter or these scenes should have been reduced in, about, half.
- The villains: While the actors portraying the villains did a really good job with the acting material they were given, I thought the villains themselves were a bit on the sillier side. Because of this, I, as an audience member, didn’t get a strong sense that Tony and Tia were danger until the film’s climax. I also thought that the ideologies and beliefs of the villains were more unsettling than the villains themselves. This was very different from Escape to Witch Mountain, where the secrecy surrounding the villains added to the fear and concern for Tony and Tia.
My overall impression:
To start, I just want to say thank you to all of my 40 followers! If it weren’t for you, I probably would have never seen Return from Witch Mountain or its predecessor. But, I’m glad I checked this movie out because I really enjoyed it! Return from Witch Mountain is not only a good movie, it’s also a good sequel, expanding the overall story and improving upon flaws from Escape to Witch Mountain. As I think more about both movies, I realized that they would be a great way to introduce someone to the science-fiction genre. I feel this way because while this is a science-fiction story, it was light on the science-fiction elements. Because I also received 45 followers last month, I will publish my thank you review for a 1973 released film very soon. Whichever film I end up picking, I will be so excited to share it with all of my readers and followers!
Overall score: 8.1 out of 10
Have you seen either of these two films? What is your favorite live-action Disney movie? Please let me know in the comment section!
Have fun at the movies!