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Return from Witch Mountain

Return from Witch Mountain (1978) Movie Poster
  •  USA  •    •  95m  •    •  Directed by: John Hough.  •  Starring: Bette Davis, Christopher Lee, Kim Richards, Ike Eisenmann, Jack Soo, Anthony James, Richard Bakalyan, Ward Costello, Christian Juttner, Brad Savage, Poindexter Yothers, Jeffrey Jacquet, Stu Gilliam.  •  Music by: Lalo Schifrin.
       Tia and her brother Tony have supernatural powers, can communicate and move things with the power of their mind alone. They arrive on Earth for a visit in Los Angeles. When Tony uses his powers to prevent an accident, he gets into the hands of Dr. Gannon, a ruthless scientist who's constantly striving for power over the world. He puts him a device into the brain that allows him to control Tony's will. Tia gets help from a kids gang to free Tony and save the Earth.

Trailers:

   Length:  Languages:  Subtitles:
 1:48
 

Review:

Image from: Return from Witch Mountain (1978)
Image from: Return from Witch Mountain (1978)
Image from: Return from Witch Mountain (1978)
Image from: Return from Witch Mountain (1978)
Image from: Return from Witch Mountain (1978)
Image from: Return from Witch Mountain (1978)
Image from: Return from Witch Mountain (1978)
Image from: Return from Witch Mountain (1978)
Image from: Return from Witch Mountain (1978)
Image from: Return from Witch Mountain (1978)
Image from: Return from Witch Mountain (1978)
It seems like the makers of this movie took a look at everything that made "Escape" so great and decided to forget it. Obviously they couldn't re-use the mystery about the two children (where do they come from? Why do they have these powers?). Still, they lost a lot of charme on other points.

The special effects seem hopelessly dated. This is easy to say in 2013 but they already seem hopelessly dated in comparison to "Escape" - which was made three years before. It doesn't help that "Return" shifts more focus onto these special effects - and puts less effort into it.

"Escape" had those two cute kids which worked great together. The first thing "Return" does is dividing them and letting Tony be a mindless zombie for (most of) the rest of the movie. Tia doesn't do much better. Her part of the movie mostly gets lost and divided between the four members of the Earthquake gang. At parts the movie feels like it wanted to showcase an epic "Tony vs Tia"-battle (with one having to be mind-controlled for that to happen) and maybe some viewers like their confrontations but at some points it is plain boring - showing both of them concentrating and a heat gauge going up and down. Keep in mind that during "Escape" the children had slightly different abilities (playing into their different characters). This is dropped in "Return"; they are interchangeable.

Mr. Yokomoto doesn't feel like an adult ally but more of a tool, somewhat pushing a "school is important"-morale down the viewers' throat. I believe he is meant to be similar to Jason O'Day who helped the children in "Escape", yet he lacks the backstory, character and sympathy that Jason had.

The name seems cheated, too. There is no "Witch Mountain" in this movie. It gets mentioned only very briefly and "Two psychic kids have a week of adventure in LA" seems more suited. This is even more obvious in the beginning when Uncle Bene drops those kids off, telling them to have fun. No adult supervision, no safeguards, the dangers of the "Escape" are completely forgotten. Just like the conflict between Tony and Tia is forced and Tia meeting the Earthquakes is forced (and seems random) plus Tony meeting Dr. Dracula is forced, even the beginning of everything seems forced and plotted.

"Return" drops the fun. This is even more obvious once you remember the puppet scene from "Escape" or the cat Winky or the haunting at the sheriff's office. Those were scenes with the kids having fun and laughing and smiling. Don't expect that stuff in "Return" - the fun is gone.


Review by TCCPhreak from the Internet Movie Database.