Return from Witch Mountain (1978)

Article 5045 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 1-10-2016
Directed by John Hough
Featuring Bette Davis, Christopher Lee, Kim Richards
Country: USA
What it is: Science fiction light

The two children from Witch Mountain return to Earth. When the boy saves the life of a man falling from a building, a mad scientist finds out about his abilities and kidnaps him. Can his sister save him before the scientist uses him in a nefarious plot to take over the world?

Apparently, ESCAPE TO WITCH MOUNTAIN was popular enough to warrant a sequel. I felt lukewarm about the original; this one feels like reheated leftovers. My problem is that the premise (the two children have the powers of telekinesis and telepathy and they are sought after by evil people who want to make use of their powers) is too easy and predictable; you know whatever the problem is, the children will handle it with their powers, and they do, again and again and again and again…you get the picture. Furthermore, the use of those powers is put on display so frequently and mechanically that the magic quickly dissipates. The movie compensates a bit by the use of star power, but it doesn’t help a lot. Bette Davis apparently only did the movie so she could make something her grand-children could watch; her character is one-dimensional, and though it might have been fun if she’d taken the opportunity to ham it up a bit, but instead it feels like she’s mostly just earning her paycheck here while being aware the role is beneath her. Christopher Lee comes off a lot better; he’s done this type of role before, and he handles it with his usual skill. Like the previously movie, it feels like a slightly more serious “shopping cart” movie, only this one is sillier than the original. It’s not awful, but it is quite routine.


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