Return From Witch Mountain

January 28, 2012 7 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Tia Malone (Kim Richards) and her brother Tony (Ike Eisenmann) have been through a lot, from their days as orphans to their journey back into space. Now the siblings are teens, but their special powers remain intact. If anything, time has enhanced their psychic powers and the kids are stronger and more powerful than ever. But as children still in some ways, they have trouble understanding their powers, especially the potential danger involved. The teens return to Earth in order to relive old memories and check out what has happened, but little do they know that another grand scale adventure is about to unfold. What should be a fun, memorable vacation turns into a battle for Tony’s powers and the bond of a brother and sister. Once back, the children explore the area and when a man falls off a roof, Tony uses his special powers to save him. At the same time, scientist Victor Gannon (Christopher Lee) sees the events and instantly sees the massive potential. If he could harness the boy’s powers, he could gain immense power of his own. He then kidnaps Tony and using a mind control device, begins to take control over his mind. With the input of Gannon and his financier Letha Wedge (Bette Davis), Tony starts on a spree of crimes, from small time theft to more serious robberies. Even with the help of some young toughs, can Tia somehow snap her brother out of this evil spell?

Escape to Witch Mountain was a fun, brisk adventure that folks of all ages could enjoy, so of course, a sequel was to follow. But as often happens, the sequel wasn’t able to live up to the standards. In this case however, Return From Witch Mountain is by no means a bad movie, it just lacks a special element the original had in spades. The young stars return to their roles, but time has passed and they just aren’t the same. As young teens, they lose the cuteness of the original film, but gain a little in terms of mature presence. So some of the magic is gone in this sequel, but Return From Witch Mountain is a still motion picture. The storyline is pretty much the same, with some spins to keep it somewhat fresh and new characters to inject new blood into the material. The original movie had Ray Milland and Donald Pleasance, which is a dynamite pair, but Return From Witch Mountain ups the ante a little. Here we have horror legend Christopher Lee and Bette Davis, which is reason enough to check out this movie. Yes, this movie has the usual pains of a sequel and what was cute before is sometimes tired here, this is not a bad picture. I had a lot of fun watching these Witch Mountain movies again, as I am sure fans will also. So I recommend Return From Witch Mountain to fans, who should love this Special Edition release.

Video: How does it look?

Return From Witch Mountain is presented in 1.75:1 anamorphic widescreen. Just like the original movie, this one looks superb and once again, I want to commend Disney’s choice to use a proper widescreen presentation. And this is another great looking effort, one that starts off with a clean and clear source print. So no fuzz, no haze, and no softness is evident, which means the movie’s visuals can shine through. I found colors to be bright and bold, with only minor fades evident, while contrast is smooth and consistent. All in all, a terrific presentation that provides the film’s best home video treatment to date.

Audio: How does it sound?

The audio here is a new Dolby Digital 5.1 remix, which provides the same basic experience as the remix on the original film’s release. As such, I am bringing over my comments from that review, so as not to reinvent the wheel. As you should expect, this movie is not a treasure trove of dynamic audio, but this new remix does have some punch at times. The surrounds are used to enhance atmosphere, as well as supply an extra kick of power in some scenes. The results are by no means overly impressive, but for the material involved, this is a fine remix. There is a thin texture to the audio, but that is due to the age and nature of the movie, not this new soundtrack. The music sounds good and makes use of the surrounds too, while dialogue remains clean and audible throughout. This disc also includes English subtitles, should you need those.

Supplements: What are the extras?

An audio commentary starts us off, as director John Hough and stars Kim Richards & Ike Eisenmann share their memories. Hough focuses on the technical side of the production, while the stars provide more personal takes on the experience. This session is decent, but expect a light, brisk tone and not a refined, highly informative track. Making the Return Trip is a nice retrospective featurette, much like the one found on the Escape to Witch Mountain disc. A “lost” interview with Christopher Lee is also found here, as well as two addition featurettes, though these are shorter, more promotional pieces. This disc also includes still photos, promotional materials, ad artwork, The Eyes Have It bonus animated short, and the film’s theatrical trailer.

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