tek's rating:

Escape to Witch Mountain (G)
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This came out in 1975 (the year I was born), though I must have first seen it on TV in the early 80s, most likely on The Wonderful World of Disney. Apparently it was based on a book I've never read, but I don't think I was aware of that until just now when I was looking at sites I've linked to above. Um... anyway, I watched it again on DVD (and wrote this review) in 2013. (I probably bought the DVD in 2009 or thereabouts, because of a new movie called Race to Witch Mountain, which I didn't see until 2014.) I'm not sure, but this may be only the second time in my life that I've seen this movie. Which, of course, is quite nostalgic to me. Incidentally, the DVD I got also includes the sequel, Return from Witch Mountain, which I may or may not have seen on TV when I was a kid. I suppose I should mention that these movies are technically science fiction, though for most of the the first movie, it seems more like a paranormal story. Not that the difference really matters much, I guess.

Anyway, there are these two cute kids, a brother and sister named Tony and Tia Malone. At the start of the movie, their adoptive parents have recently died, so the kids get sent to an orphanage. We quickly learn that they have telepathic, telekinetic, and psychic powers. One day all the kids from the orphanage are on an outing to see a movie (according to the marquee, it was "Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs," which I found a bit amusing; a little in-house advertising, eh Disney?) Anyway, Tia gets this psychic premonition of something bad happening to a limo across the street from their bus, so she and Tony go to warn a man not to get in it. He decides to heed their warning, and a minute later a tow truck crashes into the limo. So the kids had saved his life, it seems.

Later, the man they'd saved, Lucas Deranian (Donald Pleasence), tells his employer, Aristotle Bolt, about the incident. Bolt seems to employ various people he hopes can use things like astrology to help him increase his fortune (not that he needs more money). But of course they're all charlatans. However, he gets Deranian to forge documents claiming Deranian is the kids' long lost uncle, and he takes them away from the orphanage, to stay at Bolt's mansion. The kids are given some pretty awesome rooms full of awesome toys and stuff, so they're happy at first. But Tia has a premonition that Bolt will never let them leave. And after Bolt reveals that he wants them to use their powers to his advantage, they become even more concerned. So, they run away, along with a black cat named Winky (whom they'd met at the orphanage, and brought with them).

Tia and Tony hide from their pursuers in a Winnebago, which is owned by a guy named Jason O'Day. When he discovers the stowaways, he's not happy, but before long he decides to help them. And um, Tia has this "star case" thing, which Winky had broken earlier, and revealed a hidden map. The kids get Jason to take them to the place on the map, but of course Deranian continues to pursue them, along with the police and some local hunters who are after reward money if they can catch the kids. All the while, Tia occasionally has fragments of memory from before she and Tony had been adopted years ago. Anyway, eventually it turns out the place they're headed is called Witch Mountain (though that name didn't actually appear on their map). And they finally manage to get there, and learn the truth about where they're really from, and escape their pursuers once and for all.

And that's all I want to say about the plot. There were several little things that really made no sense, and lots of things that were awfully convenient. But basically, it was a pretty decent story, and amusing, and, you know... neat. I definitely think the movie holds up better than I expected it to.

Oh, and incidentally... at one point I was thinking about the inconvenience their pursuers faced of not having cell phones, but soon after I thought that, I saw Deranian use a phone. In his limo. In 1975. I was all like whaaaaat? I didn't think car phones existed until at least the early 80s. But whatever, I liked that.

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