Today marks the re-release of Disney's epic about alien kids with the amazing ability to scar my childhood, using only harmonicas and dancing marionettes. We journey back to Witch Mountain with clips and DVD details.
First off, there's Escape to Witch Mountain, where we meet the bug-eyed orphans Tia (Kim Richards) and Tony Malone (Ike Eisenmann). The two kids are lured by an evil rich guy (whose character always made my skin crawl with his obsession over the children) into his big mansion (seriously post-Neverland this would never happen) where he wants to harness their alien abilities for his own personal gain.
Then they make a bunch of puppets dance and my child self cries for days, DAYS. The DVD commentary is really sweet and full of little observations from the director, John Hough, and the kids (now adults) chime in here and there about their memories from filming. The special features include the Pluto cartoon that was screened in theaters before it was shown (which is also another sweet touch). But the best part are the wacky time capsule features from the 70s which show a 1975 Disney Studio Album, including the opening of Mission to Mars and Space Mountain which has one vintage Mickey in a space suit.
Escape to Witch Mountain Clips:
The second release is the far creepier Return from Witch Mountain. The film takes place three years after the original, and the two kids are dropped off in L.A. - sure, why not? Poor Tony falls victim to yet another creepy old guy, Dr. Victor Gannon, and falls totally under his control. Meanwhile, Tia meets a wisecracking L.A. gang called The Earthquakes. Together the happy gang and Tia attempt to rescue poor Tony, which is pretty similar to what L.A. gangs are up to as you read this. I strongly recommend checking out the "The Gang's Back In Town" special feature which reunites this rough and tumble crew, many of which have defected and gone over to the Bloods or the Crips. Here's what they look like now:
Return from Witch Mountain Clips:
Overall, it's a great walk down memory lane, and a fun gift for an adult who wants to look back fondly on the predominately gun-free scifi of Disney's past. It's a very endearing collection that kids today should be made aware of before seeing the latest addition to the series, Race To Witch Mountain this Friday. Oh, and there's a "Disney Sci-Fi" round up and a "Disney Kids With Powers" feature you can't miss - try naming all the movies, I bet you can't.