When Vegas cabdriver Jack Bruno picks up two seemingly normal children in his taxi, he is plunged into an adventure he neither expected nor wanted. He just wants to stay within the law and do his job. But when he discovers that the children are actually aliens, he has to choose — should he help them with their mission to save Earth as well as their planet, or let the corrupt government officials and alien assassin catch up with them?
Jack’s journey from reluctant nice guy to strong protector is refreshing after the slew of wimpy “heroes” in most films these days. Even when it endangers his life and his freedom, he decides to protect the children, and take responsibility for them, when no one else wants to help. He stands up for what’s right no matter what, and is rewarded by a better life in the end.
The aliens — a brother and sister team named Seth and Sarah — also present a pleasing contrast to typical Hollywood family relationships. They care about one another, treating each other with kindness, while their whole mission seeks to honor and assist their parents’ endeavors. When dealing with the sometimes skeptical or difficult Jack, they don’t yell or insist upon his help, rather, they speak respectfully and maturely. Seth’s doubtfulness and occasional contempt of the human race in general, and Jack in particular, is resolved beautifully when he asks forgiveness for his attitude.
The most glaring problem is the aliens themselves. While Scripture does not outright deny the existence of sentient life on other planets, some would say that the fact that man is made in God’s image excludes the possibility. Particularly when the aliens are superior to man, as the children in the film are shown to be. Besides having remarkable powers (Seth has the ability to control his molecular density, giving him super strength and the power to move through solid matter, while Sarah can control objects with her mind, as well as reading the thoughts of others), they are shown to be more intelligent, more practical, and more skilled than the humans in the film. The classic sci-fi premise that aliens are probably more “highly evolved” than man is clear, particularly when Sarah notes that “Humans have these abilities too, they just haven’t learned to use them.”
As far as content, the film is fairly clean. There is some very mild romantic content — when Sarah reads the mind of the female lead, and tells Jack that the woman finds him “very handsome,” or when a nerdy man asks the woman if she’s accepted his offer of a date. It was minor enough that I, personally, found it merely funny. There is some violence, though without blood, and some potentially disturbing situations (the government planning to dissect the aliens). There are also frequent intense sequences that might be frightening for young children.
Perhaps most disappointing was the scene where Jack and the woman, Alex, are driving along and Jack comments on the “luck” that has brought him to this place. Shaking her head, Alex replies that it’s not luck. I got my hopes up for her to say something about Providence or design, but instead she says, “It’s pure science. Probability theories.”
Hollywood still has a long way to go before they will be turning out any Christ-centered family films (if ever), but for the moment, my family finds The Race to Witch Mountain to be a clean, exciting film that we can all enjoy