Who's In It: Dwayne Johnson, AnnaSophia Robb, Alexander Ludwig, Carla Gugino, Ciaran Hinds
The Basics: Two spooky blond-haired kids with supernatural powers wind up in The Rock's cab with a wad of cash, requesting to be taken out into the middle of the Nevada desert. When shady guys in black Escalades chase them, the grown-up thinks they're being pursued by mobsters, but the kids know that it's the government hunting them down. Why? These are no witches. They're aliens in teenage form on a mission to save their home planet. Further complications arise when a big robot-like assassin from their planet follows them to Earth. Not even the now-grown-up kids from the first Witch Mountain movie can do much to save them.
What's The Deal: Let's say you're a child who's never seen a movie with a car chase in it. Seeing this one will be your orientation seminar for that sort of thing. Because when the characters aren't busy battling it out in a blaze of gunfire with government agents, The Rock is speeding them through the desert in a cab or, in a nod to the original movie, a vintage Winnebago. They even reference Bullitt because it's Johnson's character's favorite film. But all this focus on the adult male lead robs the movie of what would make it appeal to kid audiences the most: kids as the leaders of the action. It's a minor beef, though, because otherwise it's a pretty exciting explosions-and-special-effects-filled remake.
With Those Explosions Comes Death: This may also be the most violent PG-rated Disney film ever made. You don't see any consequences of the gun battles and car chase explosions, but it's clear that people are dying left and right in pursuit of these alien-kids. So parents who are sensitive about that should know what's up. Both of you.
Cameo Strangeness: First, in a blink-and-you'll-miss-her blip, Meredith Salenger, star of The Journey of Natty Gann, shows up as a TV reporter named Natalie Gann. There's no apparent connection between that movie and this one, but it's fun for an old person like me to notice that kind of thing. Meanwhile, Kim Richards and Ike Eisenmann, who played the kids in 1975's Escape to Witch Mountain, appear as a waitress and a sheriff, respectively, but don't have much to do. Again, it's strictly for the grown-ups. And then it's over.