Home > Reviews > RACE TO WITCH MOUNTAIN – Trevor Rabin


Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

A big-budget remake of the classic 1975 Disney film Escape to Witch Mountain, Race to Witch Mountain is directed by Andy Fickman and stars Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson as Las Vegas cab driver who gets drawn into an intergalactic conspiracy and, with the help of a beautiful UFO expert (Carla Gugino), must help two alien children (AnnaSophia Robb and Alexander Ludwig) return to their space ship while avoiding the clutches of a nefarious research company who wants to exploit their powers.

The score for Race to Witch Mountain is by Trevor Rabin, continuing his collaboration with the Mouse House that he began with National Treasure in 2004. Rabin’s score is fun and adventurous, rooting in the familiar Media Ventures/Remote Control style that he utilized in scores like Armageddon and others, but with enough of a distinct personality to make it enjoyable on its own terms. As one might expect from a former rocker, Rabin sprinkles electric guitars liberally throughout the orchestral and synthetic performances. The opening score cue, “Into the Fridge”, offers a pretty decent summary of the score in itself, running the gamut from unexpectedly gentle piano and string writing to large-canvas action cues with urgent synth rhythms and sampled brass.

Later, action cues such as the “Unidentified Main Titles” (which appears in the middle of the album), “Jack and Kids Escape”, “Burke’s Deal” and “Tracking the E.B.E.’s” keep the tempo high with flashy string writing, cool electric guitar chords and an upbeat pace. The Siphon – the robotic main antagonist of the story – has a mechanized, relentless synth pulse leitmotif which can be heard in several cues, notably “Siphon Searches” and “Excess Baggade”. At the other end of the scale, “Long Goodbye” parts of “Make Me a Believer” and “Stand Off” offer sensitive emotional themes, noble trumpet refrains, choral majesty and a heady dose of Disney heroism (although, again, the sampled instruments often give the score an unfortunately cheap, tinny sound).

Overall, Race to Witch Mountain is a fun, but throwaway score, a descriptor which can often be applied to Rabin’s music. It’s hamstrung by its lack of scope and the composer’s unfortunate decision to limit his own sound palette, but it is what it is, and fans of Rabin’s style, or of lighter Media Ventures/Remote Control scores will find plenty to enjoy.

Rating: ***

Track Listing:

  • Emergency (performed by Steve Rushton) (2:59)
  • Boogie Woogie Saturday Night (performed by Brokedown Cadillac) (3:30)
  • Southern Nights (performed by Brokedown Cadillac) (3:53)
  • Into the Fridge (6:50)
  • Long Goodbye (3:01)
  • Siphon Searches (4:00)
  • Make Me a Believer (4:09)
  • Bump and Run (1:14)
  • Unidentified Main Titles (3:10)
  • Jack and Kids Escape (2:58)
  • Tell Mr. Wolf I Meant It (0:50)
  • Train Wreckage Survey (0:46)
  • Burke’s Deal (4:19)
  • Tracking the E.B.E.’s (2:13)
  • Stand Off (1:48)
  • Tunnel Flight (2:17)
  • Excess Baggage (2:07)
  • Convention Escape (3:12)
  • Meet the Press (1:36)

Running Time: 54 minutes 52 seconds

Walt Disney Records Digital Download (2009)

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