Return From Witch Mountain (1978)

Genres - Adventure, Children's/Family, Fantasy, Mystery  |   Sub-Genres - Children's Fantasy  |   Run Time - 93 min.  |   Countries - USA  |   MPAA Rating - G
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Return From Witch Mountain reunites much of the creative team from Escape To Witch Mountain and, while the results are watchable, they never hit the heights of the previous film. The root problem is Malcolm Marmorstein's script, which has a rather weak plot (the villains seem to change their plans every reel) and cheapens its thriller plot with self-conscious cutesiness and goofy humor that panders to the kiddie audience in a way its predecessor never did. As a result, Return From Witch Mountain never rises above the level of an amiable programmer but the end result is too professional to be dismissed entirely. John Hough's direction remains as taut as ever and is aided nicely by crisp, colorful lensing from cinematographer Frank Stanley and solid visual effects from Disney's technical wizards. In terms of acting, Kim Richards and Ike Eisenmann are given less to do than in the previous film (another notable flaw of the script) but Christopher Lee and Bette Davis have a grand time hamming up as the film's over the top villains, adding an extra shot of life to the often formulaic proceedings. In short, Return From Witch Mountain is a lesser but fairly entertaining effort that has just enough going on to keep fans of the first film entertained.