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(2009), PG [Lite 13-PG*] (1hr 34min)

Final Score
Analysis Date
Date Posted
Influence Density
August 8, 2009
ugust 12, 2009

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Christian Long Distance

(While the Scriptural references are certainly not subjective, my commentary may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)

If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary.

(2009), PG [Lite 13-PG*] ... is heavy in action violence; ... is a lite 13-PG

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Gunn Films
Distribution (US): Walt Disney
Director(s): Andy Fickman
Producer(s): Andrew Gunn, Mario Iscovich, Ann Marie Sanderlin
Screenplay by: Matt Lopez, Mark Bomback
Screen Story: Matt Lopez
Book: Alexander Key
Cinematography/Camera: Greg Gardiner
Music: Trevor Rabin
Film Editing: David Rennie
Casting: Sarah Finn, Randi Hille
Production Design: David J. Bomba
Art Direction: John R. Jensen
Viewed on Disney Home Entertainment DVD

Race to Witch Mountain is rather violent. It is heavy in action violence but also presents physical assault repeatedly, vehicular assault with reckless endangerment of kids repeatedly, abduction at gunpoint and a l-o-t of gunfire to kill, some of the gunfire to kill at kids. The content of Race to Witch Mountain is so violent that its Wanton Violence/Crime investigation area score is equivalent to the final score of some R-rated films. Not so much due to individual instances of hard violence but in the sheer number of instances of "lesser" violence. This relatively new technique of loading or weighting a film with tons of "lesser" violence to satisfy the inherently conditioned thirst for more and more excitement to get the same "feel" as films with a more severe rating is briefly explained in our CAP Rule of 1000 publication.

Certainly sci-fi flicks of the olden days had aliens beating up Earthlings but with the technology of the day one did not see the victim go flying 50 feet after being hit then slamming into something. That change in severity is a measure of the idiom I coined to describe the matter: We have become so drugged, so morally numbed by the narcotic effect of extremes in and as entertainment that what once was morally unacceptable has become morally invisible. We now expect such "extreme" so much in our entertainment diet that we are dissatisfied without it. We have become addicted! Each new experience requires more to achieve the same "high." And Race to Witch Mountain is filled with doses of the "drugs" that have caused that addiction. "...what once was..." unthinkable in and as entertainment for youngsters "...has become..." commonplace. An example of the hard violence is a young teen boy standing in the middle of the highway while a SUV at highway speed slams into him with the SUV disintegrating around him.

The violent content along with the forced drugging of two kids, all the "magical powers" and the lies were expensive to the scoring distribution for this film, leaving a final score of 64. With that final score Race to Witch Mountain is a "lite" 13-PG, meaning a film rated PG by the MPAA but earning a [lite] PG-13 equivalent score. PG-13 films in the comparative baseline database earned a scoring range of 55 to 67 out of 100. The reasons for the PG-13 equivalence final score are the film content is R-equivalent in the investigation areas of Wanton Violence/Crime (W) and in Offense to God (O), PG-equivalent in Impudence/Hate (I) and Drugs/Alcohol (D) but perfectly G-equivalent (scores of 100 out of 100 each) in Sexual Immorality (S) and Murder/Suicide (M).

Far off in the distant but yet visible desert a spaceship traveling at 90K crash lands among the scorpions and Gila Monsters near Searchlight, NV, a population of 567 at last census. The government calls the landing a chlorine spill to shield the public and cordons off a 5-mile perimeter, closing off I-95 indefinitely. While Henry Burke (Ciarán Hinds) of some high powered government agency within the Department of Defense and a large contingent of government fleas search the landing site for evidence of anything, two Extraterrestrial Biological Entities (EBEs) scurry off in the tumbleweeds.

As ace driver and ex-con Las Vegas cabbie Jack 'Hold On' Bruno (Dwayne Johnson), an orphan since 16, beats off attempts of Frank (John Duff) and Marty (Bob Koherr), two men from his previous criminal life to drag Jack back into crime as a getaway driver, the two EBEs from the spaceship -- a couple young alien teens, Sara (AnnaSophia Robb) and Seth (Alexander Ludwig), 3000 light years from home -- appear in the back seat of Jack's taxi. With a wad of $15,000 Sara and Seth stole from an ATM the duo demands Jack, who thinks the pair are just a couple of "innocent, All-American" teens, to "go in that direction."

Little did Jack know that Sara and Seth were trying to get back to their spaceship to return home to save their planet from ecological death and to prevent annihilation of all humans from the Earth. Sara and Seth's parents had discovered a way to regenerate ecological life on their planet using an experimental outpost here on Earth.

With their parents imprisoned by the military of their planet (who favored extinction of human life on Earth rather than reviving their own planet), Sara and Seth came to Earth to retrieve the experiment data stored in a hand-held device Sara pulled out of a large glob of clinging goo. They must get back to their planet with the data to replenish the vegetation of their dying planet before the military of their planet occupies the lush green Earth and wipes out all human life on it. No problem ... except Burke stole the spaceship and is trying everything in his arsenal of tricks to capture -- or kill -- the kids.

Fortunately Dr. Alexandra Friedman (Carla Gugino - Night at the Museum, The Unborn, a "nutjob" speaker on astrophysical anomaly detection at a Planet Hollywood UFO Space Expo 9 convention, is available to help. Together with the help of fellow "nutjob" Dr. Donald Harlan (Gary Marshall) the Earth-saving force of five now have not only a plan to get the spaceship back but the means to do so -- Jack Bruno.

To say "no problem" was premature. There is a serious problem for Jack and the kids -- the Siphon warrior, series Deranium 75 created by the military of the kids' home planet. The Siphon is a Terminator™-like beastie who is out to kill Sara and Seth and will not stop until the kids are dead or until it is destroyed. And then there is Burke. And their transportation, the taxi getting nearly demolished. The train. Andrew Wolfe (never seen) and his goons. And ...

On a side note for they who use the closed captioning (CC), this DVD is not accurate in many places. For example, Dr. Alex Friedman speaks "Closed minded skeptics are always welcome" while the CC text indicates "Skeptics are always welcome." Another example is when Sara utters "We know you are frustrated, Jack Bruno" while the text says "You're frustrated, Jack Bruno." None of the noted missing CC text detracts significantly from the script but it is a nuisance, especially since the two "EBEs" do not use contractions. Shades of Star Trek™ Next Generation. That is the one of maybe several hints from other films such as from the original The Day the Earth Stood Still. If you decide to watch this movie, see how many you can identify and let me know.

Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - Zero out of 100
There is a heavy content of violence in Race to Witch Mountain. While a few instances of violence are rather extreme like the SUV hitting Seth, the rest of the instances of violence are much more mild but there are so m-a-n-y of them. Lots of vehicular assault and reckless driving with endangerment. A large train explodes on impact with an aircraft flown by the Siphon at the entrance of a tunnel (while the script later explains there were no deaths). There is a lot of weaponfire to kill two children and a man. Abduction at gunpoint. Firearms at heads. More. [Prov. 16:29]

Impudence/Hate (I) - 82 out of 100
Not once is a single utterance of profanity noted. Not once. I guess that is why the MPAA "overlooked" the plethora of more severely influential violence. Lies freckled the story [Rev. 21:8]. And the government tried to conduct experiments on the kids. [Luke 17:2]

Sexual Immorality (S) - 100 out of 100
There were no examples of sexually-oriented content noted.

Drugs/Alcohol (D) - 79 out of 100
There were no instances of alcoholic beverages, illegal drugs or abuse of prescription drugs noted but the one instance of forced drugging of the kids to subdue them took its scoring toll.

Offense to God (O) - 26 out of 100
In several instances the kids demonstrated having unearthly powers but there was only one use of God's name in vain and then without the four letter expletive. [Deut. 5:11]

Murder/Suicide (M) - 100 out of 100
No murders or suicides were noted.


If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ] or bold. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.


  • John 8:11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.
  • Rom. 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: ["Righteous" is translated to mean in a wide sense upright, virtuous, keeping the commands of God. In plain English that means no one is without sin.]
  • Prov. 16:29 A violent man enticeth his neighbour, and leadeth him into the way that is not good. [The issue is the violence, the 'way that is not good' no matter how "small" or "justified" it might seem, and its effect on the observer. "A violent man" can be a man or woman or child, the act of demonstrating violent behavior/action whether for good or evil OR the violent behaviors/actions themselves. Such exposure can and does embolden the viewer into aggression, especially youth. It took years for American professional health agencies to finally affirm, probably without knowing it, that which God told us in 1 Cor. 15:33 below. See also Joint Statement on the Impact of Entertainment Violence on Children: Congressional Public Health Summit for more information. Further, God speaks darkly of violence 56 times in the Old and New Testament of the KJV.]
  • Rev. 21:8 But the [unforgiven] fearful [deilos {di-los'}; timid, cowardly], and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers [sexually immoral], and sorcerers [all forms of evil/magic to force or do harm], and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
  • Deut. 5:11 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain. [Vain is shav {shawv}: emptiness, nothingness, vanity, such as an expletive. With or without the four letter expletive, the use of God's name in any way other than respect, reverence or responsible discussion is in vain. That includes the popular three syllable sentence with His name trailing it AND the misuse of Jesus' name or title. So, trying to excuse such expressions with "I was talking to God/Jesus when I said that" will not work with Him.]

    ***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
  • Jer. 37:9 This is what the LORD says: Do not deceive yourselves, thinking, 'The Babylonians [the destroyers from within] will surely leave us.' They will not!
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about [e.g., create progressively vile/offensive entertainment with impunity and no consequences and present it to younger and younger audiences every year] when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, enjoy it, want it, submit to it. I call attention to Ps. 12:8 to warn of the creeping desensitizing power of "entertainment."]
  • Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man [by his influence] spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 Be not deceived: evil [kakov: of a bad nature, not such as it ought to be] communications corrupt good manners.
  • Rom. 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
  • Jude 1:4 For there are certain men* crept in unawares [secretly slipped in among us], who were before of old ordained to this condemnation [whose condemnation was written about long ago], ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness [a license for immorality], and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
  • Luke 17:2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. [Offend: skandalizo {skan-dal-id'-zo} - scandalize; to entice to sin; to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey; to cause to fall away.]
  • Ps. 119:133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me [let no sin rule over me].
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. ["Evil" includes all things that are sinful.]


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
    (The objective heart of the CAP Analysis Model, independent of and insulated from the Summary / Commentary section.)

    Race to Witch Mountain (2009) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - Zero out of 100
  • threat to kill, repeatedly
  • defensive assault
  • theft of $15,000 by children
  • vehicular assault, repeatedly
  • pursuit to kill or capture, repeatedly
  • child in road hit by SUV with SUV disintegrating
  • fear factor
  • weapon fire, some to kill two children and a man
  • train demolished by collision with alien aircraft
  • many firearms for offensive action, repeatedly
  • firearms at heads to control
  • animal attack
  • abduction at gunpoint
  • control by firearms
  • reckless driving to pursue and escape, repeatedly
  • physical assault, repeatedly
  • action violence of varying intensity
  • peril
  • use of deadly force authorized against children
  • long episode of heavy gunfire to kill kids
  • long episode of heavy gunfire to kill alien
  • beating

    Impudence/Hate (I) - 82 out of 100
  • government lie to deceive public
  • lies, repeatedly
  • conducting experiment on children

    Sexual Immorality (S) - 100 out of 100
  • none noted

    Drugs/Alcohol (D) - 79 out of 100
  • forced drugging of two children

    Offense to God (O) - 26 out of 100
  • much use of unearthly "magical" powers
  • unexplained appearance of a being
  • one use of God's name in vain but without the four letter expletive
  • demon-looking being

    Murder/Suicide (M) - 100 out of 100
  • none noted

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    There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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