In my last few D-BOX reviews, a few key phrases have cropped up that may give the illusion that Motion Code is losing some of its “wow factor.” When readers hear things like “nuanced motion” and “subtle movements,” it’s not surprising for people to ask whether gentle rocking has become the de facto D-BOX effect. In reality, that’s not the case at all. Instead, D-BOX was waiting for the perfect time to pull out all the Motion Code stops. And Race to Witch Mountain provided just such an opportunity.
Race to Witch Mountain is the latest Disney film to include D-BOX support, but more important, it’s the latest entry in D-BOX’s “see, we can create big ol’ movements too” chapter. From beginning to end, Race to Witch Mountain balances subtle movements with Motions that will flat-out make you smile with glee, and more often than not, those larger movements are the type viewers will experience in this film.
Although D-BOX movements are coded throughout the film — starting with the very opening spaceship sequence, which sends the D-BOX chair rocking realistically — two key sequences really stand out. Appropriately enough, the two scenes act as bookends of sorts for Race to Witch Mountain as well, providing both a great introduction to what the film offers and a fantastic “send off” when viewers are mentally preparing for the closing credits.
[Spoilers ahead] The first D-BOX scene that really stands out takes place when Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and the teenage alien siblings are racing away from the alien assassin. D-BOX always has its finger on the pulse of car-chase sequences, but when you combine a car-chase scene with railroad tracks, a tunnel, hills and an alien spaceship in hot pursuit, you know you’re in for something hot. Sure enough, D-BOX’s engineers pulled out all the stops throughout this sequence, with the actuators firing on all cylinders to send the viewer rocking and rolling while Johnson’s taxi careens through the nighttime desert at high speeds. When the pursuit heads toward a tunnel — with an oncoming train, no less — the action really picks up, highlighted by the massive explosion when the pursuing alien craft bursts into flames upon its impact with the diesel locomotive. Chase scenes and explosions…it really doesn’t get any better than that when it comes to D-BOX Motion Code, and this scene includes both of them in a nice, tidy and enjoyable package.
The second memorable scene comes near the end of the film, at its predictable but no-less-effective climax. When the alien siblings try to pilot their spaceship out of the government-controlled hangar, the D-BOX code leads to every sway and dodge being picked-up by the chair, making viewers feel almost as though they’re sitting alongside the kids in their Jetsons-like bubble car. Equally important, the nearby explosions and less-than-gentle impacts with the subterranean tunnels and walls provide several entertaining jolts that really heighten the experience. The subwoofer helps give the impacts some audio oomph, but it’s the D-BOX Motion Code that really brings the bumps to life.
Action movies are generally great candidates for D-BOX support, and Race to Witch Mountain’s no different. However, it’s encouraging that the film — which straddles the action and comedy genres — manages to balance grin-inducing high-octane Motion with the more-subtle camera and other movements that so many D-BOX-equipped films have exhibited of late. Just when you think D-BOX is starting to show more support for the theaters than home viewers, a film like Race to Witch Mountain releases on Blu-ray as a reminder that the company that pioneered Motion for the home theater most definitely has its home-entertainment audience in mind. This is definitely a film that people should see with D-BOX-equipped seating; the experience is so much more riveting than without.
- Score: 9
— Jonas Allen