Customer Reviews: Beyond Witch Mountain
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on March 26, 2012
The situation. This TV production aired as an episode of "The Wonderful World of Disney". The usual Sunday Night slot Disney aired for decades. This was a very "rudderless" period for the company and they tried a lot of experimental things. Most notable were remakes of successful films and sequels to them. Many were actually pilots for TV series based on the original films. These projects often involved new casts or, in the case of followups, different continuity. Beyond Witch Mountain aired the week after or possibly a few weeks after they aired the original classic Escape to Witch Mountain. It is really an unsold pilot for a series based more closely on the original and ignores the first sequel because it had mixed reactions from fans of the original. At the time it was very hip for critics to put down Disney for not being "relevant" or contemporary enough. It had been that way for over a decade. Even when Disney scored a hit at the box office, critics would criticize anything juvenile. Only re-releases of old "classic" Disney productions were tolerated. Films, usually the animated ones, made before the death of Walt Disney himself and before the creation of the Motion Picture Association of America and its ratings system. There was a major disconnect between the intellectuals who called themselves critics and what the public felt was safe for their kids to see. So, you had the X rated Midnight Cowboy winning "Best Picture" the same year that the G rated "The Love Bug" was number one at the box-office. Basically, Disney was clobbered by the newspapers over everything they made. In my own opinion I really cant think of a film from this period that I dont enjoy. This includes Return from Witch Mountain. At any rate Disney was finally starting to lose money and, apparently decided to cash in on the more successful films. The Wonderful World of Disney was often reinventing itself while its ratings were faltering badly. Sunday Nights were considered a "death zone" for ratings by all three networks. Disney started making TV pilots in an effort to claim more airtime, and on other nights. We saw remakes. sequels and pilots based on "The Apple Dumpling Gang" and a few others. All were inferior to the originals. One series that did sell, "Herbie The Love Bug" which reunited original Love Bug cast members Dean Jones and Michelle Lee in a sort of drawn out "remake" was cancelled after only a few episodes. After this Disney kept trying.
The movie. Well. This is hardly a movie. Its a 48 (without commercials) pilot for a series that did not sell. It tries to appeal to fans of the first who may not have liked the less whimsical and more science fiction heavy second film. Returning for this one is Jason O'Dea, once again played by Eddie Albert. Also back is Winky the winking black cat who shares a telepathic bond with the children. The original villains Aristotle Bolt and his henchman Duranian are also on hand and still trying to capture the children. This plot-line is a bit far fetched and it is difficult to imagine the writers coming up with a good excuse for the children to leave the safety of the alien colony "Witch Mountain" on a regular basis. In this episode the kids must find a lost cousin and bring him back to the colony. Other elements returning are Tony's use of a harmonica to control his telekinetic powers. The child actors dont resemble the original two in the slightest. Though, being a fan, I noticed that Tracy Gold, as Tia, has a voice that is very close to original Tia, Kim Richards. (If you close your eyes it can really throw you.) Likewise the other returning characters are cast very different than the originals. Its not bad, but its not great either and it is easy to see why this did not sell as a series. Other pilot films with similar plots such as alien colonists and psychic children had aired and failed to sell around the same time and this is lesser than most of those efforts. I suppose that the connection to the original classic film may have taken the edge off, at least in the minds of the producers and writers. I think that a full remake leading into the series might have been a better game. Its hard to jump from the movie, very obviously set in the mid 70s, to this one set in the early 80s. The fondly remembered camper has been replaced by a new model. The pilot begins with a recap of the events from the movie with footage lifted and intercut with the new cast suggesting that this is only a short time later and may even have been intended to negate the necessity of showing the original. But they did. A similar thing happened when HBO aired Psycho 4 back to back with the original. Psycho 4 has major continuity gaffs with all the previous films and airing it after any of them serves only to point them out. The same sort of thing is happening here, only not as bad. Obviously, you wont be forced to watch the other ones first so you can just enjoy this for what it is. A TV show. Incidentally Disney did a full remake of Escape to Witch Mountain for TV during their better days of the 1990s. I havent seen that version and I am hoping it will eventually be released. As for Beyond Witch Mountain... well there isn't much to it. at 48 minutes in length there isn't time to do much. The are captured, escape, and send the cousin to Witch Mountain. Then they return to Jason. The premise being that they would drive around the country looking for other lost aliens. Oh well. That didn't happen.
This disc. Yes. Its a DVD-R. This is really not a problem as this is not a major motion picture. If I had to bet I'd say that it probably looks far better here than it did on broadcast TV when it first aired. I did not even realize it was not a full length movie until I watched it. A lot of companies are duping these DVD-Rs as they wait to see what direction technology takes us. The business is headed in a lot of disparate directions at the moment and its hard to predict which tech will win out. Anyway, I have purchased a lot of these official releases. Thats right, OFFICIAL LICENSED FILM RELEASES. These are not bootlegs or illegal in any way. Mostly of major motion pictures but also some TV movies such as Disneys own Child of Glass (a TV feature made so well that it got theatrical play after its TV airing.) So far everything has been of standard DVD quality. I happen to own a DVD-R recorder and the quality it produces is perfect. Tell the naysayers to shove it or buy a better one.
Now that I really think about it. This would probably be a nice extra on the DVD for the original Escape To Witch Mountain, but thats all. Seems a bit silly, at 48min. to sell it even as a DVDR.
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on March 10, 2012
This movie short is a very poor follow-on from Disney's Witch Mountain series. It is set supposedly after the first movie, Escape to Witch Mountain, and completely ignores the continuity of the sequel, Return from Witch Mountain.
In the proper sequel, Tony and Tia are escorted back to the human world by the uncle who took them away to Witch Mountain at the end of the first film. They're teenagers, and it is clearly stated that the trip is their first time away from the Witch Mountain community since their rescue as children.

In Beyond Witch Mountain, the children leave Witch Mountain soon after being rescued and taken there, in order to follow their uncle who claims he is going to find his grandson. The uncle dies soon after leaving the mountain and in a quasi-Yoda moment, his body vanishes, leaving Tony and Tia to carry on the search for the missing child alone. This is the same uncle who is alive and well to deliver Tony and Tia to the city years later when they're teens going on their first vacation.

The only continuity adhered to is with the continued determination of Aristotle Bolt to capture the kids, and Jason O'Day's determination to keep them safe.

The only actor retained from the original movie is the actor who played O'Day. Tony and Tia are played by different children, which also detracts somewhat - given that the characters were played by the same actors in both Escape to Witch Mountain and Return from Witch Mountain. (They also cameoed in Race To Witch Mountain, as Sheriff Anthony and the waitress Tina)

Without having seen the proper Witch Mountain movies first, this might possibly be quite a watchable film short. The acting is quite acceptable, but the continuity errors are unforgivable.

Lastly, at a mere 48 minutes, this simply is not worth the money when full feature movies can be purchased for much less.
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on November 16, 2014
...would've been better as a 2 hour TV movie than a low budget series pilot (the series never got made). I liked the original Tony & Tia actors better but these two weren't bad ("Tia" takes the lead this time around) and Disney made some effort to follow the storyline from "Escape". There Jason O'Day spoke with Uncle Bene about finding other alien children, he seemed unaware there were any in this story, this would've made a much better movie than Return from Witch Mountain did (that storyline is completely ignored here).
Might be worth adding to your "Witch Mountain" collection in spite of the expense.
The picture quality is generally very good, good color and clear image- the sound level may be the lowest I've ever run across in a DVD, either turn it up or use the subtitling feature which I didn't expect to see on a "made on demand DVD-R". No menu, just a screen on which you click on "Play", the DVD does seem to have chapters so you can skip around a little. I was able to play it on a 2005 model DVD player so most later players should manage as well.
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on March 1, 2016
Ok so I needed this movie for my Disney Collection So Glad to find it here on Amazon !
The Quality of the film is not going to be perfect or high def this is an old tv special
but if you are looking to complete your movie collection this sequel can only be bought on dvd Disney Generations.
Worth a watch for sure check out young Tracey Gold !!
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on June 14, 2014
This is a much less interesting than the two films with Ike Eisenmann and Kim Richards, but she lets herself look. Privilégier largement les versions cinéma de "La montagne ensorcelée" sortie en 1975 et "Les visiteurs d'un autre monde " de 1978 !
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on August 11, 2014
very short story, 45 minutes, it wouldn't play on my computer, but it did play on my bluray player on the tv. I'm not sure why since it is a dvd not a bluray movie. Very grainy video.
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on February 16, 2013
I bought this for a friend who lives in an Assisted Living Facility. It was packaged perfectly and arrived in perfect condition. She loves the movie.
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on August 26, 2013
do not miss this disney live action classic it family fun for sure all children should be introduced to these classics --- nuff said!
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on November 9, 2013
I give it five stars despise this DVD title do not carry scene selection information or booklet inside. So it is no surprise.
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on August 11, 2013
Item was received. It plays and works very well. I am very satisfied. Thank you very much. Respectfully; Edward Shayne
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