Disney+ Roundup – ‘Race to Witch Mountain’, ‘The Haunted Mansion’ & ‘The One and Only Ivan’

Hello everyone! 🙂

Welcome to ‘Bradley’s Basement’ blog and I’m Tim Bradley!

It’s that time again for me to share a Disney+ Roundup on a few films I’ve seen recently. Incidentally, I’m currently halfway through ‘Ms. Marvel’, one of the ‘MCU’ shows on Disney+. Hopefully, it won’t be too long before I check out another ‘Star Wars’ Disney+ show as well as Season 3 of ‘The Orville’.

The first of the latest films I saw on Disney+ was ‘Race to Witch Mountain’, starring Dwayne Johnson in the lead role. This is a 2009 sci-fi adventure thriller film that is a part of the ‘Witch Mountain’ film series. I’ve not seen the other ‘Witch Mountain’ films and I can safely assume that it’s standalone. 🙂

Dwayne Johnson plays Jack Bruno, a Las Vegas cab driver who is also a former convict. He picks up two kids – AnnaSophia Robb as Sara and Alexander Ludwig as Seth – who are trying to get back to their home planet and are on the run. These two kids happen to have special powers when on Earth.

I’ve seen AnnaSophia Robb before in Tim Burton’s ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’, ‘Bridge to Terabithia’ and recently in ‘Because of Winn-Dixie’. I enjoyed her performance as Sara, who is the more empathic of the two siblings compared to Seth. Seth is distrustful of Jack Bruno and his help. 😐

The film also features Ciarán Hinds (1995’s ‘Persuasion’, ‘The Nativity Story’ and two versions of ‘Justice League’) as Henry Burk, the leader of Project Moon Dust, who is chasing after Sara and Seth. And there’s Carla Gugino (the ‘Spy Kids’ movies) as Dr. Alex Friedman, a discredited astrophysicist. 🙂

Cheech Marin (who was also in ‘The Spy Kids’ movies) appears in this film too. ‘Race to Witch Mountain’ is a very enjoyable film to check out on Disney+. I enjoyed Dwayne Johnson, AnnaSophia Robb, Alexander Ludwig and Carla Gugino as the heroes and Ciarán Hinds as the villain in this film.

The second latest film I saw on Disney+ was ‘The Haunted Mansion’, a 2003 supernatural horror comedy film, starring Eddie Murphy. Eddie Murphy is well-known for voicing Donkey in the ‘Shrek’ films. I wish I could say that I truly enjoyed Eddie Murphy’s comic antics in ‘The Haunted Mansion’. 😦

Sadly, I feel that Eddie’s comedy stance doesn’t match to the horror movie aspects that are required in this film. I did see this film when it came out at the cinema. I didn’t like the film first time, but upon revisiting it, whilst still not rating it highly, it’s not as bad as I recall it being from first viewing it.

Apparently, the film is based on the Walt Disney theme park ride, much like the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ films were based on their Walt Disney theme park ride. Disney were clearly wanting to make a success with ‘The Haunted Mansion’ like they did with the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ movies.

That sadly didn’t turn out well, as the film received negative reviews, despite performing well at the box office. Apparently, the film was directed by Rob Minkoff, one of the directors of 1994’s ‘The Lion King’ as well as being the director of the first two ‘Stuart Little’ movies. Wouldn’t have guessed that. 😀

The film also has Terence Stamp (well-known for playing General Zod in the ‘Superman’ movies with Christopher Reeve) as well as Wallace Shawn, Marsha Thomason and Jennifer Tilly. I enjoyed seeing ‘The Haunted Mansion’ a second time on Disney+, but I wouldn’t watch this over and over again. 😐

The third film I saw recently on Disney+ was ‘The One and Only Ivan’, a 2020 fantasy drama film that is based on the 2012 children’s book of the same name by K. A. Applegate. Apparently, this film was inspired by the true story of Ivan the gorilla, which does get showcased before the film’s end credits.

The story is about a gorilla named Ivan who tries to piece together his past with the help of a baby elephant named Ruby. They and their friends hatch a plan to escape from captivity at the Big Top Mall and Video Arcade. I would have preferred it if the film had the animals not talking like they did.

The film also features the animals as being computer animated. It does look to be very convincing CGI-animated animals and apparently, this film was nominated for BAFTAs and Academy Awards for its visual effects before it lost to ‘Tenet’. A pity, since ‘The One and Only Ivan’ is generally a nice film.

Ivan the gorilla is voiced by Sam Rockwell. There’s also Stella, a wise elephant voiced by Angelina Jolie, who is also one of the film’s producers. There’s Bob, a stray dog voiced by Danny DeVito; Snickers, a poodle voiced by Helen Mirren; and Ruby, the baby elephant, voiced by Brooklynn Prince.

There’s also Henrietta, a Polish chicken, voiced by Chaka Khan; Murphy, a white rabbit, voiced by Ron Funches; Thelma, a macaw voiced by Phillipa Soo; and Frankie, a sea lion voiced by Mike White. There are also Ramón Rodríguez, Ariana Greenblatt, and Bryan Cranston as some of the human characters. 🙂

The three films I’ve seen lately on Disney+ have been very entertaining. ‘The Haunted Mansion’ is the weakest of the three films, whilst ‘Race to Witch Mountain’ has been an enjoyable sci-fi adventure and ‘The One and Only Ivan’ has been a pleasant animal film that’s based on a true story.

Stay tuned for another Disney+ Roundup on ‘Bradley’s Basement’ soon. 🙂

Thanks for reading!

Bye for now!

Tim 🙂


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