UltimateDisney.com | DVD and Blu-ray Reviews | Disney Channel Original Movies | New and Upcoming DVD & Blu-ray Schedule | Search

Twitches Too: Double Charmed Edition DVD Review

Buy Twitches Too: Double Charmed Edition from Amazon.com Twitches Too
Movie & DVD Details

Director: Stuart Gillard / Writers: Dan Berendsen; H.B. Gilmour, Randi Reisfeld (characters)

Cast: Tia Mowry (Alex Fielding), Tamera Mowry (Camryn Barnes), Kristen Wilson (Miranda), Patrick Fabian (Thantos), Leslie Seiler (Ileana), Pat Kelly (Karsh), Karen Holness (Emily), Arnold Pinnock (David Barnes), Nathaniel Stephenson (Marcus), Christian Gallinger (Demetri), Jackie Rosenbaum (Beth Fish), David Ndaba (Felix), Jayne Eastwood (Mrs. Norseng), Kevin Jubinville (Aron), Anna Hardwick (Talking Statue #1), Donna Croce (Talking Statue #2), Chico the Donkey (Mrs. Karsh)

Original Air Date: October 12, 2007 / Running Time: 83 Minutes / Rating: TV-PG

1.33:1 Fullscreen (Original Broadcast Ratio), Dolby Digital 5.1 (English)
Subtitles: English; Closed Captioned
DVD Release Date: January 29, 2008
Single-sided, dual-layered disc (DVD-9)
Suggested Retail Price: $19.99 (Reduced from $26.99)
Black Keepcase

Buy from Amazon.com

By Aaron Wallace

Twins + Witches = Twitches. That's the formula that authors H.B. Gilmour and Randi Reisfeld set forth in T*Witches, their young adult book series that launched in 2001. Four years later, the Disney Channel employed Tia and Tamera Mowry (of "Sister Sister" fame) to bring a loose adaptation of the debut book to the small screen. Arriving just in time for Halloween, Twitches was a smash hit.
So successful was the movie that just a few months ago, Disney was inspired to tinker with the formula: Twins + Witches + 7 million viewers for the first movie = Twitches Too. The added variable worked wonders; the sequel grabbed as large an audience as the original did and ensured that America's second most famous set of twins won't fade away anytime soon.

The story picks up where the first Twitches left off. Alex (Tia Mowry) and Camryn (Tamera Mowry) are adjusting to life as sisters, having only recently discovered each other. Family life requires adjustment for the twins too, as they juggle spending time with loved ones in the mortal realm and their newfound mother and the obligations of princess-dom in the Coventry, their home in the magic realm. The tensions that come with that territory are intensified by Alex's enrollment in college (because how can a supernatural princess succeed without a Bachelor's degree?) and Camryn's uncertain romance with both her confused-by-identical-twins ex-boyfriend and a young gentleman with a secret in Coventry.

Roads? Where they're going, they don't need roads. Tia and Tamera go Back to... the Coventry. Camryn (Tamera Mowry) has a secretive new love interest (Christian Gallinger) teach her some magical restraint.

Of course, affairs don't remain peaceful for long in Coventry. As the twins learn more and more about their home, their past, and their mother's character, they begin to suspect that their father, presumed dead, may be something less than deceased. With that hope, though, comes the fear that Thantos -- the sinister uncle they vanquished in the previous movie -- might be back as well. The Queen (Kristen Wilson) shares their suspicion and warns them that when the impending solar eclipse arrives, they will again be called upon to use their considerable powers in tandem.

The "too" in Twitches Too turns out to mean "too much", as the sequel takes the fun of the original and flattens it. Whereas suspense was previously achieved through a simple but nonetheless effective narrative that hid enough cards to maintain interest through the end, this new story is instantly and thoroughly predictable. In fact, very little about the story changes at all, as if the viewer merely hit "rewind" and resumed watching just after the twitches met. Once again, there's a mysterious threat to Coventry that is probably related to their family and will likely require some massive spell and swirling wind to resolve. The only ambiguity served up is a possible revelation about the mother that seems intriguing at first but soon falls by the wayside, leaving one to wonder if they were simply reading too much into bad acting.

I'd be remiss if I neglected to mention the visual effects employed in the movie. This isn't anything new -- the cheap graphics that made original NES look state-of-the-art in the last movie are back in full force. Accompanying them are bizarre jolts in camera movement and jarring blur lines that are employed to emphasize the ominous. Typically, a popular sequel to a popular movie means visual effects will be at least equivalent, if not superior, in the more reliably profitable follow-up (The Santa Clause 2 and 3 not withstanding). No such luck here, I'm afraid, so grin and bear it (or shrug and hit "stop" -- whatever).

Karsh (Pat Kelly) and the new Ileana (Leslie Seiler) make a crash landing in the pool. Twins x Sister, Sister = Twister, Twister?

Also not helping are changes in cast, most notably the replacement of Jennifer Robertson with Leslie Seiler in the role of Ileana, one of two comical guardians for Alex and Camryn. Ileana and Karsh (the other guardian, happily reprised by Pat Kelly) were the primary sources of levity in the first movie, their occasional silliness countered by the good-hearted chuckles they conjured. In Twitches Too, the couple plan their nuptials and deliver the same brand of quip-laden bickering in the process. Seiler does a good job in filling the void but Robertson's absence is immediately noticeable. Perhaps her satirical Fox News Channel show wasn't cancelled quickly enough to allow participation here, but that's certainly to the detriment of comic relief in Twitches Too. Also confusing: the departure of David Ingram in the role of Aron.
I suppose cast changes are to be expected in a sequel, but given that it's a recent and popular series, it's particularly disappointing.

It's the Mowry sisters who get the bulk of the screentime, however, and it must be conceded that they do a fairly good job. It's not acting at its finest, but their performances are convincing, spirited, and unique from one another, a feat for some of the corny lines that the script feeds them. You might even call them a saving grace. If you're fond of the duo from their "Sister Sister" days or just have an affinity for the Halloween season (not that this movie has much to do with Halloween, mind you), you might just find Twitches Too diverting enough to be worth your while. The movie is flawed from top to bottom but it's also a Disney Channel Original Movie and so with expectations in check, it's easy to derive a little bit of entertainment value even where eye rolling will commence. Though far from the best of the network's original productions, I can't say I harbor any disdain for the movie; it's merely a forgettable story that fails to live up to its predecessor and offers little to encourage repeat viewings.

Twitches Too makes its home video debut on a Double Charmed Edition DVD. That banner might suggest there's some alternate release available but as of yet, there is not. The movie makes its unseasonable retail arrival this January with just a small serving of bonus features, profiled below.

VIDEO and AUDIO

The movie is presented in 1.33:1 fullscreen, matching its original broadcast ratio. The bonus featurette and the growing trend amongst Disney Channel movies both suggest that the movie was framed for both fullscreen and widescreen and therefore, a widescreen presentation does exist. It's hard to say that one is more appropriate than the other but on a light-weight disc like this, there's no reason that both could not have been included. The picture itself errs on the soft side but the problem isn't terribly distracting and is a result of the production, not the transfer to DVD.

Audio is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound, as opposed to the stereo sound of the original broadcast. As is expected from those origins, the sound doesn't expand much beyond the front-left and front-right channels, with only mild reinforcement in the center and rear channels and equally mild bass. Even so, the added channels do enough to give some sense of surround sound and is preferable to a stereo track for those with a surround sound system in their homes. For those who don't, the original stereo track could have easily been included as well.

Tia and Tamera Mowry perform a little real-life magic in the silly "Twitched: A Look Behind the Magic" featurette. Miranda's evil twin (Kristen Wilson) makes a surprise appearance in this alternate scene on the "Twitches Too" DVD. The 16x9 main menu pieces together various clips from "Twitches Too."

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS and DESIGN

There are two bonus features on the DVD, the first of which is "Twitched: A Look Behind the Magic" (6:49). This fluffy featurette makes the odd choice of pretending that Tia and Tamera Mowry are in fact real-life witches. Various special effects are on display as the twin stars appear, disappear, and produce objects out of thin air, while members of cast and crew play along.
At least those interviewed don't pretend that the same Ileana is back in action; there's actually some discussion of Leslie Seiler's replacement of Jennifer Robertson. There's no real insight to be gained here, however.

The more interesting bonus is an alternate scene entitled "Miranda Meets Her Evil Twin Sister" (1:34). In this, the twins' biological mother is surprised by the sudden apparition of her own twin sister -- a clearly evil character who hints at a more promising premise for the inevitable third installment in the franchise.

The 16x9 main menu is animated, with various clips from the movie a score selection playing behind the basic on-screen options. The sub-menus are still screens, likewise accompanied by score. The disc is equipped with Disney's FastPlay, meaning the movie will play automatically with a sampling of previews and bonus features unless the "menu" button is pressed.

The DVD is packaged in standard black keepcase, which is not (gasp!) housed in a cardboard slipcover of any kind. Inside is a chapter index card, several ads, and a magic code for the Disney Movie Rewards program. The disc art, which recreates the case cover art, is printed directly onto the disc.

The disc contains previews for: 101 Dalmatians: Platinum Edition, Wall*E, High School Musical 2 on DVD, "Hannah Montana": One in a Million, Minutemen, The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning, Snow Buddies, Enchanted on DVD, Disney Channel's "Wizards of Waverly Place", and the Disney Movie Rewards program. All of these are accessible from the sneak peeks menu. Additionally, a spot for Disney DVD and Blu-Ray disc plays when the disc is inserted.

She's blue, da ba dee, da ba die... Oh no! Alex (Tia Mowry) turned Camryn (Tamera Mowry) blue! Stand still -- cheap CGI can't see you if you don't move.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Twitches Too squanders most of its predecessor's appeal, relying on a similar but all too predictable storyline and downright ghastly cinematography and visual effects. That said, it is a TV movie sequel. Even by those standards, the narrative just doesn't hold up and at the very best, the movie is a mild and harmless diversion. The DVD offers little to compensate, with less than ten minutes of bonus material and only a fullscreen presentation when an alternate widescreen version could have easily been added on. The original Twitches movie is recommended. Its sequel, I'm afraid, is not.

More on this DVD / Buy from Amazon.com

Buy from Amazon.com

Related Reviews:
Twitches Return to Halloweentown Sabrina, The Teenage Witch: The Third Season
Halloweentown & Halloweentown II: Kalabar's Revenge (Double Feature) Halloweentown High
New to DVD: Hannah Montana: One in a Million The Game Plan Daddy Day Camp Lake Placid 2
Hocus Pocus The Suite Life of Zack & Cody: Taking Over the Tipton Cow Belles High School Musical 2
The Even Stevens Movie Escape to Witch Mountain The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
Boy Meets World: The Complete Third Season The Nightmare Before Christmas Bridge to Terabithia A Wrinkle in Time
The Parent Trap & The Parent Trap II The Santa Clause 2 Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End Ratatouille
Written by Dan Berendsen: Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie Hannah Montana: The Movie Cinderella III: A Twist in Time

Get 4 Disney Movies for $1.99 Each, Free Shipping!

UltimateDisney.com | DVD and Blu-ray Reviews | Disney Channel Original Movies | New and Upcoming DVD & Blu-ray Schedule | Search

Search This Site:

UltimateDisney.com/DVDizzy.com Top Stories:

Reviewed January 29, 2008.