Secrets of the Mountain

Movie review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Secrets of the Mountain Movie Poster Image
Fun adventure pic is packed with positive family messages.
  • NR
  • 2010
  • 84 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

The story centers on Aztec legends, so there’s at least a hint of something for viewers to chew on.

Positive Messages

The movie illustrates the challenges families face to stay connected with each other in a fast-paced modern society and inspires the idea that it’s never too late to start over and close the gap between family members if everyone’s willing to try. In one scene, a teen girl falls prey to her peers’ prank when they send her a bogus text supposedly from a cute guy -- illustrating the need to be cybersavvy.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Dana is a hard-working divorced mom who frets over her kids’ well-being and would do anything to keep them safe. She gives her teens the distance they want but intervenes when she believes it’s necessary. Teen siblings bicker incessantly throughout most of the movie, but resolve their differences in the end.

Violence & Scariness

One scene shows a man’s presumed demise as he’s run off a cliff in his Jeep, which explodes in the canyon below. A few brief fistfights don’t draw any blood, but one punch to the face knocks a guy out cold for a while. Uncle Henry draws a gun in self-protection a couple of times, but it’s never fired. The family’s adventures bring them face to face with decomposed skeletons in an underground crypt.

Sexy Stuff

Teen siblings sometimes tell each other to “shut up.”


The movie is a joint endeavor from WalMart and Procter and Gamble, and there are a handful of instances of conspicuous placements of Great Value (WalMart’s brand) foodstuff as well as P&G products like Tide. The show also features some musical selections, which are available on the movie’s soundtrack that's packaged with the DVD being sold exclusively at WalMart.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this action-packed adventure movie for TV is jointly sponsored by WalMart and Procter and Gamble, which translates to some obvious product placement for the store’s brand name, Great Value, and P&G products like Tide. Violence is limited to a few fistfights and an explosion that is said to have killed a man, and there are plenty of tense moments as the adventurers risk their lives. Overall, though, the positive themes of trust, respect, and love that are central to the story win out over any iffy material.

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What's the story?

Since her divorce from their father, emotions have been strained between Dana (Paige Turco) and her three kids -- teen twins Jake (Crawford Wilson) and Jade (Adelaide Kane) and younger sister Maddie (Kayla Carlson). When she receives a generous offer to sell the land she inherited from her Uncle Henry’s (Barry Bostwick) death years ago, Dana recognizes the opportunity for the family to get away from the hustle and bustle and reconnect with each other. But when they arrive in town and sign away claim to the mountain, fate takes an unexpected turn and sends them on a high-stakes treasure hunt for legendary Aztec artifacts -- and for the family ties they thought they’d lost.

Is it any good?

Buried treasure, hidden codes, a long-lost map, ever-lurking danger -- this entertaining film has all the makings of an action-adventure flick that could rival peers like the Indiana Jones series. True, the outcome is fairly predictable for anyone who’s not still in grade school, but surprisingly in this case, that pitfall doesn’t detract much from the overall enjoyment of the film. What’s more, the movie pays such close attention to the intricacies of the family members’ emotional journeys toward each other that this heartwarming storyline actually overshadows the treasure quest.

This is a truly worthwhile movie that will please nearly every member of your family. Young kids are the exception because there is a lot of drama, some violence, and plenty of uncertainty – as well as a lingering villain-type character who tries to sabotage them – all of which might upset their sensitive natures. As for adults, the chance to watch a movie with the whole family is enough to compensate for the predictability and blatant product placement.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Parents and their kids can discuss family relationships. Preteens: What aspects of the family’s struggles in this movie could you relate to? How does your family address problems as they arise? How do you stay in contact with each other? How has your relationship with your parents changed as you’ve gotten older?

  • Families can also talk about how we study the past. How do scientists gather data and clues to how people lived centuries ago? How has technology improved their ability to understand what they find? Is it important to study people and places of the past? Why or why not?

  • Tweens: What kind of adventure appeals to you? Do you want to travel and see new places? How can you explore the area where you live? Where can you find out about its history? What local museums and organizations can help you rediscover the places you already know? 

  • Talk about cyberbullying. In the movie a character gets a text from someone pretending to be someone else. Teens: Has this ever happened to you? What can you do to protect yourself and others from cyberbullying?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love adventure

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