Journey 2: The Mysterious Island is the sequel to 2008's Journey To The Center Of The Earth
but very little of the original set-up or cast is continued.
Sean Anderson (Josh Hutcherson) receives a very weak coded signal and sets about trying to solve its meaning to find his grandfather (Michael Caine - Harry Brown
), whilst his step-dad Hank (The Rock - Faster
) tries to help to further bond with him. After some extremely dubious cartography (in which they just happen to have the three books in the correct editions & scale so the pages match up) they find the island and set sail to Palau, the nearest land to the supposed location of the island.
When Hank & Sean arrive in Palau, they recruit father-daughter helicopter-tour-operators Gabato (Luiz Guzman - Waiting
) and Keilani (Vanessa Hudgens - Sucker Punch
) to lead them to the coordinates. But Gabato's rickety helicopter can't handle the raging permanent storm that surrounds the coordinates and the quartet are soon washed up on the eponymous mysterious island. Now that they have found it, will Sean manage to find his grandfather? Will they ever get home?
Well, where to begin? As the title might suggest, this is classic Warner-Brothers; this is overproduced and under scripted. The special effects are amazing and slightly over the top, the script is mind-numbingly straight-forward but I did laugh at a couple of the jokes. Luiz Guzman plays the lovable doofus character brilliantly and his hero-worship for The Rock is cringe worthy, but very funny nonetheless. The juvenile love story between Sean and Keilani is laughable but hey, this is designed for all ages, so I guess the kids will enjoy this. Especially with the extended scenes full of vivacious colour and action (flying bees, fields of flowers, waterfalls, volcano etc)
The scene with the Rock and the berries was a totally random inclusion but shows off the 3D aspect of the film very well if the capacity you are watching it in allows it. Where this lost a star for me was that despite being a feel-good film that keeps the entire family glued to the seat, so much of what is said in the film is just plain factually wrong (not the giant bees, tiny sharks or anything purely for entertainment like that) - for example; the island has a picturesque cone volcano and yet Sean says "the tectonic plates are pulling apart" - which doesn't result in a volcano thusly-shaped. The Rock turns out to be some sort of closet-geophysicist-shaman who can predict, down to the hour, the rate of 'soil liquefaction' (a legitimate but completely unrelated process, to do with earthquakes) the island has left before it slides into the sea from a quick glance at the floor. Later; boy-genius Sean self-assuredly states that they are being chased by a White-throated Needletail bird, but the huge CGI bird is clearly the much-more visually pleasing Bee-Eater. I appreciate WB are making an attempt to involve books, biology & physics in the story, promoting reading & intrigue in younger generations; but then why fill their heads with scientific misinformation?
Extra content: Gag reel, deleted scenes - some of them worthy of inclusion in the main film; the Blu-ray has an interactive featurette on the interaction of actors and CGI components.
Anyhow, apologies for the lengthy rant. I just thought this was a great film aside from that; it left me feeling good and it's wholesome fun for the entire family, beautifully acted by the capable cast and supported by some wondrous CGI. Well worth a watch for a quality WB film.