Top positive review
Journey to the Centre of the Earth’s lesser known companion
on 27 February 2017
I don’t care if it makes me a saddo, I love this film. True, it’s not as good as Journey to the Centre of the Earth and, yes, I would have loved Brendan Fraser and Anita Bream to return, but they didn’t and at least we got a follow-up of sorts.
It’s been a few years since Sean Anderson had his adventure at the center of the Earth. He’s living with his mother and stepfather, Hank, who is struggling to connect with him and live up to the memory of his dad and uncle, when he receives a mysterious coded message aimed solely at Vernians. This sends Sean off on an adventure to Verne’s Mysterious Island and a reunion with his long-lost grandfather.
I can’t really say too many negative things because a film that has a submarine being jump-started by a giant electric eel should really not be taken seriously. It has its tongue firmly in its cheek. The cast look like they’re having a laugh and Michael Caine and Dwayne Johnson make a surprisingly funny double-act. I could cringe at the sight of Johnson singing along to a ukulele, but he’s actually pretty good at it. Or I could moan about the objectification of Vanessa Hudgens, except that her character, Kailani, is not just there for eye-candy. She has a pivotal part in getting Nemo’s journal, she looks out for her dad and she firmly puts the panting Sean back in his place. Michael Caine looks like he’s having a ball as the eccentric adventurer Alexander Anderson, trading barbs with Hank. And, yes, maybe Luiz Guzman as Gabado has been saddled with the silly comic relief role, but there’s a reason for that - he happens to be just as good at comedy as he is at drama. Ultimately the film has a nice message about parents and kids - Gabado and Kailani, Sean and Hank - sticking together and looking out for each other.
Effects-wise, there are some nice set-pieces, the standouts being the lost city, Nemo’s cave and the Nautilus. The film looks hyper-colourful and gorgeous, especially in blu-ray. Mostly, I like this film because (along with Journey 1) it’s one of the few films that I can enjoy with my 6-year-old nephew without having to worry about it having anything inappropriate in it. Nephew loved Journey 1 and has started his own rock collection (Which makes things easy for me: ‘What do you want for your birthday/Christmas?’ ‘Nice rocks please.’). He was thrilled when I told him there was another Journey film even if he did moan that there was no Uncle Trevor or Hanna and the mum was different. But he got over it. And, unlike me, he found the pec-popping hilarious.
It would have been nice to have a Journey 3 and I would have liked to have seen what they did with a moon visit, but as Josh Hutcherson is now in his twenties, I can’t see that that’s going to happen. But at least we got this one. It may be silly but its heart is in the right place and it’s just plain fun.
Special features on the blu-ray includes a lot of short featurettes on the making of various scenes in the film. You have to play a sort of interactive map to get to them which I found really long-winded but my nephew enjoyed it. There’s also a funny gag reel and some deleted scenes which hint that they were weren't too sure how to write out Brendan Fraser. Downside there isn’t a (old-school) 3D version of the movie with the cardboard glasses like Journey 1 which is a shame.