I’m not sure I have ever heard a movie title cause as much confusion as Journey 2: The Mysterious Island seems to be causing. Outside the world premiere tonight people were asking “Journey 2? Did I need to see Journey 1 first? Was there a Journey 1?” Another asked “is it a sequel to Journey To Witch Mountain”… kind of an out there question considering the film was actually caused Race To Witch Mountain.
Well, put your troubled minds at ease because this is actually a sequel to Journey To The Centre Of The Earth which surfaced way back in 2008 and starred Brendan Fraser in the lead role. And I’m happy to say that chances are if you enjoyed the first one you’ll enjoy this one as well, because even though at times the film does stretch too far in a bid to get a laugh and has some ordinary (at best) special effects, at the end of the day it is a decent family orientated sci-fi/fantasy.
This time around the film centres on Sean Anderson (Josh Hutcherson – Detention, The Third Rule), who as loyal viewers will realise is the son of Trevor Anderson (the character that Brendan Fraser played in the original). Sean has followed in the footsteps of his father and is continuing to explore the works of Jules Verne in the belief that his work is based on fact and not fiction.
Sean’s mother, Liz (Kristin Davis – Sex And The City 2, Couples Retreat) is now married to Hank (Dwayne Johnson – Fast & Furious 5, Faster), a step-father he is struggling to bond with. However, the pair find common ground when Sean intercepts a coded message which he believes came from his grandfather, Alexander (Michael Caine – Cars 2, Gnomeo & Juliet), who in his eyes is a famous explorer and has just discovered Verne’s Mysterious Island. Buoyed by the call to adventure Hank and Sean leave for Palau when they find the other people willing to help find the island is helicopter pilot, Gabato (Luis Guzman – Arthur, The Caller) and his daughter Kailani (Vanessa Hudgens – Sucker Punch, Beastly).
For the most part Journey 2: The Mysterious Island works well. The script flows well, there is a good set-up of story and characters, so good in fact that you are willing to over look some of the amateurish special effects and even a few ‘well-it’s-lucky-that-happened’ moments…after it all it is a family film. But the one thing that I couldn’t overlook (because it’s one of those horrible film moments I feel I’ll remember forever) is a weird ab-bouncing scene that features Dwayne Johnson. The scene is completely out of place and is only there to try and get a laugh, director Brad Peyton (Cats & Dogs 2: The Revenge Of Kitty Galore, A Tale Of Bad Luck) really needed to just say ‘guys we aren’t filming that.’
Of course none of the actors are really stretched. Hudgens and Hutcherson recover from some incredibly cheesy moments to put in good efforts while Guzman shows (like he did in Arthur) he can pull off some comedy pearlers. Michael Caine as usual does a wonderful job and Dwayne Johnson shows strength in the fact that he can make fun of himself… oh and he sings, and I have to admit he doesn’t have such a bad voice.
Journey 2: The Mysterious Island is your typical family-friendly sci-fi-fantasy that is capable of entertaining the whole family… just remember that I did warn you about the ab-bouncing scene.
Director: Brad Peyton
Stars: Josh Hutcherson, Dwayne Johnson, Vanessa Hudgens, Michael Caine, Luis Guzman, Kristen Davis
Runtime: 94 mins
Out on DVD/Blu-Ray 23rd May 2012