Friday, February 10, 2012

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island is the sequel to 2008's Journey to the Center of the Earth, but you definitely don't have to see the first movie in order to understand this new installment. Unfortunately, although the 3D is great and the visuals are top-notch, Journey 2 is definitely lacking, and the script could have been a lot better; not even Michael Caine and The Rock manage to save this movie.

The film opens when Sean (Josh Hutcherson, The Kids are All Right) breaks into a satellite facility, and gets in trouble with his mom (Kristin Davis, Sex and the City 2) and his step-dad, Hank (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Fast Five), who luckily has some friends on the police force. Sean later explains to Hank that he was trying to decode a transmission from a radio, but his signals weren't strong enough to pick up the full transmission, which is why he broke into the facility. Hank, who was a decoder in the Navy, helps him translate the message, and it says "The island is real" and gives the island's coordinates. This excites Sean, because his grandfather (Michael Caine, Inception) has been missing for two years, and it was always Sean's opinion that he found the "Mysterious Island" that Julius Verne and other storytellers refer to in their adventure books.

The coordinates lead to an island off the coast of Palau, and Hank, looking to bond with Sean, agrees to go with him to Palau to try and and find the island. When they arrive there, only one man, Gabato (Luis Guzman, Arthur) is crazy enough to agree to take them to the island, as the locals are of the opinion that it doesn't exist. Sean is fine with this, though, because of Gabato's daughter, Kailani (Vanessa Hudgens, High School Musical 3), whom you can already tell he will end up with at the end of the movie. When their helicopter encounters a funnel cloud over where the island should be, they get sucked into it, and find themselves on the island itself, where they find Sean's grandfather, who has been living there for over a year.

The 3D in this movie was amazing. I doubt it was filmed in 3D, but between those effects and the lush visuals, the movie is definitely beautiful to look at. In one scene, the characters are riding giant-sized bees, and you can actually see the hairs on the bees (computer-generated, I'm sure) as they fly by. There were a few funny lines scattered throughout, but most of the time the script was cliche and overly simplistic; the movie really shines when there are action scenes happening within it. Josh Hutcherson, who next month will be known the world over as Peeta from The Hunger Games, was in the original Journey, which has about 70% on Rotten Tomatoes, but I predict this movie will receive far less praise.

Maybe see this film, and if you do see it, spend the extra $3 or so to see it in 3D. It's definitely not the worst kids movie out there right now, but it's far from being the best; if you are only looking for an entertaining story, it will fulfill that need. I wish the script itself was better so that I could give the film a higher recommendation, but unfortunately the laughable story is full of plot holes. Fans of The Rock will probably enjoy this film, though I prefer seeing him more in adult-type movies (gangster/action), and I am pretty sure that Michael Caine just did this movie for the paycheck. If you're thinking of seeing this solely for Josh Hutcherson, I'd recommend waiting for The Hunger Games next month.

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island is in theaters today, February 10th, and is rated PG with a runtime of 98 minutes. 2.5 stars out of 5.

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