The first Journey to the Center of the Earth was one of the few precursors to the 3D craze that has engulfed most of the commercial cinematic world today. Targeted at kids, it knew what is was selling and its audience well, so what it lacked in plot and characters, it sort of made up in the novelty of throwing objects at you in 3D. However three years later, there has been a surge of 3D movies, so how does the movie stack up against the new entrants? If you have the guy who directed the cinematic monstrosity Cats & Dogs 2 Brad Peyton at the helm of things, theres little you can honestly expect from the product.
Sean (Josh Hutcherson) has a aged a little from the first film and is a staunch Vernanian (someone who believes the writings of Jules Verne to be true) now. When he decodes a message, it provides the co-ordinates of what he believes to be the island in Jules Vernes book The Mysterious Island. The message is supposedly sent by his grandfather who has been missing for the past two years while looking for the island. Sean and his protective step-father, Hank (Dwayne The Rock Johnson) set off for the island located somewhere off the coast of Palau. In Palau they charter a rickety helicopter owned by, Gabato (Luis Guzman) whos daughter, Kailani (Vanessa Hudgens) tags along for the ride. After braving a storm or two they reach the island which is a lush paradise with a reversed biogeography, i.e. elephants the size of dogs and lizards the size of T-Rexes. They are soon met by Seans grandfather, Alexander (Michael Caine), who has made quite a comfortable living on the island and through his explorations has discovered quite a few secrets about it. However trouble looms on the horizon with the island slowly sinking back into the ocean and with time running out, our motley crew has to put all their literary knowledge of Vernes, Jonathan Swifts and Robert Louis Stevensons works to figure out a way off this rock.
Everything in the plot is just an excuse to showcase some cool VFX and 3D effects. Other than a few quips by Luis Guzman and Michael Caine the only things worthwhile are a few references to the literary works of the authors mentioned above. Thankfully the movies short running length makes sure we dont have to endure some horrendous writing for longer, though on the flipside why even 90 minutes?
The 3D much like the first film chooses to throw things at you randomly which at times works and thankfully the movies even in its darker scenes retains much light to not diminish the 3D effects. The countless slow-motion sequences will ensure that this is a show reel for many 3D brand television sets.
Journey 2 The Mysterious Island will work best for the children and with its old-school Disney style adventure template, it has the potential to be a repeat watch on home video.