Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (Rated PG)
- Starring Josh Hutcherson, Dwayne Johnson, Michael Caine, Luis Guzman, Vanessa Hudgens, Kristin Davis
- Directed by Brad Peyton
- Plot: Sean Anderson heads out with his step-dad to find a mysterious island where he believes his grandfather disappeared.
If director Brad Peyton’s career goal is to take mediocre films and make crappy sequels, I have to say, he’s two for two. Peyton directed 2010’s atrocious Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore. Here he takes on the sequel to 2008’s Journey to the Center of the Earth.
Josh Hutcherson returns as Sean Anderson, but Uncle Trevor (Brendan Fraser) is out and insert Sean’s new step-dad Hank (Dwayne Johnson). Instead of following in the footsteps of Sean’s Uncle Max, this time Michael Caine steps in as Alexander, Sean’s grandfather who has been on a quest for island Jules Verne wrote about in The Mysterious Island. Alexander gets a radio signal out, and soon Sean and Hank are on their way to find the island. Throw in Gabato and Kailani (Luis Guzman and Vanessa Hudgeons) as guides and they’re off on an adventure.
The movie basically follows the same script as Journey to the Center of the Earth, with only slightly different perils. One of the few clever parts of the script involves Verne, Jonathon Swift and Robert Louis Stevenson writing about the same island, but that storyline never really comes to anything other than being an interesting idea. There is probably a good movie in that idea – Journey 2 is not it. The only mystery in The Mysterious Island is how this script got approved.
While the movie is extremely flawed, it’s not totally unwatchable. Dwayne Johnson is always charming on screen when he does these family-friendly films. While I’m much more looking forward to seeing him kick some ass in G.I. Joe, he makes the film watchable. Guzman is good for a few laughs. Caine can take pride in the fact that this isn’t the worst film he’s ever made – he’ll always have Jaws 4: The Revenge.
Hutcherson and Hudgeons, who appears to be in the film solely to give Sean someone to make moony eyes at, have very little chemistry and that forced relationship never really seems to make sense.
I didn’t see this in 3D, so I can’t comment how the effects look in that dimension, but in 2D, the CGI is subpar. It’s not SyFy bad, but it’s not a whole lot better either.
The real problem with the movie comes down to poor storytelling and poor directing. The stories of Jules Verne are low-hanging fruit, perfect to be adapted to the big screen with today’s technology. Unfortunately, we get films like this instead.
If you would like to see Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, it is currently playing at the Cinemark Movies 12 in Ames, Iowa. Tuesdays the theater runs a special where all seats are just $5.00. Remember though that this does not include the 3D premium. If you live outside the Ames area, check out Fandango for theaters and showtimes near you.