Written by Hombre Divertido
If you have ninety-three minutes to kill, and some money for popcorn and a soda, you could find a lot worse at the theatre this summer. Yes, the 1959 version of Jules Verne’s classic tale is a far superior film, but the story is completely different here, and thus squelches specific comparisons. Yes, the plot lacks depth and the quick wit normally associated with a summer action film, the situations are preposterous, and the 3-D effects are actually somewhat disappointing. With all that said, this film is still worth seeing.
New Line Cinema and Walden Media have created a fun summer movie for the whole family reminiscent of the classic Disney films of the sixties. The pacing is smooth, the soundtrack is excellent, and though Brendan Frasier lacks the energy he throws in to the Mummy films, he still manages to make it enjoyable to watch him deal with the situations. Luckily the supporting cast adds the energy Mr. Frasier is lacking. Josh Hutcherson channels a young Michael J. Fox, and Anita Briem displays a screen presence that we will hopefully see much more of.
Frasier plays scientist Trevor Anderson who is saddled with his nephew Sean (Hutcherson) for two weeks. When signs point to volcanic activity being identical to those that lead to the disappearance of Trevor’s fellow scientist brother and Sean’s dad, they head off to Iceland. After hiring Hannah (Briem) as their guide they inadvertently trek downward to the center of the earth.
Writers Michael D. Weiss, Jennifer Flackett, and Mark Levin have created more of a sequel to the 1959 film, that could have used a more intricate telling and certainly more humor, but director Eric Brevig does well with what he has, and certainly provides enough of the standard and gratuitous 3-D effects.
Recommendation: Journey to the Center of the Earth (2008) is an amusement park rollercoaster that is not worth a long wait. It is fun for a few minutes but you will immediately be ready for whatever else the park has to offer.
You must leave your brain in the car for this, and it certainly longs to be part of a double feature, but the performances and simplicity of the story still manage to draw you in. Many theatres are not showing this in 3-D, and that would be the straw that would break the back of the oversized flying fang-toothed fish that attack our heroes, and make this journey not worth taking.