Journey To The Centre Of The Earth 3D
Review by Jack Foley
GIVEN the choice, families should opt to see this latest update of Jules Verne’s literary classic in 3D form as it offers the most enjoyment (it’s also being released in 2D).
Journey To The Centre of the Earth marks the feature film debut of Oscar-winning effects veteran Eric Brevig (Total Recall/Pearl Harbor) and therein lays the clue to its strengths. It’s fun on a technical level, but falls some way short of recapturing the enduring brilliance of the novel (which was first published in 1864).
Visionary scientist Trevor Anderson (Brendan Fraser) travels to Iceland with reluctant nephew Sean (Josh Hutcherson) to investigate a set of strange geological happenings that could be linked to his brother’s disappearance some years ago.
They quickly find themselves trapped in a cave with their beautiful guide (Anita Briem) and bid to escape by heading deeper into the Earth’s core, where they eventually encounter a never-before-seen world and its savage, surreal creatures (as described in Jules Verne’s novel).
Younger viewers will no doubt enjoy the 3D gimmicks, which involve tentacled creatures, fluttering birds and roaring dinosaurs, but Brevig’s film is likely to disappoint anyone with a strong appreciation of the original text, or with a strong knowledge of similar genre movies.
Visually, it’s never less than spectacular and benefits from appealing central performances from each of its three leads.
But there are some huge lapses in logic (underlined by the curious lack of perspiration from characters who continually bemoan the rising heat), as well as a pretty shoddy script that relies on loud, repetitive screaming over any genuine insight (scientific or emotional).
Some of the action sequences also clearly derive their inspiration from better films (with Indiana Jones & The Temple of Doom a clear favourite).
In the end, Journey To The Centre Of The Earth feels like a deceptive experience where the surface level thrills only go so far in masking the many problems at its core.
Running time: 90mins
UK DVD Release: November 3, 2008