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Journey 2: The Mysterious Island - Review

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 2 out of 5

IF A film realises its own stupidity is it OK to give it a good review? In some cases, yes, but in the case of Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, the answer is a begrudging ‘no’.

Two big things go against Brad Peyton’s belated follow-up to 2008’s Journey To The Centre of the Earth: firstly, the total disregard for anything remotely plausible or realistic throughout most of this sequel; and secondly, the fact that it opts to base itself around a classic piece of source material without employing the same kind of principles that enabled Jules Verne’s work to stand the test of time.

Rather, it seeks to make the most out of current filmmaking technology (ie, 3D and the fun that can be had with it) while sticking rigidly to formulaic blockbuster values. None of the characters feel real or even remotely complex, while many of the supposedly spectacular locations, too, look computer generated.

The plot finds teen Jules Verne expect Sean (Josh Hutcherson, reprising his role from the original) picking up a distress call from a supposedly ‘lost island’ and determining that it’s coming from his adventurous grandfather (Michael Caine).

With his disapproving new step-father (Dwayne Johnson) in tow, Sean sets about locating the island with additional help from a comedy pilot (Luis Guzman) and his conveniently attractive daughter (Vanessa Hudgens).

And so the scene is set for countless coming-of-age scenarios that teach Sean how to be less selfish and allow Johnson’s new father-figure into his life.

Admittedly, not everything about Journey 2 is a disaster. The 3D is actually good and Peyton delights in throwing all manner of things out of the screen (lava, bugs, water, etc) so as to keep the younger target viewers entertained.

While the interplay between Caine and Johnson is nice… both clearly have the measure of the material and strive to make it appear better than it really is. Johnson, especially, has a nice line in self-deprecating humour, even going so far as to bounce cherries off his man-boobs at one point, while Caine throws himself gamely into the more physical elements and gets to ride a giant bee at one point.

But even their best efforts can’t disguise the mundane and predictable nature of the script, which feels particularly half-hearted, or the overly stereotypical nature of the characters. Even some of the CG creations look fake, which diminishes the sense of peril somewhat.

Hence, while Journey 2 does realise its own limitations and stupidity, and will keep the kids amused for most of its duration, such factors still don’t make it a good movie. Given that it’s inspired by the timeless work of Verne, it’s borderline scandalous that it’s so instantly forgettable.

Certificate: PG
Running time: 94mins
UK Release Date: February 3, 2012