Journey 2: The Mysterious Island
Journey 2: The Mysterious Island
Director: Brad Peyton
Writers: Mark Gunn, Brian Gunn, Richard Outten, Jules Verne
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Michael Caine, Josh Hutcherson, Vanessa Hudgens, Luis Guzmán, Kristin Davis, Anna Colwell, Stephen Caudill, Branscombe Richmond, Walter Bankson
Synopsis: Sean Anderson partners with his mom's husband on a mission to find his grandfather, who is thought to be missing on a mythical island.
Loosely based on the sequel to Jules Verne's sequel novel to "20,000 League's Under the Sea", which was aptly titled "The Mysterious Island."
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some adventure action, and brief mild language
Another action film filled with eye candy, while offering little in the way of substance
Although it's certainly no secret that Jules Verne is considered one of the most gifted writers of all time, and that many of his stories were way ahead of their time. Plus, you can't deny how unbelievably creative the man was to create many great and innovative stories. Unfortunately, I can't say that about this movie. Granted, I'm not going to say this is a bad film, as anyone who expects a great story, from a movie like this, deserves to be severely disappointed. No, it's another run of the mill popcorn flick at it's best.
You have great visuals that defy the viewers' imagination, while offering over the top humorous moments between Dwayne Johnson and Michael Caine. And, you have a sappy love story between Vanessa Hudgens (Kailani) and Josh Hutcherson (Sean), where he falls instantly in love with her for no other reason than he thinks she's hot. Of course, she hates him at first, but eventually she falls in love with him at some point. If that wasn't enough, you have a cliche step father and step son story arc where Dwayne's character, Hank, tries to connect with Sean. Again like Kailani and Sean, they don't hit off so well at first, but at some point, you know things will be alright in the end.
Movies like these are nothing if not insanely predictable as sin. People don't watch movies like "Journey 2: The Mysterious Island", for a complex story, nor do they expect deep thought provoking characters. No, the purpose of this film is to entertain it's audience with a fun thrill ride for the entire family to enjoy. On that note, it does succeed. Although some of the images can be a bit frightening, but it's never enough to where I would advise it being too graphic for a parent to take their child to.
The film is loosely based on the Jules Verne novel, "The Mysterious Island." In this latest chapter, Sean is living at home with his mom and step father, Hank. Like all films of this ilk, Hank tries to bond with him, but Sean thinks he's a moron and a jerk. Why is it that step fathers get no respect in family comedies? Anyway, it turns out Sean gets a mysterious code from his grandfather that he can't quite solve, but Hank is all too willing to help in order to bond with him. Once they decipher the code, it leads to coordinates to a mysterious island that was depicted in Jules Verne's novel, "Mysterious Island." It also makes references to other classic books in literature, but I won't spoil that for those that haven't seen the movie. To make a long story short, Sean is hellbent to drop out of high school to find this island, as he believes his grandfather is there waiting for him. Hank obviously says no, but this only leads to more friction between them.
As luck would have it, the mysterious island happens to be located in an area within the Pacific Ocean, where no ship has ever allegedly survived going through it. Needless to say, they have a tough time trying to hire a pilot that'll fly them out to those coordinates, as only a damn fool would fly out there. But for plot convenience, Gabato (Luis Guzman) is that damn fool that's willing to risk his life, and his teenage daughter's life, to fly to such dangerous waters. Gee, isn't always nice that we have gullible morons to move the plot along in movies like this?
From here, they land on the island where they eventually end up meeting Sean's grandfather, Alexander (Michael Caine). Like Sean, Alexander hates Hank, and constantly takes cheap shots at him throughout the rest of the movie. I won't say what else happens, as most people can probably deduce this from watching the trailers alone. But as I said before, nobody watches these types of films for their deep characters, or thought provoking stories. No, they watch watch them purely for escapism purposes, so there's really no point in bashing the plot to this movie, as it would be the equivalent of trying to take a film like "Jackass" seriously.
However, I will talk about everything else though. I thought the cinematography and visual effects were great, as to be expected. Normally, I can always spot various CGI inconsistencies in films like this, but I have to say the special effects artists did a fairly good job animating many of the CGI elements of this movie. Sure, it's obvious that almost half this film is shot in front of a blue screen, but it's passable enough to where it never becomes distracting.
Dwayne Johnson and Michael Caine do their best to carry the movie, in spite of a mediocre script to work with, and Luis Guzman was fairly decent as the comedy relief in this movie.
As for the 3-D elements, I can't really comment, as I didn't see the 3-D version. However, the color schemes throughout this movie are bright and colorful, so it would suggest that the 3-D CGI will probably end up being impressive to see.
In the end, I think as long as you go in to see this movie with fairly low to no expectations, then you might like it okay. However, if you're expecting a great adventure story in ilk of what Jules Verne would've probably written, then you'll be very disappointed. No, this is just a popcorn flick, as I mentioned earlier. Meaning you just go in to see the film, and then you just enjoy the ride for what it is.
Having said all that, I would probably hold off seeing this movie until it comes out on DVD/Blue Ray, as it's not one of those movies that's worth seeing in theaters; unless you're just into 3-D films that'll rape the hell out of your eyes with visual effects. If that's the case, then this is definitely you're movie. Overall though, I'd probably have to give this movie a two out of four. It's definitely a fun family movie to watch with your kids, but I wouldn't expect too much out of it.