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Journey to the Center of the Earth
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127 out of 195 people found the following review useful:

See it in 3D. It's unbearable if you don't.

5/10
Author: The_Amazing_Spy_Rises from United States
12 July 2008

First off, let me say that I'm VERY glad I saw this movie in 3D. If I hadn't, I might have walked out. The instant strength of this film that comes to mind is the great use of the 3D technology. It has plenty of surprises, and it doesn't over do it at all. HOWEVER, this does not excuse the blatant cheesiness, stupid typical one liners from Brendan Fraser, nor the underutilization of such a fantastic concept.

The story isn't really based on the book by Jules Verne, it's more based on a group's adventure that uses the book as a guide. It's certainly a fantasy adventure that kids will enjoy, but adults may find themselves getting restless by the time the third act reaches us. I also have very strong complaints about the predictability of the film, which was so bad that I could predict what the characters would say, in addition to what was about to happen on screen. That's bad. It's a classic case of flashy visuals, horrid plot execution. It's a wasted concept that could have been a lot better had the film-making branched out from the narrow scope it obviously uses. In fact, I could see this exact premise working PERFECTLY in a Guillermo Del Toro or Tim Burton type horror film.

We really only got three characters in the movie (and less than ten speaking parts), so a lot rides on our three leads. First, our headliner and box office draw, Brendan Fraser. He may not be the best actor, and he may say some pretty stupid one liners that get old after the 800th time, but he still has the same charm that makes him likable in the Mummy films. I really think that this film is further proof that Josh Hutcherson is THE best young American actor. He's blossomed into a great young actor, after a stunning turn in Bridge to Terabithia, in addition to great shows in Zathura and Little Manhattan. I've never seen a kid (especially a boy, as the girls tend to be better performers at ages 10-16) show so much emotional range, not only in this movie, but throughout his already prolific career (he's 15 and has 24 acting projects in his career). He's one to watch for a very long time. Our third lead is Icelandic actress Anita Briem. She neither added or took away anything from the film, though I suppose that can be blamed on the script, as she is not well developed. Seth Meyers (yes, THAT Seth Meyers) provides some laughs at the beginning and end of the film.

I felt that the chemistry between performers was very good, and was one thing that kept me interested. I came to care for all three of them, and they worked well together. Fraser and Hutcherson in particular worked well as uncle and nephew. While I was disappointed in the narrow scope of the film's vision, what was contained within said scope was well done and entertaining. The 3D really made it better. Without the 3D, this film is nothing but a mere C-class fantasy adventure that will bore anyone above age 10. However, the chemistry of the actors and the 3D save it from somewhat disaster, and make the film a bit enjoyable. It's worth the price of admission to a 3D theater, for sure, but I advise you to bring a younger person with you (who knows, maybe you'll feed off their energy). To put it simple, every kid under 10 or 11 will love it, then watch it again in 10 years and go, "what was I thinking?".

WITH 3D: 5/10 WITHOUT 3D: 3/10

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105 out of 159 people found the following review useful:

Silly, but surprisingly enjoyable anyway

9/10
Author: bopdog from Great Pacific Northwest
13 July 2008

The reviewers of "Journey" are probably all correct: the logic is spotty, the premise is silly, and the requirement of the audience to suspend disbelief is beyond a typically successful film. However, despite all of that, I liked it! I went to see it because in my small town the offerings are rather slim, and I had seen everything else (is it me, or did this summer's films seem a bit clichéd and lame?).

Brendan Fraser has always been a great actor, with an agreeable presence. That he was the star here helped a lot. As did the newcomer actor, the Icelandic lady- Anita Briem. Somehow, one never seems to think of film stars as coming from Iceland. But she is comely and interesting to watch, and she looked good with Fraser. The supporting cast (and there wasn't much of them, as it was mostly CGI stuff, and not really populated with many humans, except for brief appearances) was also adequate, albeit they had little to do.

Overall, then, this was science fiction with an emphasis on the "fiction." Little here was even remotely believable. Yet taken together, it made an interesting visual contemplation of "what if?" and an enjoyable couple of hours at the cinema (for example, the characters free-fall to the "center of the earth," which would be 4,000 MILES down. Allowing for the rather slap-dash explanation of "magma envelopes" and all, we are nonetheless asked to believe they fell thousands of miles in a few seconds. The lava tube they fell down, fake as it was, was kind of evocative--- it did bring to mind a sense of mystery, and the powers of nature that are WAY beyond our everyday experiences, even if it was rather silly).

Oh, BTW, an obvious logic flaw--- if there really was a magma envelope surrounding the interior ocean and lush tropical paradise--- why didn't the free-fall take them through that, it being a sphere and all? Don't even think about it! Just enjoy the fairy tale.

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68 out of 111 people found the following review useful:

Big, dumb, Summer Fun

8/10
Author: Simon Parker from United Kingdom
12 July 2008

I first saw the trailer for Journey to the Centre of the Earth last Christmas when I watched The Nightmare Before Christmas in 3-d. I also remember clearly thinking what a load of rubbish it looked like. It appeared to be a gigantic gimmick, cashing in on the latest 3-d technology. The various TV spots and images I saw of the movie in the past few months has done absolutely nothing to dispel this notion. However this past week something happened I didn't really expect, the critics were giving it quite decent reviews, most praising it as ridiculously good fun. I was still sceptical, but also in some way intrigued, perhaps the trailers were just poorly done. So I went to see the movie today, of course in 3-d (more on that later) and was absolutely amazed at how entertaining the movie really is. While the movie does feel like a gimmick at times, do we really need that yo-yo scene, the movie also does seem quite well made. The performances too were good for a movie that really could just have been a cash in, Brendan Fraser is surprisingly likable and good in the movie, and Josh Hutcherson continues to deliver performances that all Hollywood kids should be delivering as good as. But most importantly its so much fun, the action sequences looks incredible in 3-d, and the landscapes of the actual Centre of the Earth do look beautiful. This is a 3-d movie, and make no mistakes by thinking it is worth watching in 2-d, it really isn't. The movie is a kids movie, and so we get an all too happy ending, but there is a brief moment of darkness before the end, and that too makes the movie all the better for adults.

So onto the performances. Brendan Fraser as I have said delivers a decent performance here. He seemed to have disappeared in recent years, but with both this and The Mummy 3 arriving in cinemas this year I am sure we might be seeing some more of him over the next few years. While he does have to deal with a lot of clichéd lines in the movie, he does also ooze charisma and seems a genuinely nice bloke. He also does a great double act alongside Josh Hutcherson as his nephew. Hutcherson really is an A-lister in the making in my opinion, while his performance here doesn't match what he did Bridge to Terabithia, he still makes a potentially average brat into a likable characters with genuine motivations. His characters transformation neither feels forced nor corny, and one moment with Fraser in front of a sunset is one of the many highlights of the movie. Anita Briem is also surprisingly good as the "Best mountain climber in the world." Once again this could be a run of the mill plot device character, yet she makes it a much more interesting one. The script gives her some good moments and she does have considerable chemistry with Fraser.

But of course the main attraction of the movie has to be its effects and of course the 3-d. The early part of the movie does feature the most gimmicks of the 3-d, we get the yo-yo scene, the spitting scene, etc. While they get the kids excited they're not the most exciting things to watch in the world and certainly don't make a good movie. Its when the trio go up to a mountain the 3-d really does work. Not only does the scenery look beautiful, but it feels alive as it pops out of the screen at you. Nightmare Before Christmas didn't do the 3-d too well, but Centre of the Earth really does it brilliantly. A mine cart chase is the cinematic equivalent of a roller coaster ride and really does get the adrenaline pumping. The much promised T-Rex sequence does not disappoint, and a surprisingly tense magnetic rock sequence (don't ask) looks all the better for the 3-d. The script is also much better than it really should be, in fact it actually works better than your average blockbuster to be honest. But as I keep saying do not waste your money on the 2-d version. I understand why they're releasing it in 2-d, the producers do need their money back, but it really will not be the same thing. Having seen Beowulf in 3-d and 2-d I know how much a disappointment the 2-d version can be after seeing the beauty of the 3-d.

Overall Journey to the Centre of the Earth may very well be the biggest surprise of the summer, and quite possibly the year. While it won't win awards it does entertaining, and the hundreds of kids who were in my screen today seemed just as impressed and entertained as I was. Also the promise of a potential sequel at the end of the movie didn't horrify me, in fact I'm ashamed to admit I'd quite happily watch another one if its delivered with the same quality.

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28 out of 37 people found the following review useful:

Dumb, Predictable 3 -D Vehicle

1/10
Author: qormi from United States
28 July 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Brenden Fraser and co. were capable and amiable enough to pull it through. The 3-D was a lot of fun. The movie itself was a joyride - a mindless joyride, that is. Just what do these people have to do to get hurt? I could slip in the bathroom and be out of commission for days, yet this fearless trio can literally fall thousands of miles down a hole and not get so much as a bruised hiney! They can speed over 60 mph on a rickety 60+ year old mine car without being derailed and jump farther than those Duke boys could in the General Lee! They can out run a T-Rex on the open field, explode through a volcano thousands of feet, cling to the underside of a rock like a fly, endure 130 degree heat without breaking a sweat, eat trilobites and not get the runs, and crash a hang glider from a thousand feet without skinning an elbow!!! At least the 1950's version retained some veneer of plausibility. These people even survived fiery explosions without a blister, found each other over scores of miles using a compass, and all in one and a half days? Yeah, I had fun watching it, but later on, you realize it may just have been the stupidest film you've ever seen! At least the script didn't call for the actors to take each other seriously, but this also robbed the film of any suspense whatsoever. Kind of like in a Spielberg film - you just know the kid's not going to get hurt no matter what. This film needed a villain or two because you just knew none of these three morons were going to get hurt. Just a 3-D vehicle for the sake of 3-D stunts.

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25 out of 34 people found the following review useful:

A Fun Movie For Kids Mainly

6/10
Author: ccthemovieman-1 from United States
2 November 2008

Plain and simple: this is a kids' movie. If you're an adult and you saw the previews with some genuinely-scary looking scenes and thought, "Wow, this looks cool" - be warned. Some of it is cool, but most of it isn't.

Most of it is Brendan Franser doing his "George Of the Jungle" routing of yelling and screaming, either trying to find this teen kid or in terror as he falling for being chased by something. In fact, the last half hour of this film will give you headache with all the yelling by all three major parties.

I didn't realize this film was out in 3-D. I saw it on a regular DVD and the special-effects, in 2-D obviously, looked so cheesy. Some of these scenes looked like they were right out of the Tarzan movies of the 1930s with the obvious screen in the background and the actors on a stage in front of it. So, see this 3-D, if possible, otherwise expect it took look pretty bad.

Teen girls in the audience will like Josh Hutcherson ("Sean"), a handsome young kid who looks ad sounds good, until he gets excited and his voice cracks. Ah, the joys of puberty. Meanwhile, teen boys will get an eyeful with Anita Briem ("Hannah"), a very attractive new face. Actually, Anita has a lot of credibility in this role, playing a character living in Iceland who, in real life, was born and raised in Iceland before moving to England at the age of 16.

As for the story, it's a re-make of the famous Jules Verne story about discovering a whole new world (without people) in the center of the earth, complete with amazing birds and frightening animals and fish. Despite the dumbness of the dialog, the first hour was watchable. As with many adventure stories, though, it gets totally carried in the final third of the film.

In all, the movie is fairly entertaining to the degree that adults wouldn't be bored if they took their kids. It's not really offensive except for one stupid play-on-words which is totally unnecessary. Other than that, this is a very clean film safe for kids of most age. There are parts, however, that are way too scary for the real young ones.

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17 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Journey to the center of my hurting eyes

7/10
Author: vegeta3986 from United States
29 October 2008

I know that title sounds a bit rough, but i did not hate this movie. quite the opposite in fact. i'm actually surprised in how much i enjoyed this movie. i really only rented it for the 3-D, but you know what? i had a lot of fun. and honestly, that was the best movie i've seen Brendan Frasier in since "the mummy". Brendan really is a lot better in action films then he is in comedy or romances. he should stick to action.

The film was a good time all in all. The characters weren't annoying as hell, it was a cute PG plot, and it taught some fun lessons.

I've been looking on the board and seeing that there's a lot of "that couldn't happen!" and "this movie is childish!" OK. look. it's a PG movie called "Journey to the Center of the Earth". It isn't a political documentary. Suspend your disbelief, sit back and enjoy it. Unless of course you want to hand me your 30 page dissertation on why Doc Brown's time machine is an impossibility. If you're not one of those sad lonely people, you'll find this movie quite a lot of fun. Not an epic masterpiece, but a lot of fun.

If i had to voice one problem is that they need to stop giving anaglyph glasses. it kind of hurts your eyes after a while. They have good 3-d glasses, don't they? they give them out in Florida for Terminator and the Muppet show, so why don't they include those? that would definitely make the movie better in my opinion.

Other than my hurting eyes though, this movie was a nice break from monotonous depressing dark plot based films.

With a fun premise, tongue in cheek humor, and decent 3-D effects, Journey to the center of the earth gets 7 glowing birds, out of 10

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17 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

Fairly enjoyable, but still not anywhere near great

6/10
Author: Dragoneyed363 from United States
4 December 2008

I was not dreading watching Journey To The Center Of The Earth, but at the same time I was not thinking it was going to be the best movie ever either. I was simply ready to be entertained. Well, when it started up, I immediately became interested, because it looked enjoyable and entertaining and I was being fair on it, no matter how much it was against my nature to try and bash it.

After awhile, as the movie continued on, I got a little restless, and at points flat out bored and uninterested. It was a good movie, but a lot of things were just unneeded and uninteresting, and also they tried to hard to make a cool, awesome, totally tricked out film when they should have focused a little bit more on plot and character structure. (They tried to hard to please the audience, as far as I could tell.) The performances were decent enough, I should add, as well.

Well, overall, it was a nice, enjoyable film, but it is nothing that I would just praise down to the very core of the film, or really care to watch again, because there is not much that absolutely "wows" you throughout the movie, but it entertained, and there were some pretty cool action scenes I guess. Watch with an open mind.

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76 out of 140 people found the following review useful:

Real D made this movie worth it

4/10
Author: Fabian Melchers from Netherlands
26 June 2008

So I just got back from a screening and I thought the movie was OK. Overall, it was just the regular adventure-movie. The actors weren't bad, but I had seen better performances of them. The story is kind of a standard one. A guy with no close relatives has to watch over a boy and goes on an adventure with him. I'm not gonna spoil the ending, but I'm probably not gonna be able to... Now, I do have to say that I wasn't bored during the movie; it was acted out well enough, and it had its thrilling moments. But those things wouldn't be enough to recommend it for, though. My main concern was that some scenes were just too obviously made to make the movie adventurous. (like a 'rollercoaster-ride' in a mine). The only thing I would recommend it for would be the Real-D. It's a huge difference with the regular (IMAX-)3D. The image is crystal clear, and it all looks very realistic, and it seemed like some shots were especially made for the 3D-effect (which really made me jump sometimes). So, if you're interested in new techniques, go see it in 3D, it's an interesting experience. The movie itself is just not really worth your money. It's a regular adventure-movie with good SFX, but nothing original or special in it.

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34 out of 60 people found the following review useful:

Pretty good stuff

6/10
Author: masterofsillythings from Cardiff
2 August 2008

Don't go and see 'Journey' if you're expecting either a solid interpretation of the Jules Verne novel, or a thrilling summer blockbuster. 'Journey' is light hearted fun, but as a piece of light hearted fun, it excels.

The story centres (no pun intended) around publicly abhorred professor Trevor Anderson (Brendan Fraser) whose lab in New York faces closure just as things are getting exciting (cough cough) with his research into volcanic something or other, a project derived from his obsession with the unexplained disappearance of his late brother. To further complicate things Trevor gets landed with his smart alec techy nephew Sean (Josh Hutcherson) and thus premieres a generic 'odd couple' relationship as the stuffy academic trades words and yo-yos with his post-mod companion.

Anyway, as soon as this gets underway, Trevor finds an excuse to jet off to Iceland where for one reason or another he descends two hundred feet into a volcano and after one big 3D disaster leads to another, he finds himself (big shock) at the centre of the earth, wherein he, Sean and annoying Icelandic guide Hannah (some unknown Icelandic actress making her unconvincing debut) encounter all manner of 3D perils and wonders including carnivorous plants, troublesome fish, massive great geyser thingies, and the impending doom threatened by an up and coming volcanic thermal heating up whereby everything gets roasted...oh, and a dinosaur...he's cool :D.

The good stuff? The storyline is a lot more cut to the chase than I've made it sound, the 3D effects are cracking, and despite being landed with the name 'Trevor', Brendan Fraser makes for a great lead. I've always been a casual fan of his since seeing the Mummy as a child, and whilst this role isn't much of a challenge for the erstwhile Fraser, he commands the screen when he's present and is thoroughly entertaining throughout. The kid who plays Sean is decent support as well. There are some truly great visuals, and although the mine cart chase disappoints, the raft ride does not; it's a visual feast and a great action piece that would be perfect if not for the 'we're on a fishing trip' line thrown in by Hutcherson.

The bad stuff? Hannah Asgeirsson is cringeworthy as the love interest/ guide figure, a character it is impossible to like or even find interesting. The storyline is pretty predictable, and in terms of story and set pieces, 'Journey' doesn't really offer anything that hasn't been done before, and often better. A couple of the jokes fall flat, and the 3D glasses are pretty annoying, although probably not nearly as bad as the film would be in 2D; I can only assume it loses much of its merit.

So 'Journey' is never going to compete with previous genre flicks such as Jurassic Park, but it never really sets out to, which is the salvation of the film; everything is done with a casual wink to the audience; we're all in on the joke that the film is a bit naff. Whilst you're in the cinema it's great fun, but on reflection 'Journey' is little more than a memory jog of better films. Go for the 3D cinema experience, but don't bother with the DVD, because the more you watch this, it's probably going to become more and more tired.

Ultimately, Journey to the centre of the earth is a solid family film that thankfully never tries to be anything more. Good summer fun, and the finest effects you'll see this summer.

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44 out of 80 people found the following review useful:

Journey to the Center of the Earth (2008) Movie Review from The Massie Twins

Author: GoneWithTheTwins from www.GoneWithTheTwins.com
11 July 2008

While Journey to the Center of the Earth will readily appeal to its target audience of youngsters and the easily impressed, its ridiculous story won't earn the respect of any longtime Jules Verne fans. The jokes alternate between rather amusing and blatantly failed, but the creative implementation of 3D effects pleasantly surprise, balancing out the whole Journey into a much more palatable affair.

Everyone knows you can't travel to the center of the Earth. Everyone except for publicly criticized science professor Trevor Anderson (Brendan Fraser), who journeys to the mythical "world within a world" to unravel the mystery surrounding the disappearance of this brother. Accompanying him is his nephew Sean (Josh Hutcherson) and their pretty mountain guide Hannah (Anita Briem) who will join in his fantastic adventures in a lost land of terrifying creatures and prehistoric danger.

Glowing hummingbirds, magnetic floating rocks, and giant carnivorous plants may sound pretty silly, and that's because they are. However, when such creations are thrown into a 3D movie they become spectacular moments of visual brilliance. Except perhaps the floating rocks. But Journey does well in its main reason for existence, and generates an ample amount of creative uses for its medium. From things jumping out of the screen, to more things jumping out of the screen, Journey wastes no opportunity to throw every manner of object or deadly creature at its audience, resulting in an abundance of visual stimulation and a noticeable absence on solid storytelling. At least the former was expected.

The true "Verneian" will be dismayed to learn that little remains familiar between this latest adventure to the Earth's core and the original novel. And while it may be unfair to compare it to the book or even the 1959 film, director Eric Brevig's vision often feels like an excuse to use a famous title rather than a sincere adaptation. Goofy comedy replaces earnest, though far-fetched, explanations and the unfriendly locale thrives on stereotypical monstrosities designed specifically for dimensional effects. Odd musical bouts aside, the '59 version utilizes a human antagonist for an extra layer of depth on a film already submerged deep within the Earth's crust, and a race for discovery accompanies the challenge of survival. This new Journey substitutes in a young boy for a young man, a bumbling scientist for a genius professor, and an animated avian for an Icelandic handyman, but at least the female protagonist remains, this time in the form of a mountain guide. Unfortunately all elements of drama and romance take a backseat to the outlandish action and phosphorescent birds.

If curiosity (or the kids) gets the better of you and you must take this Journey, make sure you see it in 3D. Otherwise, once the story rapidly tires, the only thing you'll be able to fall back on is the headrest of your theater chair.

- The Massie Twins

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