Professor Trevor Anderson receives his teenager nephew Sean Anderson. He will spend ten days with his uncle while his mother, Elizabeth, prepares to move to Canada. She gives a box to Trevor that belonged to his missing brother, Max, and Trevor find a book with references to the last journey of his brother. He decides to follow the steps of Max with Sean and they travel to Iceland, where they meet the guide Hannah Ásgeirsson. While climbing a mountain, there is a thunderstorm and they protect themselves in a cave. However, lightening collapses the entrance and the trio is trapped in the cave. They seek an exit and fall in a hole, discovering a lost world in the center of the Earth.Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
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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