Reviewed by Kevin Finnerty
“It’s a code. The Island is real,” says Hank (Dwayne Johnson) as he helps his stepson, Sean (Josh Hutcherson), break a code which leads to a map of, and the directions to, the famous Mysterious Island that both Jules Verne and Robert Louis Stevenson wrote about in their classic novels in the 3D action film, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island.
Believing his grandfather (Michael Cain) is the one sending the coded message, Sean is determined to find the Mysterious Island. Not being able to stop him but wanting to protect him as best as he can, Hank decides to join the quest. The two adventurers join up with a helicopter pilot (Luis Guzman) and his lovely, annoying daughter, Kailiani (Vanessa Hudgens), to fly out to the Pacific Ocean where they hope the Island is located. As the helicopter gets closer to the area indicated on the map, the helicopter is swept up and down by a terrible storm at sea and thrown right into a tornado.
Sean opens his eyes to find Hank helping him up off the beach while Kailiani and her dad ask the obvious question, “Where are we?” After finding a cave that leads them off the beach, Sean quickly discovers the true wonder and amazement of where they have crash landed…The Mysterious Island itself. Awestruck by the wonder and beauty of the place and shocked by creatures such as tiny elephants, a giant lizard, and the biggest bees in existence, the four stranded survivors head out to explore the Island, search for Sean’s missing grandfather, and try to find a way off the island to get back home.
Silly and unoriginal, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island is a ridiculous, unexciting, fantasy adventure that will have the audience wishing for the fun and thrilling classic Disney films from the ’50s and ’60,s including 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Journey to the Center of the Earth.
The film has horrible writing with a predictable plot and terrible, uninspired dialogue such as, “Run! Run! Run! Run!” or “If we get squashed…I’m blaming you,” and almost all the characters are one dimensional. The only exception is the helicopter pilot played by Luis Guzman who has the only few funny lines in the film. There’s also no urgency or real fear coming from the characters as they struggle countless times to escape certain death. These survivors are in danger… But Not Really.
The CGI special effects and the 3D are more than just lacking in the movie, with everything from the tiny elephants to the giant lizard to the island itself looking incredibly fake. With all the advancements in movie magic special effects these days, there really is no excuse for that in a fantasy, adventure film of this genre.
The best part of Journey 2 is the five minute Looney Tunes animated short starring Daffy Duck and Elmer Fudd tied to the beginning of the movie which has all the humor, fun and originality that should have been in the feature length film.
Bad on so many different levels, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island should, like the island in the film, sink to the bottom of the ocean where it belongs.
Journey 2: The Mysterious Island hits theaters on February 10, 2012 and is rated PG for some adventure action, and brief mild language.
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