Favorite

Same as it ever was: Journey 2: The Mysterious Island 

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (PG)

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

Before diving into the multi-faceted characterizations and thorny metaphysics of Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, this important disclaimer: I never saw the original 2008 Journey to the Center of the Earth. Somebody please inform me if that renders me incapable of appreciating the subtle subtextual nuances.

But here's why I feel safe in evaluating the follow-up unencumbered by knowledge of the predecessor: The Hollywood sequel has evolved to the point where specifics of previous installments are irrelevant. This isn't just another tirade against the whole idea of sequels; that particular barn door has long since been left wide open. But sequels in general at least used to be about allowing viewers to reconnect with well-liked characters. Journey 2 continues a trend in action blockbusters that used to be seen only in assembly-line horror franchises: Hike up the numeral, and make everything else as generically familiar as possible.

In this case, that means the 2008 Journey's lead actor, Brendan Fraser, doesn't return for this voyage. Dwayne Johnson takes his place, playing Hank, the new stepfather of Josh Hutcherson's Sean from the original. Sean is still obsessed with the "Vernian" theories that have been a family obsession — the notion that all of Jules Verne's fantastic tales were actually non-fiction.

So when Sean intercepts a coded message that he believes to be from his grandfather, he and Hank head off to the South Pacific to charter a helicopter into an uncharted region, eventually crash-landing on a mysterious ... well, it's right there in the title.

Director Brad Peyton, a veteran of the unnecessary 3-D action sequel Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore, and his screenwriters are clear about exactly how to build the formula elements into Journey 2. The comic relief is provided by Luis Guzmán as Gabato, the helicopter pilot who wanders around being scared in a high-pitched voice. The whiff of respectability is provided by Michael Caine as Sean's adventurer grandfather. Romantic interest/youth appeal comes from Vanessa Hudgens as Gabato's daughter, whose defining character trait is being uninterested in the puppy-dog attentions of Sean before being interested in them. And just so that it's not all about people running away from giant lizards, we get the strained attempts by Hank to be a much-needed male role model for Sean.

Given the high level of monotony, it probably made sense to the filmmakers to slam everything into high gear right away, taking as little time as possible to get from Sean's suburban moping to the dangerous beasties on the island. A frenetic pace provides distraction from the absence of an actual story. But it's frustrating to sit through yet another movie in which no one appears to care that adventure works best when the biggest investment isn't the special-effects budget, but the audience's investment in the people running from the digital dangers.

At the very least, Journey 2 is smart enough to get old-school pop out of its use of 3-D. That provides some uniqueness in what is otherwise an example of Hollywood's marketing machine turning sameness into a virtue. The routine that has allowed Dwayne Johnson to step into the Fast and Furious and G.I. Joe series is part of making sure that a sequel isn't just a sequel to one particular movie. You want it to feel like a sequel to every movie.

scene@csindy.com

Film Details

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island
Rated PG · 94 min. · 2012
Official Site: www.themysteriousisland.com
Director: Brad Peyton
Writer: Richard Outten and Brian Gunn
Producer: Beau Flynn, Charlotte Huggins and Tripp Vinson
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Michael Caine, Josh Hutcherson, Vanessa Hudgens, Kristin Davis and Luis Guzmán
Journey 2: The Mysterious Island 3D
Rated PG · 94 min. · 2012
Official Site: www.themysteriousisland.com
Director: Brad Peyton
Writer: Richard Outten and Brian Gunn
Producer: Beau Flynn, Charlotte Huggins and Tripp Vinson
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Michael Caine, Josh Hutcherson, Vanessa Hudgens, Kristin Davis and Luis Guzmán
Journey 2: The Mysterious Island: An IMAX 3D Experience
Rated PG · 94 min. · 2012
Official Site: www.themysteriousisland.com
Director: Brad Peyton
Writer: Brian Gunn
Cast: Josh Hutcherson, Dwayne Johnson, Michael Caine, Vanessa Hudgens, Kristin Davis and Luis Guzmán

Trailer


Now Playing

Sorry there are no upcoming showtimes for Journey 2: The Mysterious Island

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Latest in Reviews

  • Men with guns

    American Sniper is complex, conflicted, and profoundly moving
    • Jan 21, 2015
  • So fur, so good

    Paddington perfects the art of adorable
    • Jan 14, 2015
  • More »

Popular Events

More by Scott Renshaw

  • Body and soul

    Unbroken is a 'triumph of the human spirit' story that forgets the spirit
    • Dec 31, 2014
  • Old hobbits die hard

    Peter Jackson prolongs a never-ending story
    • Dec 17, 2014
  • More »

Most Commented On

Top Viewed Stories

  • Doctor feelgood

    Inherent Vice comes fully loaded with twisted kicks
    • Jan 7, 2015
  • Men with guns

    American Sniper is complex, conflicted, and profoundly moving
    • Jan 21, 2015
  • More »

All content © Copyright 2015, The Colorado Springs Independent   |   Website powered by Foundation