Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D
Directed by: Eric Brevig
Cast: Brendan Fraser, Josh Hutcherson and Anita Briem
Time: 1.5 hours
Plot: Based on the idea of the Jules Verne novel, Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D is brought to 3-dimensional life. Trevor (Fraser) takes off on an adventure with his 13-year-old nephew Sean (Hutcherson) to discover the cause of odd seismic activity and perhaps the reason Sean’s dad disappeared. There was also a 1959 film version starring Pat Boone.
Who’s It For? This one is for the kids, specifically 10-year-old boys who are still at the point where plot and acting aren’t nearly as important as visual stimulation.
Expectations: One word in the title had me interested, and it wasn’t “center.” Last year, Meet the Robinson’s truly surprised me with its use of 3D technology, so I was curious what Journey could pull off.
Brendan Fraser as Trevor: I will say, Fraser was able to separate from the Mummy character he has crafted (part 3 is due out this August) but he was just barely able to do it. Everything was basic about his role.
Josh Hutcherson as Sean: Hutcherson actually gets sarcasm and was able to balance the line of being an annoying kid and a good sidekick. The acting in the film is definitely at its best when Trevor and Sean are attempting to get along in the beginning.
Anita Briem as Hannah: Hannah’s the incredibly good-looking daughter of a brilliant scientist, who happens to be the perfect guide for Trevor and Sean. It’s just easier that way.
They really should have done less. The one-liners are just painful, especially during the scene where they are attacked by fish in an underground sea and defending them off with bats. In fact, every single one-liner failed on me, but I also understand this film was not made with adults in mind.
Sights & Sounds:
Finally, and now for the real reason this film exists: The special effects. They pulled out every trick you could think of. Whether it was a glowing bird that always seems to show up at the perfect time, or brushing teeth or blowing dandelions. The problem of course is that 3D (or RealD as they would like to call it now) is a gimmick. With the attempt to make it more real and lifelike, this film makes it more fake. This movie feels like an extended Disney ride instead of a film taken to a new and exciting level. There is a sequence in a mine shaft very similar to Temple of Doom and a smarter film would have referenced this mimic, perhaps with Sean never hearing of this film. What’s sad is, because of the technological advances in special effects, it’s better than Doom’s version.
They should have called this movie Journey and Escape because when they finally arrive at the center, they have to get going. There was no time to enjoy the wonder of it all. We get quick references to the classic novel, but really this is just an excuse to advance 3D technology. There were two thoughts battling it out for me during this film … This was written by a 10-year-old or this was written for a 10-year-old. The dialogue is painful, the story is never truly explained and yet it is a decent adventure. If you can turn off your mind, and I know that is pretty easy for most of us, then you’ll get a kick out of this journey. And if I haven’t made it clear, only see the 3D version of this adventure.
Score: 6 out of 10