Saturday, June 29, 2013

Movie Review: Journey 2 - The Mysterious Island

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Fun mix of action and humor with a fantasy setting
Cons: Luis Guzman, cheese in the serious moments
The Bottom Line
Not a great movie
But action and humor proves
To be lots of fun

"Why Did It Have to be Lizards?  Why Couldn't It Have Been Snakes?"

I seem to be one of the few who enjoyed Journey to the Center of the Earth when it was released a few years back, so I was surprised to see a sequel was planned.  I guess the original made enough money.  I knew immediately I'd be going to see Journey 2: The Mysterious Island.  And I enjoyed it, too.

In the time since his first adventures, Sean (Josh Hutcherson, the only returning cast member) has become a Jules Vern fanatic.  Which is why he immediate recognizes a code he's gotten made of character names from Jules Vern books.  Along with his step-father Hank (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson), he deciphers it and discovers it gives clues to The Mysterious Island.  Sean is convinced that it came from his grandfather.

Eventually, he and Hank set out to find the island.  They hire Gabato (Luis Guzman) and his daughter Kailani (Vanessa Hudgens) to fly them out there on a helicopter.  Will they find Sean's grandfather (Michael Caine)?  And can they get off the island again?

Okay, let's be perfectly honest here.  This is a kid's movie.  Yes, it has action and fantasy and plenty of comedy.  But kids are the target audience.  Now, that's definitely not a bad thing in my book.  I fully recognize this is not "great" cinema.  It's designed to be a fun movie, and I enjoyed it as such.

The story is not terribly original, although I got so caught up in it that I really didn't care.  There is plenty of action to keep you engaged even if you know how it is going to end.

And I can't forget the comedy.  The packed theater I saw the movie with laughed multiple times, and it sounded to me like the adults were laughing as much as the kids.

The film is filled with special effects as well, and they worked.  While I knew what I was seeing couldn't be real, I believed it.  While the movie was released in 3D, I didn't see it that way, so I can't comment on how that looked.

And the acting worked, too.  It's not outstanding, but it gets the job done without pulling you out of the film.  Plus we learn that Dwayne Johnson has a pretty decent singing voice.

There were some flaws to the film.  There was a certain level of cheese, especially most of the times the film tried to do anything serious.  And on that note, the interpersonal relationships were so predictable it was a bit annoying.

Then there's Luis Guzman.  I'm not sure if it was him or how his character was written, but I found him more annoying than funny.  I would have preferred the movie without his character.

I realize that I will be in the minority for enjoying Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, but I found it to be entertaining.  And since that's all it was really aiming for, I think it succeeded.

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