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When Trevor Anderson, a failing volcanologist,
Is visited by nephew Sean, they try to coexist.
A decade earlier, Sean’s father Max just disappeared
While proving geologic theories he had pioneered.
They locate Max’s copy of the classic book by Verne,
A Journey to the Center of the Earth, and they discern
That Max saw seismic signals, that are present now as well,
Which sent him off to Iceland, where his brother thinks he fell.
Both Sean and Trevor follow where they think Max may have flown,
A closed-down institute where a young woman lives alone.
This Hannah says her father thought Verne’s book was based on fact,
And Max most likely did as well, though why is not exact.
She takes them to the mountain where a sensor’s activated,
But lightning traps them in a cave; their journey seems ill-fated.
Descending deeper underground, they find a vacant mine
And, after cruising in some carts, discover gems that shine.
The floor gives out from under them, and falling takes a while.
At last, they reach the bottom after mile after mile.
They find a giant, hidden world within the planet’s core,
Just like the book by Verne that they had not believed before.
Once they find Max’s body, they know danger is afoot.
The temperature is rising, and the trio can’t stay put.
They sail across the ocean; though Sean ends up blown away,
They all continue northward, having only one more day.
Encountering more perils, killer plants and floating stones,
Both Sean and Trevor reunite upon a field of bones.
Escaping from a T-Rex, they and Hannah hitch a ride
On a giant lava geyser that blows all of them outside.
The group emerge in Italy in cockamamie style,
And Sean brought back some diamonds that help make the trip worthwhile.
When Sean’s about to leave, his Uncle Trevor then suggests
Atlantis could be next on their potential list of quests.

Journey to the Center of the Earth is one of those special effects overloads that, unlike the Transformers films, doesn’t take itself too seriously. It was never meant to be an Oscar contender or an award winner of any kind; it’s just a flawed but all-around fun movie to watch. It’s definitely an enjoyable ride.

I suppose the main reason that my VC and I like it is Brendan Fraser. He’s a skilled and very likable actor, but his career choices have often been stinkers. In Journey, his campy but sincere acting has the right outlet, unlike George of the Jungle or Furry Vengeance. Josh Hutcherson and Anita Briem also own their roles as Sean and Hannah.

To be honest, much of this we’ve seen before. The continuous falling reminded me of a similar scene in Spy Kids 2, the mine cart is like the climax of Temple of Doom, and the dinosaur scenes aren’t that different from the likes of Dinosaur or Jurassic Park. There are also plenty of plot holes. If the temperature is rising so drastically and has done so before, how do the glowing birds survive? How can a Venus fly-trap without eyes, lungs, or a brain attack and hiss at someone? How can they do all that work, building a raft and such, without sweating much or breathing hard in 100-degree-plus heat? If she isn’t like her father, why is an attractive single lady living alone in a deserted wasteland?

Thus, this is not a film for nitpickers. It’s an entertaining and clean adventure with dazzling effects (originally intended to be seen in 3-D) and a pseudo-scientific backing. I wonder what Verne would think of it? (By the way, I don’t care to see Journey 2: The Mysterious Island. Dwayne Johnson isn’t a good enough substitute for Fraser, in my opinion as well as my VC’s.)

Best line: (Sean, in danger, after Trevor’s mention of a rock called schist) “Oh, we’re in deep schist.”

Artistry: 3
Characters/Actors: 6
Entertainment: 9
Visual Effects: 8
Originality: 5
Watchability: 9
TOTAL: 40 out of 60

Next: #218 – Superman II

© 2014 S. G. Liput

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