Journey 2: The Mysterious Island

JOURNEY 2: THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND works mainly as a lazy, harmless diversion to keep  children occupied (the smarter the kid, the less entranced they’ll be), its CGI landscapes and creatures not fooling anyone over five (okay, eight), while the plot mechanics and characterizations will have adults wondering, about three minutes in, how long it’s going to last. Thankfully, just another 91.

From 2012, this is a partial tag-along to the 2008 version of Journey To The Center Of The Earth, one of Brendan Fraser’s goofy frolics, with Josh Hutcherson the only cast member brought along for a silly pillage of Jules Verne’s 1875 novel “The Mysterious Island”.

Surly teenager (now that’s original) ‘Sean Anderson’ (Hutcherson) convinces his stepfather (Dwayne Johnson) to go with him to the South Pacific to look for Sean’s grandfather, who seems to have sent a coded signal from some island near Palau. Local assistance comes from a gabby comic-relief tour guide (Luiz Guzman) and his foxy daughter (Vanessa Hudgens, dressed to tease, tropic style). Can you guess that the two young people will get together? That stepdad and son will bond? That everything in the vapid script that cousins Mark & Brian Gunn wrote (dashed off in a half-hour by a pool in Beverly Hills?) is recycled from a hundred other movies? Michael Caine, 79 and up for a joke (with paycheck) plays the grandpa.

Johnson was developing his style, which the director, Brad Peyton, would use to better effect later in the fun California-clock-cleaner San Andreas. Hutcherson, 18 at the time, was extra busy that year, racking five roles, most notably being ‘Peeta’ of The Hunger Games. The amiable crew encounter giant bees (which they ride), ants, centipedes, an electric eel, a volcano that spews gold, Atlantis, and the Nautilus. What they don’t stumble over are any fresh ideas. Still, at a theater, in 3-D, if you were a kid, this would be fun. Otherwise, you’re left thinking that if you were a kid this would be fun. At a theater. In 3-D.  Okay, the lizard monster is pretty neat.

Among the slew of sequels, prequels, remakes, spinoffs and ripoffs littering 2012, this feeble but friendly entry ranked 30th at the US box-office, 23rd worldwide, with a gross of $335,000,000, more than enough to take care of the $80,000,000 cost.

Some location shots were done in Hawaii. Kristin Davis appears as the mom who stays at home and misses out on the bonding. We Who Know have known since JFK was at the helm that there is only one cool (really cool) movie swiped from Verne’s story, and that is 1961’s Mysterious Island. “Now that’s a bee!”

Uh, yes. In a Palau minute.

 

 

 

 

 

 

written by , directed by Brad Peyton

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