Market saturation of advertising can be both good and bad. There are some movies I still refuse to watch because there was a commercial for them every 5 minutes. Yet sometimes I decide to see a film after repeated watching of the preview. That's the case with Journey to the Center of the Earth. And I'm glad I decided to see it.
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Trevor Anderson (Brendan Fraser) is a professor trying to carry on his late brother's work. His brother studied earthquakes and volcanoes. But the university is losing interest and it looks like the lab will be shut down.
That same day, Trevor's nephew is dumped on his door step for a few days. Trevor hasn't seen Sean (Josh Hutcherson) in years. It looks to be an awkward time until Trevor finds an old copy of Jules Verne's Journey to the Center of the Earth that his brother had marked up. As he begins to interpret his brother's comments, he begins to think there may be more going on than he knows about.
As so the two set off to Iceland. Hiring Hannah (Anita Briem), they set out to recover a probe. But a series of events find them falling into a magical world. Can they find their way out?
I went in expecting a highly fun, fantasy adventure. And I got just what I had bargained for. The trio faces one problem after another. There are plenty of times where the things that happen to our heroes would be fatal in the real world. But that doesn't bother me since they are in the middle of the earth. You just have to suspend your belief.
This is a special effects heavy movie. The entire plot, in fact, was nothing but an excuse for the effects. Most of them were great. A few times, I thought they looked a little fake, but those never lasted for long. And, honestly, I was only distracted by them when I went into analytical mode. If you just sit back and enjoy, you won't notice.
A brief word about 3-D. This film has been released in 3-D in select theaters. And I'm sure it's great as such. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find it playing in 3-D in a theater near me. Hopefully that will change soon as this is the first of several planned 3-D movies in the near future.
Now, I know when I hear "special effects movie," I start to cringe. But in this case, the plot worked. Granted, it was fairly predictable. But it was fun, which is all I care about.
And the characters were good. Hannah could have used a tad more development, but Trevor and Sean were great. I cared about what happened to them, which is the most important thing to me when it comes to character.
The acting by all three leads was decent. One scene in particular stood out to me. But for the most part, it got the job done. You won't be blown away, but you won't be drawn out of the movie either.
There are two things that kept the movie just shy of perfect. The first was the pacing at the beginning. I mean, the movie is called Journey to the Center of the Earth. Can we get there already? A certain amount of set up is certainly needed, but this one took a little too long for my taste.
The bigger issue isn't even the movie's fault. Remember me talking about those previews? Well, they give away way too much of the film. While there were a couple of things that surprised me, I was keeping a running checklist of the dangers they had faced thanks to those previews. When will they learn to give away less?
The film is rated PG due to the action elements. It will be too intense for kids who get scared easily. But any kids who can handle some suspense will love it.
So if your kids are up for it, this is a movie that will keep them and you entertained for an hour and a half. You'll all enjoy this unforgettable Journey to the Center of the Earth.
Journey 2: The Mysterious Island