Journey 2: The Mysterious Island is best viewed in IMAX 3D. It’s just one of those films. The sequel to 2008’s Journey to the Center of the Earth, Journey 2 is loosely based on the Jules Verne novel “The Myterious Island” first published in 1874 under the French title “L’Île mystérieuse”.
Josh Hutcherson (Journey to the Center of the Earth, Bridge to Terabithia) returns for this film as the lead character, Sean Anderson. The film also stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (Fast Five, Race to Witch Mountain) as Sean’s stepfather, Hank Parsons. Vanessa Hudgens (the High School Musical trilogy, Sucker Punch) stars as love interest Kailani and Luis Guzmán (Grand Theft Auto: Vice City) as her tour guide father, Gabato. Last but most certainly not least is Michael Cane (Chrisopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, The Cider House Rules) as Sean’s adventure seeking grandfather, Alexander Anderson.
The film opens with Sean having relocated with his remarried mother. He is caught breaking into a satellite facility and is kept out of landing in a cell only because of stepfather Hank. It turns out Josh was attempting to pick up a faint message, and in trying to become involved in Sean’s life, Hank assists in decoding it. Using the message, the two piece together a map and coordinates from The Mysterious Island, Treasure Island and Gulliver’s Travels. Sean believes the message came from his grandfather, and after some convincing, the pair set off for the Pacific island of Palau.
The story moves quickly from there, meeting helicopter tour guide Gabato and his beautiful daughter Kailani. Flying into a storm at the supposed coordinates, the helicopter crashes, stranding them all at an island not previously known to exist. I don’t wish to divulge too many details beyond this point, but the Mysterious Island serves as a conglomeration of fantastic ideas introduced by Verne.
The landing party does in fact meet up with Sean’s grandfather, Alexander, and on their time on the island will find such wonders as giant lizards, the lost city of Atlantis, a volcano of gold and the legendary submarine, The Nautilus. The character development is not immense, but we do gain insight into Sean’s family life, learn of Gabato’s desire of a better life for his daughter, and of course see the requisite growing relationship between Sean and Kailani.
The scenery and special effects are simply beautiful, especially viewed on an IMAX screen, in 3D which was very well used. Some of the situations are in fact far fetched, and perhaps for some viewers, a a little absurd. To enjoy this movie it is important to suspend belief for a while and simply enjoy what the film has to offer.
The acting is good; Michael Caine is fantastic in his role as can be expected. The other characters may not have the kind of experience as Caine but they all are talented and put down a relatively decent performance. The scripting could probably be a little less cheesy at times but given the colorful, truly fantasy type of setting used, it works well enough. It is definitely a fun family film; it just is not likely to be found a finely crafted masterpiece of cinema.
What it comes down to is that most people can probably enjoy the big screen 3D experience of the film. To be a lasting experience probably boils down to this: If you still enjoy Journey to the Center of the Earth, then you will most certainly want The Mysterious Island when it is released on home video. Otherwise, it’s still worth catching on the big screen.
Journey 2: The Mysterious Island is, at the time of writing, rated only 42% of Rotten Tomatoes. It has however far exceeded its production budget, accumulating over US$190 million at the box office. There is some talk of a Journey 3. If made, it will probably be based on Verne’s “From the Earth to the Moon”, which the film’s conclusion does seem to suggest.
Theatrical Trailer for Journey 2: The Mysterious Island from HollywoodStreams