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Gavin Grades The Movies

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island

Pop Quiz: How do you know a movie is bad?  Answer: When Brendan Fraser refuses to be in it.  Apparently Journey 2: The Mysterious Island is a sequel but I was unclear as to a sequel to what.  Turns out it was Journey to the Center of the Earth, which came out in 2008.  That was a children's movie about a father and son being obsessed with the Jules Vern novel and finding out that it's actually true.  I'm not sure what happens at the end of that movie but I can only assume that the father, played by Fraser, dies because he's not in this nor is there any mention of him.  

As a stand alone film, Journey 2 isn't bad.  Whenever I go to see movies made for kids I usually try to bring some with me.  I gauge the reactions of them as we watch it and the 8-year-old daughter of my co-host seemed to really enjoy the 3D splendor of this film.  The only returning character from the first one is Josh Hutcherson (The Hunger Games, The Kids are Alright) who ushers us into the thick of the plot withint ten minutes.  He's looking for his grandfather, played by the spectacular Michael Caine (The Dark Knight series, Inception), and he's allowed to go to the middle of the Pacific Ocean looking for him as long as his step-father, played by Dwayne I-guess-now-formerly-know-as-The-Rock Johnson (The Other Guys, Tooth Fairy), goes along.  If that seems like an extravaganza of awfulness in a plot that seems to come from nowhere and all happens in ten minutes, you're completely right.  

Once they reach the Mysterious Island with their new friends played by Vanessa Hudgens (Suckerpunch, High School Musical) and Luis Guzman (Arthur, Boogie Nights) they must figure out the secrets of the island based on different literary classics while trying to survive and escape.  The special effects are slightly above Saturday Morning network shows but the 3D more than makes up for it.  Guzman and Johnson do a really good job of being funny in the PG-perameters and still earning an audible chuckle from me throughout the film.  But that still doesn't avoid the puzzle of how this didn't end up as a straight-to-DVD film to begin with.

There's really nothing to this film outside of bright colors, fast action, funny lines and brainless plotlines.  I have a feeling that this is as close to a show on ABC Family that never gets a second notice from anyone over the age of seven, will ever get to being on the big screen.  At its core, that's all it is.  How did they trick Michael Caine into being in it?  That's a good question but I'm sure it ends with him getting a fat payday.  But it is what it is.  Journey 2 is no worse and no better than the junk your kids are shoving in their heads at the movie theater anyway, so why not have empty-calorie entertainment to go along with the empty-calorie candy.  As far as tawdry kids' films that are simply cash grabs that put zero time into quality storytelling, heart or excitement goes...I've seen far, far worse.  However, that being said, it's still all those other things too.
Journey 2: The Mysterious Island  (Rated PG)
Gavin Grade: C+

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People : Brendan FraserGavin GradeJosh HutchersonLuis GuzmanMichael CaineVanessa Hudgens


02/09/2012 10:30PM
Journey 2: The Mysterious Island
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06/04/2012 10:21AM
Fraser played the uncle - not the father. The father was chased by a tyrannosaurus rex and fell off a cliff at the start of the film. They found his body later on in the film.
05/14/2013 10:46PM
The journey movies 1, 2 n maybe 3..
I just want to say, i hate it when the people who make movies, dont always use the same actors if they end up with making a seconed or 3rd movie. Why didnt they say anything about what happened to the uncle or why did they change the actress playing joshs mom in the movie, even tho i dont like it when they dont always use the same actors in the next movie. but i think for the actors they picked for seconed movie of the journey: to the mysterous island was better then the first. In fact i find myself n my kids watchen this movie more then the first one.
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