Sunday, June 5, 2016

Movie Review: "Journey 2: The Mysterious Island" (2012)

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Movie"Journey 2: The Mysterious Island"
Director: Brad Peyton
Year: 2012
Rating: PG
Running Time: 1 hours, 34 minutes 

Since his journey to the center of the earth, Sean Anderson (Josh Hutcherson) has continued to study Jules Verne. His pursuits land him in trouble when he breaks into a radar building to intercept a signal transmitting a secret code he believes to be from his grandfather. Sean's stepfather Hank (Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson), as a Former Navy man, helps Sean get out of trouble and helps him break this code, which is said to lead to a mysterious island. Despite this, Sean doesn't really like Hank, but Hank now sees an opportunity to bond with Sean by taking him to look for this island that isn't supposed to exist.

"Journey 2: The Mysterious Island" is the sequel to 2008's "Journey to the Center of the Earth," a movie we just sort of tolerated watching. Brad Peyton takes over directorial duties for this installment, but that isn't the only change in the franchise. Also gone is Brendan Fraser and his character, who aren't even so much as mentioned in the film. We're not sure why this happens so often to poor, poor Fraser, but he has now been replaced by Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson, who plays Hank, stepfather to Sean, played by Josh Hutcherson, who is the only returning actor from the original picture. Johnson has been in 3 sequels to movies Fraser starred in first, but Fraser never returned to those sequels. Weird, huh? Even the actress who played Sean's mother has been replaced with Kristin Davis. Also new to the cast are Michael "I'll Take The Part" Caine, Vanessa Hudgens, and Luis Guzmán.

The plot to "Journey 2" is pretty much identical to the original in that the characters must find the hidden place, then get trapped in/on the hidden place, and then must escape from the hidden place against a ticking time clock of destruction. The only difference here is the location itself and the characters and actors involved. We must say, we find Dwayne Johnson far more charming and even more compelling as a character than Brendan Fraser and his character from the first film. Even when The Rock is bouncing berries off of his popping pecks in a clear appeal to the 3D crowd, we can't help but like him and laughed way, way too hard at this scene.
This gif is literally all you need to know about "Journey 2."
Johnson alone elevates this material far above that of the original. Luis Guzmán also has the occasional funny moment, however immature it may be, but we feel like he's known for this kind of humor by now. This movie still looks and feels a bit cartoonish, but the CGI and effects in general are much better this time around than they were in 2008's endeavor. This is especially true when it comes to the tiny elephants, which look about the size of our miniature schnauzner. They look great and totally realistic. Of course, given the fact that the island is obviously going to destruct/sink at the end of the film, we couldn't help but think about all the adorable, tiny, poor little elephants that would end up suffering horrible deaths by drowning in the ocean. It makes this fun movie a little tragic, and we wonder why the filmmakers didn't attempt to hide their elephant genocide from the kids they are trying to impress.

In the end, this film is a relatively harmless family adventure sequel, as long your mind doesn't drift to tiny elephants choking to death on salt water. The humor is a bit childish and cheesy, but look at its target audience. Everything is done in pretty much the same by the numbers fashion as it happened the first time around, but the addition of some better computer graphics, the removal of any shoehorned in love story from the adults (it feels a lot less creepy with two same-aged teenagers), and replacing The Rock with Brendan Fraser makes this film infinity more tolerable and even mildly fun. It's the type of movie you could probably watch once and then forget it exists. At least we will forever have a gif of Johnson and his bouncing boobie berries.

My Rating: 5.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 5.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 5.8/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 42%
Do we recommend this movie: Meh.
One year ago, we were watching: "Poltergeist"

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