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Journey 2: The Mysterious Island - Movie Review
By Anthony Archis - February 11, 2012

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island
Journey 2: The Mysterious Island
 
Josh Hutcherson & Dwayne Johnson in Journey 2: The Mysterious Island
Josh Hutcherson & Dwayne Johnson in Journey 2: The Mysterious Island
 
Josh Hutcherson, Luis Guzman, Vanessa Hudgens & Dwayne Johnson in Journey 2: The Mysterious Island
Josh Hutcherson, Luis Guzman, Vanessa Hudgens & Dwayne Johnson in Journey 2: The Mysterious Island
 
Dwayne Johnson, Josh Hutcherson, Michael Caine, Luis Guzman & Vanessa Hudgens in Journey 2: The Mysterious Island
Dwayne Johnson, Josh Hutcherson, Michael Caine, Luis Guzman & Vanessa Hudgens in Journey 2: The Mysterious Island
Family-friendly adventures like Journey 2: The Mysterious Island typically don’t play well with everyone. Kids tend to love them while the adult reaction is lukewarm. When it comes to the action/adventure genre which can only grow by continuing to push the envelope, creating a plotline that all ages and movie audiences can enjoy is a tall order. Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, the sequel to 2008's Journey to the Center of the Earth, is a family-friendly adventure movie that does manage to offer some broad entertainment appeal throughout certain scenes in the movie.

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island brings back our protagonist from the first installment, Sean Anderson (played by Josh Hutcherson). His father has since passed away and his mother, Elizabeth (played by Kristin Davis), has now married Hank Parsons (played by Dwayne Johnson), and relocated the family to Ohio. The action begins when Hank and the boy work together to decipher a coded transmission that supposedly comes from his missing grandfather, Alexander. However, this is no ordinary message, but rather one that contains coordinates to a mysterious island, derived from several literary classics (Treasure Island, Gulliver's Travels, and obviously, The Mysterious Island). Sean wants to try to find his grandfather, overlooking the minor detail of travelling to an island near Palau in the South Pacific. Despite being skeptical of the whole concept, Hank (Johnson) is eager to try to bond with his stepson and finances an expedition to the island. Once in Palau, Hank and Sean try to find a captain that will transport them to the coordinates where they think the mysterious island is located. No one is willing to take them, as the coordinates are located in an area that is known to the locals as a place where ships disappear and are never heard from again (think Bermuda Triangle). Enter Gubato (played by Luis Guzman), a local who gives helicopter rides to tourists in a dilapidated vehicle, who is willing to take Hank and Sean out to the island. Gubato’s daughter Kailani (played by Vanessa Hudgens) initially tries to talk her father out of taking this journey, but after Hank is willing to pay any amount of money, the adventure is off and running.

After being caught in a storm that leaves our heroes stranded on the island, the action in Journey 2 picks up. The characters in Journey 2: The Mysterious Island are involved in a series of adventures and harrowing situations that are entertaining even if you can see where the film is going. It is on the island where we see some of the most breathtaking scenery put on film.

Using similar technology that James Cameron used for creating the terrain of Pandora in Avatar, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island matches that level of visual cinematic splendor. The various landscapes shown throughout the island can take you by surprise and are the biggest strength of Journey 2: The Mysterious Island.

As Sean (Josh Hutcherson) explains during Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (with some level of scientific accuracy), when on a limited scale, larger animals become smaller and vice versa. Imagine seeing an elephant the size of a dog or an ant the size of a house. In Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, imagine no more. Despite adequate performances from the cast and the well-paced action, the real stars are the special effects team.

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island does have other things going on besides just a pretty cinematic picture. Once our shipwrecked cast finds Alexander (played by Michael Caine), a whole new adventure unfolds to try to find an escape from the island. This plotline borrows elements from the Jules Verne classic, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and manages to be an engaging journey for viewers of all ages. Along the way, themes of family and bonding are explored, specifically between Hank and Sean as their adventure rolls on. Journey 2, as with most family fare, has the requisite amount of heart to try to touch the audience on an emotional level. The humor is safe enough for everyone to appreciate, but also sophisticated enough that adults will be able to get a few chuckles throughout the movie. Finally, as with most action movies, Journey 2 has moments where you make a conscious decision as a member of the audience to suspend your sense of disbelief.

Overall, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island is an entertaining movie for the whole family. There are a few scary moments for the very little ones, but it is a fun ride. At just over an hour and a half in length, it is a quick movie that looks amazing with solid action. There are worse journeys that you could take.

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island
Rated PG. Runtime 94 min. Theatrical release 2/10/2012.
PR.com Rating: C+


Journey 2: The Mysterious Island - Movie Review


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