Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Journey2: The Mysterious Island review

Journey 2: the Mysterious Island 3D

Rating:  3 / 4

Who knew Vernians existed?  That there is a devoted literary circle of Jules Verne’s enthusiasts?  There sure is and this delightful family film celebrates the man himself.  Verne was a progressive thinker who created some of the best known and prescient works of science fiction of the 19th century.  He’s credited with inventing the genre through his landmark books Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1870), A Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864), and Around the World in Eighty Days (1873), Off on a Comet (1877) and From the Earth to the Moon (1865).

 Verne set his stories in space, in the depths of the ocean and up in the air.  They are places were anything can happen because the rules of gravity, time and spatial continuum are broken and replaced by the power of imagination.  And imagination is endlessly new.

Journey 2: the Mysterious Island 3D takes us to one such place – a place hidden behind a wall of storms in the South Seas, a tropical paradise alive with beasts that on regular earth are small but here are huge, and here are big and there are tiny.   The heroes of J2MI fly around on outsized gentle bees, and a herd of tiny elephants “stomps” through the landscape.  Flowers are more beautiful, ancient ruins are thought to be Atlantis and a mountain of gold glistens across the bay.  It’s in this place the quest is undertaken.

Our heroes – Sean (John Hutcherson), his newish step dad (Dwayne Johnson) a local tourist guide (Luis Guzman) and his daughter (Vanessa Hudgens) find themselves in this Vernian sweet spot after piecing together a code map, flying to the South Pacific and hiring a plane.  The final requirement is breaking through a massive wall of storm to reach the place that may or may not be fictional.  They summon their courage, make it through and arrive at their destination.  

And there’s grandpa!  (Michael Caine).  All good.  But it is soon clear that this Eden- like place is under siege by Mother Nature and will sink into the sea in a few days.  How to escape and get back to the real world? That’s the thrust; to have to leave this spot is tragic, but to stay would be more tragic. Life is filled with ironies.  Plus there is no vehicle to take them unless Verne’s marvellous underwater machine actually exists.

Journey 2 is a pleasant, low key and visually entertaining adventure suitable for kids; nothing too extreme happens, there are no dark, stressful events and that’s by design.  Director Bard Peyton likes to keep his stories accessible for the very young and within that limitation, makes them as interesting and fun as possible.  He lets the actors do their thing, in this case, develop their familial bonds and see something of the world and embark on an adventure together, and to some extent, realise their dreams.  There’s nothing saccharin about the film and few false notes.  Big plus – young people may be inspired Verne and his literary ilk.

1 comment:

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