Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (PG)

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The ViewBirmingham Review

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Review byMatthew Turner03/02/2012

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 94 mins

This is an enjoyable stand-alone sequel with likeable characters, terrific special effects (3D included), entertaining set pieces and a commendable respect for both literature and science, though it's occasionally let down by a lazy script and some distracting mugging from Caine and Guzman.

What's it all about?
Directed by Brad Peyton, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island is a sequel to 2008's similarly Jules Verne based Journey to The Centre of the Earth. Josh Hutcherson returns as Verne-obsessed teenager Sean Anderson, who receives a coded message from his explorer grandfather (Michael Caine) and discovers, with the help of his code-breaking ex-Marine step-father Hank (Dwayne Johnson) that Verne's Mysterious Island is also the same island from Swift's Gulliver's Travels and Stevenson's Treasure Island.

Accompanied by Hank, Sean sets off for Palau, where they hire a helicopter piloted by chatty Gabato (Luis Guzman) and his atrociously hot daughter Kailani, (Vanessa Hudgens) and head for the island's co-ordinates. However, after crash landing on the island, finding Sean's grandfather and encountering the likes of giant bees, giant lizards, tiny elephants and a gold-spewing volcano, they discover that the island is rapidly sinking into the sea and they need to leave as quickly as possible.

The Good
Hutcherson delivers a solid, likeable performance as Sean, grudgingly warming to his impossible-to-dislike stepfather and making some engagingly awkward attempts at charming Hudgens, while simultaneously escaping from giant lizards and displaying impressive literary knowledge. Similarly Hudgens contributes a smoking hot turn that's possibly slightly too sexy for a PG (especially in 3D), though it's Johnson that steals the show, nabbing all the best lines and chucking in a couple of party tricks like making up a song about the film on a ukulele or bouncing 3D berries into the audience off his dancing pecs.

The colourful special effects are excellent and there are some hugely enjoyable set pieces, the highlight of which is a Return of the Jedi-inspired giant bee chase involving some hungry birds. Similarly, the 3D effects are used properly, with a variety of things leaping out of the screen at you at regular intervals.

The Bad
The main problem with the film is that the script is lazily written (the dialogue is frequently poor) and the humour often falls flat as a result. Similarly, there's an air of forced jollity about Caine's performance, while both Guzman and Caine resort to an unnecessary degree of mugging.

Worth seeing?
Despite its flaws, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island is an enjoyably old fashioned adventure romp that's heightened by likeable characters and some impressive special effects. At any rate, there's enough here to hope that the proposed Journey to the Moon threequel becomes a reality.

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Content updated: 15/08/2018 07:43

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