Review: Journey 2: The Mysterious Island

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island | Brad Peyton | 2012

When you sit down to watch something called Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (henceforth referred to as Journey 2), a sequel to a bad-but-not-terrible modernization of Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth starring Brendan Fraser, you simply can’t expect greatness. However, whenever I sit down to watch any film, even the ones I have been forewarned about I expect to get something out of it, at the very least some effort from someone in the production, whether it is an actor, the writer, or the boom guy. But no, Journey 2 couldn’t even give me the satisfaction of at least outstanding boom work.

In Journey 2, we see the return of intrepid teen explorer Sean Anderson (Josh Hutcherson). However, rather than being in adventures after being lauded for being part of the crew that traveled to the center of the earth, he’s stuck in a new town living with his mom (Kristin Davis) and step dad Hank (Dwayne Johnson) after, apparently, his dad apparently died (it’s never made clear). One day he gets a signal that he thinks is from his grandfather (Michael Caine) telling him that he has found the island Jules Vernes wrote about in “The Mysterious Island.” So, he and Hank (in an attempt to connect with his step son) set out to find the source of the signal. They are then joined by two tour guides (Luis Guzman and Vanessa Hudgens) on their quest to find this island. But once they find it, a race against time begins as the island starts to sink. And so adventure ensues.

The problem with Journey 2 is that it’s just so damn lazy and the chain of laziness started way back when the film was given the green light. As we all know, it was only made because the original one was a surprise hit back before people started getting tired of 3D. That’s fine since movies are made for financial reasons all the time and sometimes they turn out great (like Rise of the Planet of the Apes). But once we get to the script, things start falling apart. The only new thing that they do to Verne’s The Mysterious Island is connect it to the first film and add some half-assed step father/step son relationship stuff to give some emotion to the film. After that, it’s just a by-the-book retelling of Verne’s novel, although they do try to connect Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, and Verne’s own 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea to it, but only as filler to get the running time past the 90 minute mark. Speaking of filler, that scene with Johnson popping his pecs? That’s got to be one of the most pointless scenes in the history of cinema, and it goes on for about two minutes.

But again, a bad script is not always the death of the movie as long as the director does something interesting with it. But no, like I said, that was not to be with this movie. Brad Peyton just sticks to the script, and as a result this movie is just a bunch of lame one-liners followed by unexciting set pieces, then more lame one-liners. He could have turned this into some sort of B-movie spectacle with those obviously fake sets and subpar visual effects, but he didn’t even try to do that. He was just there for the money. He couldn’t even get the actors to care and they are just there, flatly spitting out lines and just going through the motions. I felt so bad for them, especially Michael Caine. He obviouly did this for the money, so I hope that the house this movie bought him is as awesome as his Jaws 3 house. The same can be said about Johnson, Hutcherson, and Guzman. As for Hudgens, I tried giving her the benefit of the doubt, but she has yet to give me reason to trust her talents, so I’ll just blame her performance on just being a terrible actress.

There’s no other way to put it: Journey 2 is one of the worst movies of the year.

Rating: ★

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