Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (2012) Falls Flat

We Steampunk fans enjoy a nice mash-up of literary references. But it takes an exceptional writer to make it all fit together in a coherent narrative. Unfortunately, this sequel to Journey to the Center of the Earth (2008) shoehorns this notion between overwrought action and lukewarm family drama.

What is Journey 2 About?

 

Journey-2-Mysterious-Island mapsA few years have passed since the events the first movie. Sean (Josh Hutcherson) has a new stepfather, Hank (Dwayne Johnson) and his relationship with the former Navy code breaker is rocky. When Hank helps Sean decipher a message from his wayward grandfather (Michael Caine) they find some common ground. The message reveals that the island in Verne’s novel is not only real, but is the same island described in Treasure Island and Gulliver’s Travels.

Journey2_helicopterThe coordinates for the island turn out to be caught in a perpetual hurricane. The only people who will help them are a helicopter pilot (Luis Guzman) and his daughter (Vanessa Hudgens). The four of them crash on an island populated by giant insects and Lilliputian pachyderms. Plus, they must fend off a dinosaur-scale iguana within minutes of landing. After a brief respite at grandpa’s house, they journey into the jungle past a volcano spouting gold. (This is a reference to the mountain of gold in Treasure Island.) Next, they see the remnants of the lost city of Atlantis that Verne described in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and discover that the island is rapidly sinking once again. Without any means of contacting the outside world during the storm, their only hope is Nemo’s Nautilus, which is still hidden somewhere on the island.

What I thought of Journey 2: The Mysterious Island

Still-from-The-Journey-2--007Okay, so you know how I like crappy movies? Even I had some trouble with this one. The action is overblown and basically unending, and the dialog was hit and miss. I almost stopped watching the film completely when I got to a scene which centered on “The Rock” ¬†popping his pectorals and saying it was the best way to get women. GAG! Also, the “science” didn’t really work. For instance, I am willing to play along with their use of island dwarfism/gigantism, especially as the much-lauded 1961 Mysterious Island features giant critters as well. But if the island is trapped in a perpetual storm and periodically sinks to the depths of the ocean, where did the animals even come from???

It’s pretty much only worth a viewing if you like making snarky comments about what you are watching. (This is a regular pastime in the Darqueling household.) Also, the effects are pretty awesome so the visuals are cool. But if you are looking for a good story that has much of anything to do with Verne’s book, skip it.

 

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