One of the oddest franchises of the last couple of years is the Journey series. The first film, Journey to the Center of the Earth (which starred Brendan Fraser) managed to make $100 Million domestic, and inspired a sequel with Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson stepping if for Fraser. It too made over $100 Domestic and much, much more internationally. Journey 2: The Mysterious Island stars Johnson, Josh Hutcherson, Michael Caine and Vanessa Hudgens in an adventure on an island that reveals itself to be Atlantis. Our review of Journey 2 The Mysterious Island on Blu-ray follows after the jump.
Hutcherson plays Sean, who starts the film being chased by the police. He broke into to a transceiver so he could get a coded message. His little stunt gets him arrested, and his stepfather Hank (Johnson) gets him out of trouble. But the message reveals the location of a mysterious island of legend. They go to find it, and recruit Gabato (Luiz Guzman) and his daughter Kailani (Hudgens) to take them there via helicopter. The copter crashes, but there’s no movie if they don’t find the mysterious island, which is filled with all sorts of wonder, from miniature elephants to gigantic lizards. It’s there they meet Sean’s Grandfather Alexander (Caine), who has been sending out the signal. He’s found Atlantis, and he knows it will sink to the bottom of the ocean in a couple of years, but those years become hours when his calculations prove wrong, so they have to find Captain Nemo’s Nautilus to escape.
There’s not much of a story here, and the romantic interest between Hudgens and Hutcherson is pre-ordained. But Johnson shows that he is a movie star in the film by nearly single-handedly making interesting choices, and by being funny. He more than makes up for Hudgens, who might attractive as all get out, but can’t manage to show fear without cracking a smile. When asked to do pretty much anything, she’s at a loss. Guzman helps, as does Caine. But Hudgens should be banned from cinema as anything but eye candy until she takes some acting lessons.
The plotting of the film basically says that the film is a ride, so there’s going to be something CGI-exciting every couple of minutes. But the performers are engaging enough to make the film interesting, even if the idea of stepfather’s being accepted is never trusted to be subtext. It’s text. I guess it’s for little children. Still, painless.
Warner Brothers presents the film on Blu-ray in widescreen (1.85:1) and in 5.1 DTS-HD Master audio. The transfer is excellence. The Blu-ray set also comes with a digital copy and a DVD. Extras are limited. There’s an ‘interactive’ feature that lets you walk around the island with making of clips for each section. There’s a junior explorer section that makes offers the same footage in a less interactive version (21 min.). There’s a blooper reel (1 min.) and five (6 min.) useless deleted scenes.