Pat Boone did it. Treat Williams, F. Murray Abraham, Kathy Ireland and even Ricky Schroder have done it. Now Brendan Fraser invites us to accompany him on a Journey to the Center of the Earth.
Perhaps the lack luster parade of previous adaptations lead me not to expect much from this movie. It seems that every couple of years someone turns to a Jules Vern novel for cinematic inspiration, but with a $35 special effects budget. Due to this, despite loving the book and enjoying Fraser’s works in the past, I entered the theater with a sense of palpable dread.
I was surprised and pleasantly so. Journey is a pretty good movie. It isn’t a ground breaking Oscar contender that changed my life. But, it is an enjoyable story with a a fresh twist within the realms of movies inspired by the book.
Fraser plays Trevor Anderson, an incredibly ordinary scientist/ college professor who is seeking answers to what happened to his missing brother. Along with his brother’s son, Sean Anderson, played by Josh Hutcherson (Firehouse Dog, Zathura: A Space Adventure), he teams up with a vivacious mountain guide, Hannah Ásgeirsson, played by Anita Briem (“The Tudors”) to take a day trip hike to a seismic sensor. Things go down the tubes, literally, for trio from there.
In all, I would recommend this movie for someone looking for either a decent family movie or a non rom-com date film. While it is a basic linear story, there is enough action and good writing to keep your attention. I would definitely recommend seeing the movie in 3D, if at all possible. This is the first theatrical release of a film available to the public in RealD XL. This large screen technology, from REALD 3D, allows the 3D experience to reach screens over 60 feet wide with a single projector, and definitely enhances this movie (which translates into all kinds of cool). There are parts of this movie that could be described as Jurassic Park underground, and if you want to get the most of that you will want to be sporting the 3D glasses.
However, I would tell people who can’t stop themselves from picking a movie apart to skip this one. If you are the type who is compelled to consider whether the subterranean ecosystem could support a food chain which culminates with a gigantic prehistoric predator… stay home. I don’t believe this movie really takes itself too seriously and if you can’t turn off your skepticism and just have fun you are not going to like this film.
Journey to the Center of the Earth
Walden Media / New Line Cinema
Opens: July 11, 2008
Runtime:1 hr. 32 min.