February 20, 2012 by Vinnie Leduc
Journey 2: The Mysterious Island marks the second Brendan Fraser franchise (The Mummy) that Dwayne Johnson started to take over (via The Scorpion King), but this time The Rock was much more successful as it looks like he’s permanently supplanted Fraser, whose character I don’t think was even mentioned in this sequel, as the adult male lead in the Journey series.
I wouldn’t blame Fraser for jumping ship because I actually saw Journey to the Center of the Earth (hey, free admittance thanks to my cuz!), and it was one of the worst 3D abominations I’ve ever sat through, including My Bloody Valentine 3D, Shark Night 3D, and Piranha 3D. If not for The Smurfs, The Three Musketeers, or Yogi Bear, the first Journey would still hold my personal title for worst 3D movie of all-time, a dishonor it had retained for almost half a decade.
The trailers for Journey 2 could’ve included better highlights (more on that later), but after my experience with the original, I definitely wasn’t going to pay for this one either, despite Va-va-voomessa Hudgens (who’s 18, right? Yeah, good). The Mysterious Island ended up being an in-betweener while movie-hopping.
I can see how much great entertainment Journey 2 can be for families, which explains its surprising success at the box office, and I probably would’ve enjoyed this a couple decades ago. The integration of different classic novels into the plot is neat, and the 3D is actually quite impressive, especially when combined with the slow-mo. The trailers simply don’t do it justice, but that could be a good thing in an era when most previews spoil the best parts.
Imaginative sets and decent action sequences throughout various exotic backdrops of the mystical island amount to a true adventure that will thrill children and maybe younger teens, too. I can only imagine what a 3D version or update of Jurassic Park, King Kong, or Honey, I Shrunk the Kids would be like. Which is basically what this movie is, except much closer to PG land than PG-13 territory, so you know ultimately everything works out somehow… ever so conveniently, magically, or arbitrarily.
Josh Hutcherson, the only connection to the original Journey besides that very word in both titles, has had a long career as a child actor, and he’s set to break through in The Hunger Games coming up next month. Michael Caine, enjoy your paycheck. I hope you saved your strength for our Most Anticipated Movie of 2012. Luis Guzman is there purely for comic relief, but he’s not always funny, probably because the inclusion of every single little comment of his to everything that happens results in an overall overdone feeling. Vanessa Hudgens. Damn, I don’t want to sound like a pedophile, but damn. I mean, she’s in a tight tank top the entire time, and there’s a slow-mo shot of her during a storm. So she’s wet. In 3D. C’mon! Just that is better than her Blondie in Sucker Punch.
Although he didn’t have to do too much, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island shows that Dwayne Johnson may be able to take on genres beyond strictly action. It’s probably The Rock’s best family film, but there’s not much competition in the category. Race to Witch Mountain?… The Tooth Fairy???… That one was so crappy that they dumped the Wikipedia-less sequel straight to video, and only Larry the Cable Guy accepted the gig. As for future Journeys, there’s no stinger after the credits of The Mysterious Island, but I expect sequels. If you need to babysit some kids, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island will do. Journey 2: The Mysterious Island gets 2.5 out of 5 stars or C+ or Okay.