Journey 2: The Mysterious Island on Blu-ray
When I was a young child, anything that had the word ‘journey’, ‘mysterious’ or ‘island’ in it, I totally would have been hooked. So you can imagine how excited I was when Warner Brothers sent me a copy of Journey 2: The Mysterious Island. I didn’t realize this was a sequel, so I just assumed the 2 stood for ‘two times the excitement of a normal movie about mysterious islands’. I was wrong, there was a first journey in 2008, Journey to the Center of the Earth, starring Brendan Frasier, Josh Hutcherson, and Seth Meyers (Seth Meyers! REALLY?!). Both journeys are inspired by books of Jules Verne. Loosely. Real loosely.
Hutcherson is the only recognizable name that came back for this sequel as brilliant (this is a character trait, not a trait of the actor particularly), but young and angst-y Sean. Added to the cast were Dwayne Johnson as a navy vet, step-dad. Michael Caine, as his not-very-responsible, but wonderfully adventurous grandpa. And for the comedy/romantic needs, Luis Guzmán plays a wildly naïve helicopter pilot willing to take Sean and his step-dad to the island, while Vanessa Hudgens, his dutiful daughter tags along.
An inherited trait, Sean believes the books of Jules Verne were based on fact, not fiction. And he believes that a cryptic, coded radio message he receives is from his grandfather Alex, who may be stuck on the titular island and hasn’t been heard from in two years. In an effort to befriend his step-son, Hank (Johnson) agrees at the slightest suggestion to fly to Palau with Sean, and try and find the island. They do, of course. And they find the strange world Verne wrote about. Including, small animals that became huge, and huge animals that became small. This quickly leads to a meeting with an enormous iguana protecting her nest. This first major effect is confidently done, and pretty impressive for the children’s movie. At this point, however, the effects start getting sloppier, and sloppier. It seems like the filmmakers may have been more interested in the 3D effects, than the normal, flying-bird-chase-on-the-back-of-giant-bees type scenes. While the island has defined rules of logic, they were completely ignored in order to wrap things up tidily.
I have to be honest, as an adult, there were several times I cringed. Mostly at the dialogue, one-liners, and some of the incredibly huge plot holes and inconsistencies. And I will constantly wonder why exactly Josh Hutcherson gets roles (despite that square jaw of his). This being said, the inner 10-year-old was in a bit of 10-year-old heaven. From the opening chase scene, featuring Sean trying to jump a pool to escape the police, to when they improvised scuba gear to find Captain Nemo’s infamous Nautilus. For kids, boys particularly as there are large bugs and beasts of all sorts, this seems like a perfectly adequate film that delivers on every point it absolutely must.
The Blu-ray’s bonus features include:
- ‘Are you strong enough to survive Mysterious Island?’ Interactive Map
- Gag Reel
- Deleted Scenes
Warner Brothers provided BFR with a Blu-ray for this review