Journey 2: The Mysterious Island Jul 2, 2012 16:30:59 GMT -5
Post by StevePulaski on Jul 2, 2012 16:30:59 GMT -5
Luis Guzman, Josh Hutcherson, Vanessa Hudgens, and Dwayne Johnson.
Your initial question when approaching Journey 2: The Mysterious Island is, most likely, what is it a sequel to? Apparently, it is the loose follow up to 2008's Journey to the Center of Earth (unseen by me), which was one of the first films to utilize 3D, in its RealD revival form. Its sequel, made four years later, included the same medium and the forthcoming sequel to this film, arriving in 2014, will likely utilize it as well. I can't speak for the 3D viewing, but I can say, it certainly doesn't seem necessary.
Journey 2: The Mysterious Island is probably 2012's most interesting adventure film. Not great. Not riveting. But often exciting, cheery, and enjoyable. It flashes back to that style of adventure filmmaking Disney would continuously use in the 1950's, 1960's, and 1970's, like Swiss Family Robinson and the Witch Mountain franchise (recently remade, also boasting Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson). Maybe it was The Rock's instantly charismatic charm, the nostalgic outline and delightful homage the film pays, or possibly the underlying sweetness of all the characters, the lavish scenery, or the beautifully employed action sequences, but Journey 2: The Mysterious Island shredded my cynicism at the door and bravely carried me throughout its runtime.
The story follows seventeen year old adventure-seeker Sean Anderson (Josh Hutcherson) as he relentlessly tries to decode a message sent to him by his grandfather, Alexander Anderson, who has been missing on an island for two years. Sean is very distant from his step-father, Hank Parsons (Dwayne Johnson), and Hank makes a kind and earnest attempt to connect with him by trying to decode the message. When it is done (in an incredulous amount of minutes), Sean desperately wants to make the journey to Palau, where he can then get a ride out to sea where the island, named "The Mysterious Island," is located and hopefully find his grandfather. After cracking, Hank makes the effortless purchase of two tickets to Palau and the adventure is just beginning.
The two meet Gabato (Luis Guzman) and his daughter, Kailani (Vanessa Hudgens), who agree to fly them out to the island, because nobody else will, for $3000. Because the island is surrounded by vicious winds and hurricane-like storms, they crash land on the sand and begin exploring. They eventually meet up with Sean's grandfather, played by Michael Caine, where they learn that the entire island will sink in only a few days, so they decide they are the ones who need to stop it.
Whoa, have I said a mouthful. Still following me? Notice how I used some words like "effortless" and "incredulous?" It is those instances the film erects itself on. Insanely, next to impossible circumstances that can be solved in a fast few minutes. For someone who isn't good at suspending disbelief, the film truly made me look past that and see lighthearted, cheeky escapism it sincerely wants to bring. Cheeky meaning the film is jam-packed with strange villains and hazards, along with some mildly crude dialog, not to mention calling out cliches inhabited by other adventure movies from decades back.
Journey 2 is directed with skill and coordination by Brad Peyton, and includes some of the most enticing scenery this year in film. While most of it is CGI, the campiness and joyful qualities from adventure films from decades past is replicated in a wondrous and limitless way, catering to the homage part of the film's checklist. Aerial shots come frequently, and none of them feel too long or overstayed. They feel welcomed and are embraced.
There are times when Journey 2 gets too reliant on toilet humor, mainly from the ungraceful character, Gabato, but everything is kept in a positive, unobtrusive wit that manages to carry the film throughout most of its course. The picture, as a whole, is so harmless and genial that it's kind of hard to hate. Sometimes with children's movies, I get the message, I get the story, and I get the overall plot, but am not interested nor entranced in the story or characters. While many things are stock and many things are kept very basic (the love story between Sean and Kailani), I enjoyed Journey 2: The Mysterious Island more than other adventure films this year, including one that has swept the box office and is based on a novel that everyone has read. It employs something often lost in children's films and that something is pleasantness.
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Michael Caine, Josh Hutcherson, Vanessa Hudgens, Luis Guzman, and Kristin Davis. Directed by: Brad Peyton.