Based on the Jules Verne novel The Mysterious Island, and incorporating aspects of Treasure Island and Gulliver’s travel, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island is a fantastical adventure movie. Josh Hutcherson plays Sean Anderson, a young Vernian who has decoded messages from his Grandfather with instructions on how to find the Mysterious Island.
Hank (Dwayne Johnson), Sean’s step-father and ex-Naval serviceman, takes Sean to the area of the Pacific in which the Mysterious Island is supposedly located. When their helicopter crashes through a hurricane the group, which now includes helicopter pilot Gabato (Luis Guzman) and his daughter Kailani ( Vanessa Hudgens), discovers that the Mysterious Island is real and they now must find a way to leave.
The film wastes no time in getting to the point. Within a few minutes of the opening the pair are on their way to the Island and it is easy to see why the script is in such a rush to get you there. The Island scenes look fantastic, lush jungle backdrops and vibrant colours. The Island is also said to be the inspiration for both Treasure Island and Gullivers travels as well as the Verne novel and this allows for a much greater array of shiny things for the Island to show off, including miniature elephants and volcanoes of molten gold.
As well as the wonderful visuals there are also nods to genre greats (read Spielberg films) such as Jurassic Park and the Indiana Jones franchise and a spiritual kinship with the Uncharted series of video games in the melding of fiction and myths.These aesthetic triumphs do not cover over the problems that the film faces however.
The script is contrived, it has to be bent around the features picked out from the source material. The interactions between characters never feels believable, the dialogue screams basic movie script with every line. Michael Caine, playing the Grandfather, is the worst culprit here with a performance somewhere between half-hearted and coin-counting.
Not a film I would rush to recommend but a basic adventure film that requires no cranial exertion in order to make it to the end, a much more entertaining film for children than for adults.
Another action packed journey for The Rock in this second film as he plays reformed getaway driver and current cabbie Jack Bruno who gets thrown together with a set of alien twins(AnnaSophia Robb and Alexander Ludwig). He must use his driving skills to get the pair to the government facility that holds their crashed ship in order to save the world.
Race to Witch Mountain’s greatest achievement is that it manages to make a boring film out of the rock rescuing aliens. Robb and Ludwig put in creepy performances as the extra terrestrial twins but that doesn’t cover the sheer lack of entertaining action. Journey 2: The Mysterious Island manages to at least have some exciting and interesting sequences, Race to Witch Mountain had me bored to tears by the end. Being a Disney production any edge the film could have had surrounding the conspiracy aspects of the film have been rounded off and what could have been an interesting alien movie ends up as an inconsequential journey to the credits.
Featured Wrestler: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
The Rock was always an entertaining wrestler, not always the most technically proficient but an electrifying presence none the less. As an actor he comes across similarly. I don’t think he’ll ever progress in to serious dramatic pieces but for blockbuster action he is full of muscles and charismatic enough to pull off hero roles. Aside from a cringeworthy ukulele performance in Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, The Rock is likeable and fun to watch; he also manages to be the first wrestler I’ve watched on film that doesn’t have to rely on combat in his roles. Disappointing in a way because it would have been wonderful to watch Michael Caine receive a Rock Bottom.