Monday, 20 February 2012

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island

My love for Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson knows no bounds and I went to see Journey 2: The Mysterious Island because he is one of the stars. Okay, well that and my nephew begged me to take him and his friend and I can't resist their cuteness. That is how I found myself at the theater last Saturday surrounded by kids and wearing, brace yourselves, 3D glasses. Now, I've written about my loathing of 3D many a time and fully intended to see the non-queasy version, but they only had one showing and that had been sold out. So, there I was wearing those damned glasses and 26 bucks lighter in the wallet for the two tickets.

Journey 2 is a rif slash sequel to 2008's Journey to the Center of the Earth with Brendan Fraser. Using the fiction of Jules Verne, Jonathan Swift and Robert Louis Stevenson as a takeoff for the adventure, the film centers on Sean, Fraser's nephew from the first movie. We pick up with the kid's life years after his amazing adventure with Uncle B and plot hole the first: What happened to the dough accumulated from the big ass diamonds from the original film? We never get that explanation. All we see is him being a miserable little so and so with 'tude to spare. Enter Hank, the Stepfather aka The Rock. He's a pretty cool guy and their relationship feels authentic with Hank trying too hard to be nice and Sean being extra-resistant. There is some great chemistry between them.

In order to try and bond with Sean, Hank helps him decipher a bizarre message sent from some mysterious coordinates. The message is supposedly from Sean's grandfather, who disappeared while looking for Jules Verne's fabled island. There's always some "mysterious" coordinates/map/message/emergency beacon/email from Nigeria to get the ball rolling. If it ain't broke, I guess. Anyway, without protest from Mom or any other logical arguments, Sean promptly takes time off of school to head to Palau. And if you're wondering how the eff he can do that no questions asked, why he's an A student. Gee, I was an A student and my father would have laughed, then kicked my ass if I decided to check out of school mid-year for a big damned vacation.

I digress.

Once on Palau, we get a few moments of Sean being a know-it-all before his comeuppance, then the inevitable meet cute with Gabato, a broke, but loveable helicopter tour guide and his teen daughter, Kailani. They agree to take our heroes to the island-that-doesn't-exist. Luis Guzman plays Gabato with his usual comedic flair. I love, love Luis and enjoy him every time I see him. No exception here, his character had me laughing and his chemistry with Vanessa Hudgens was evident.

The 3D doesn't really get going until they fly through this strange Category 5 hurricane and arrive on the island. How there is a Cat 5 storm that blows up in the middle of the Pacific with no weather agency reporting it is all part of the "mystery." It's not even good f/x, mostly a bunch of spinning stuff breaking away to fly at us. I expected better. Anyway, so now they're on the island, let's explore, yay!

It is of course, decorated in standard tropical, a very lush, gorgeous place, filled with strange animals like teeny elephants and giant lizards. There's apparently some sort of size bender that makes all the small animals large, the big ones tiny and so forth. Scientific theory from Gulliver's Travels. Although, why fireflies are still the same size and medium animals like eels become ginormous is not fully absorbed into this theory. Nor did we get to meet any Lilliputians, damn it. We do get to see a Swiss Family Robinson style tree house that Gramps had built from his sailboat. He even built a radio from an alarm clock and copper that he mined himself. Methinks Gramps had prior island experience with a certain Gilligan, Ginger and Maryann. Michael Caine does do a pretty good job as the old codger, though.

After spending the night in the Minnow, er tree house, they set off to find a way off the island. It apparently lies with Captain Nemo's submarine. Plothole number 2. Grandpa has been on this island for like 3 years and it's a mere 10 square miles. How has he missed this submarine? Anyway,they forage ahead and enter Atlantis, yes, that Atlantis. Riddle me this, how does an island that appears for a few years every 140 years or so, then explodes and sinks to the bottom of the sea again, keep a small city of buildings standing?

They pick up the necessary submarine clues in A Town then trudge through some more shock and awe 3D island flora. In a pretty cool series of f/x, our group hurtles through the air on honeybees the size of Smart Cars while being chased by a bird that is more pterodactyl than avian.

After putting the smackdown on the bird, our group gets separated as the island starts to sink. Hank and Sean make it to the Nautilus and fire things up while Gramps and Kailani go after the now lost Gabato. In furious spectacle of 3D, colors and dizzying camera angles, it is the proverbial race to escape before the island completely blows itself to Kingdom Come.

It's not a bad movie in spite of my sarcasm and my frustrating search for logic in a film that is clearly only intended to be mind candy. I enjoyed the ride, overall and even the normally nausea-inducing 3D was not too overpowering. My nephew and his friend, enjoyed the hell out of it and I, of course, loved the pec popping of Dwayne Johnson. (I'm so naughty, LOL)There's something for everyone, so go on, turn off your brain and have some fun.

12 comments:

Donna K. Weaver said...

I have to admit there were a few laughs, and my little boy grandsons would have enjoyed it a lot. I should have waited to see it at the dollar flick.

Melissa Bradley said...

@Donna the nephew and his friend had a blast. My laughs weren't so much, but I did have fun and there was the Rock. ;)

Craig Edwards said...

Sounds like a fair assessment to me! Interestingly, although exterior chunks were shot in Hawaii, the interiors and green screen stuff was all shot here in Wilmington NC. Happy to report only nice things said about Mr. Johnson and Mr. Caine from my pals who worked on the movie. Glad you gave the 3-D a go, too. I haven't seen either of these; not forseeing changing that any time soon. Cheers!

Melissa Bradley said...

@Craig That is too cool! Wilmington is certainly a very happening film town. Glad to hear your friends have nothing, but good to report on Dwayne and Michael.

Nebular said...

Ah, I just love your sarcasm, hon. Your reviews are always clever and entertaining to read, but you're at your best when you're being sarcastic. :) Yesterday me and my pals booked tickets for this one, and we'll give it a shot next Tuesday. I expect nothing but great CGIs, some decent use of 3D and a couple of action scenes thrown in. Ah, and much like you, I love The Rock. His pec popping was hilarious in the trailer, and I can't wait to see it again.

Melissa Bradley said...

@Nebular Why thank you! I'm so glad you love my sarcasm, hon. ;)You will not be disappointed by the pec popping. It was very eye-catching, LOL. Dwayne's character Hank was terrific. And I have to admit, the CGI 3D was not bad and I got through it without feeling sick. LOL

Jamie Gibbs said...

I wasn't too hot on Journey (the 3D in that one hurt my eyes) so I think I'll give this one a miss. Seems a little too non-sensical for my liking :)

Melissa Bradley said...

@Jamie Fortunately, I saw Journey in good ol' 2D, but I was a bit surprised at how I did not get nauseated with the 3D here. Still, it was non-sensical, but I had fun, mostly because of the Rock and my nephews. :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I've been surprised by the amount of reviews that said it was enjoyable. (The movie poster alone screams 'This is going to suck!') And if the Rock gets any bigger, he'll explode.

Matthew Vanacore said...

Per our Twitter talk, I have no desire to see this. It just is not, as they say, my cup of tea. But I thoroughly appreciate your appraisal. And your love for the Rock is a worthwhile motivation. That being said, outstanding review. My niece and nephew would love this movie.

Melissa Bradley said...

@Alex Yeah I was shocked by my enjoyment as well because that poster does scream suck. What can I say? I have my weird movie moments. ;)

Melissa Bradley said...

@Matt Thank you! Yes, my love of the Rock has led me to see some movies I would normally avoid like the plague, cough Game Plan cough. ;) This is definitely not a movie for most film lovers, it is a great movie for the kids though. I'm sure you niece and nephew will enjoy themselves.