Director: Eric Brevig
Cast: Brendan Fraser, Josh Hutcherson, Anita
RunTime: 1 hr 32 mins
Released By: Warner Bros
Official Website: http://www.journey3dmovie.com/
Day: 7 August 2008
exciting adventure based on the classic Jules Verne novel
"Journey to the Center of the Earth," "Journey
to the Center of the Earth 3D" stars Brendan Fraser ("Crash,"
"The Mummy") as a science professor whose untraditional
hypotheses have made him the laughing stock of the academic
community. But on an expedition in Iceland, he and his nephew
stumble upon a major discovery that launches them on a thrilling
journey deep beneath the Earth's surface, where they travel
through never-before-seen worlds and encounter a variety of
Singapore will be well acquainted with Brendan Fraser as he
lends his star power to two summer blockbusters being shown
one week after another, first up with the continuation proper
for the Mummy franchise (and you thought Dwayne Johnson would
run away with this vehicle, but sorry, the real deal returns),
and then there is this gimmick of a movie based on the Jules
Verne's classic Journey to the Center of the Earth.
Unfortunately, local audiences will have to wait until later
this year to catch this movie in its intended 3D glory, when
Singapore hosts the first ever 3D Film & Entertainment
Technology Festival (3DX). For the theatrical release,
we have to make do with just, at best, a digital print. Do
the thrills now evaporate with the lack of 3D? Not really,
as they still hold up nicely in 2D. However you can't help
but to sit through this nagging feeling that you're missing
out on a lot that the film wished to allow an audience to
If a movie is specifically made with 3D in mind, you can bet
your last dollar that every action sequence out there, is
designed to immerse and trick your visual sensory that you
are indeed participating and caught up in the thick of things.
Yes, a yo-yo flies toward you, and that nasty fish and plant
too. Oh, vertigo grips you for stunts at dizzying heights,
not to mention motion-sickness as well, and that roller-coaster
in a mine that's a rip off from Indiana Jones and the Temple
of Doom? Yes, your ten-dollar ticket buys you that ride too.
In fact, if this was a Disney movie, you can also begin to
expect that the action sequences here will get replicated
into theme park rides.
Having read the book when I was a kid, it's suffice to say
that this is not a straight forward, direct adaptation of
the storyline within, but rather an extract of the actionable
elements into a full blown excuse to make this movie. And
it doesn't take a lot of cerebral effort to make a popcorn
movie like this, which is sans intelligent plot, and sans
intelligent dialogue as well, at times trying to crack jokes
which just fall with a splat. Strip away all the contrived
dramatic elements, and you can see just what this movie is
all about - a technological showcase which sadly, we got drawn
the shortest straw in having the major 3D element missing
for the commercial release.
But that's not to say that the movie is not enjoyable. If
you like your summer movies loud and with banal dialogue spouted
by eye candy cast, and without a need to exercise your mind
after a hard day's work, then this movie will serve as perfect
fodder for you. And I admit there were a few moments where
I was just sitting at the edge of my seat as I observe how
the characters get through their difficult ordeal, one which
just involves Sean Anderson (Josh Hutcherson, whom we last
saw in Bridge to Terabithia) and a sizable rock. Completing
the trio of adventurers are Fraser's scientist character Trevor
Anderson, who seem more like a cardboard caricature of his
Mummy's Rick O'Connell, and Anita Briem's Icelandic guide
Hanna Asgeirsson, whose hiking haversack is exactly like Doraemon's
pouch of equipment.
While you get a breather in the middle of the movie as the
calm before the literal storm, what irked me was the sloppy
editing and the obvious continuity errors that crept into
its presentation, one which involves a book with varying thickness
due to thumbing through, differing from cut to cut, and the
other involves magical bags (not part of the story) which
appear and disappear at will and at the story's convenience.
But if you're willing to put those aside, then the CGI-crafted
landscape does mesmerize from time to time, though not always.
While the genre does put "Children", you might want to re-consider
it a little if you intend to bring a toddler to the screenings
and then have him/her disturb everyone, as there are intense,
frightening sequences that would make your kid scream and
maybe cry out loud. Well, if the adults around me had jolted
in their seats (and this being a 2D screening mind you) at
sudden images being hurled on screen from time to time, then
it's not hard to imagine what they'll do to the little ones.
In summary, just pay the price of an admission ticket, and
enjoy the ride!
(Jules Verne is made sexy again - watch this movie
for popcorn entertainment, but read the book for something
Review by Stefan Shih