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A Fun Family Trip

  • May 1, 2009
  • by
Brendan Fraser, Anita Briem and Josh Hutcherson go deep in the relatively entertaining tale "Journey To The Center Of The Earth." This version of "Journey" is not a remake nor is it an adaptation of the Jules Verne adventure that some many other films have been based on.

In this particular tale, Fraser plays a seismic geologist named Trevor Anderson who is losing students and his brother's memorial research center at the university where he teaches and does research. When his nephew, Sean (Hutcherson), comes up to spend a few days with him before moving with his mother to Canada, the pair uncover notes in Sean's father's copy of "A Journey to the Center of the Earth" that match up with some of Trevor's research. This leads them to believe that Sean's dad might have been on to something before he went missing in the field.

With Sean's father's copy of "Journey" in tow, a hasty trip to Iceland is planned to check data gathered at one of Trevor's sites. Notes in the novel lead the pair to an obscure professor's research institute in Iceland where they meet the now-deceased scientist's daughter, Hannah (Briem). She agrees to guide them on their quest and then the three of them literally journey to the center of the Earth.

Once the group enters the cave that will eventually lead to the center of the Earth, the viewer is offered a ton of visual oohh's and ahhh's.

Originally shot in 3-D, the film relies on the gimmick a bit too much at times and the plot suffers for it. The CGI is very vibrant and colorful, and can be sketchy at certain points. However, the entire film has a light air to it, and the sometimes goofy CGI only aids to this. From runaway mining cars a la "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" to a race for life against an enormous T-Rex that nods to "Jurassic Park," the writers/director/producers know exactly what they've got with this film and try to build upon it throughout the movie.

Fraser, Hutcherson and Briem work very well together. While there's quite a bit of generic dialogue between the characters, they seem to be in on the joke that this film is meant strictly to entertain and do nothing else. All three of them seemed to be having fun with the silliness of the script.

While it isn't the greatest family film out there, it is definitely a crowd pleaser for families with children under the age of thirteen. Some of the action might be a little tough for younger viewers to watch, but the film has no foul language (although adults and most kids will pick up the "shist" line easily), no sexuality and only brief moments of peril.

Take it for what it is. It's funny, silly and plays to Fraser's comedic strengths. He's one of the few actors who can pull off the action/comedy bit and do it well. It's more deserving of three-and-a-half stars than four, but I rounded up for the simple fact that it is a very fun film to watch.

Recommended to families with children interested in science fiction and fantasy, fans of Fraser's work, and to folks who just want to turn of their brains for a bit and have a good laugh.

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More Journey to the Center of the E... reviews
review by . November 15, 2008
I am a fan of science fiction, especially the classical kind of Jules Verne, H.G. Wells and other European authors of the pre-Hollywood era. I've read many of these books, and have watched almost all the English-language movie adaptations of said books, and I will say that this is the best adaptation of Journey to the Center of the Earth produced by Hollywood so far. This version is not as faithful to the book's plot as previous versions. But as a movie, it is by far the best, for the following …
review by . October 19, 2008
One of the things I will always say about Brendan Fraser is, he's a great actor who is a part of some terrible movies. What is it about the guy that has him reading a script and saying "yeah I wanna star in that movie"? Does he have some form of learning difficulty, or does he do it on purpose to test how far he can push his fans before they say "OK that's enough"? One thing's for sure, "Journey to the Centre of the Earth" is one of his worst films to date. Not only is it a terrible story featuring …
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Kendall Fontenot ()
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Despite looking extremely cool, I have to admit that I'm a dork. I grew up on the outskirts of the small town of Oberlin, LA. I have since relocated to the Lake Charles, LA area.I love my home state … more
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When a seismic geologist (Brendan Fraser) discovers his lost brother's notes in a copy of the titular Jules Verne novel, he and his nephew (Josh Hutcherson,Bridge to Terabithia,Zathura) head to Iceland. There, joined by a fetching mountain guide (played by Icelandic actress Anita Briem), they get trapped in a cavern and go down, down, down, finally arriving in a primeval underworld full of prehistoric beasts and carnivorous plants. It would be pointless to complain about the empty-headedness of it all;Journey to the Center of the Earthaspires to be a kinesthetic experience. It wants to engage your adrenal glands, not your brain or your heart (the dialogue and characters are so generic, the script may have been cut-and-pasted from previous versions of Verne's book). Fraser, with his goofy handsomeness and accessible presence, provides a reasonably human axis around which all the frantic flying and swooping CGI effects revolve. The movie is as hollow as the world it depicts, but as mindless action movies go, you could do a lot worse. (Note:Journey to the Center of the Earthwas released in theaters in 3-D, full of whizz-bang demonstrations of how far 3-D technology had come--trilobite antennae quivering towards the audience, a T-rex lunging out of the frame, even affable star Brendan Fraser spitting on us--as well as a half-dozen action sequences clearly destined to become video games or theme park rides.)--Bret Fetzer
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Director: Eric Brevig
DVD Release Date: October 28, 2008
Runtime: 93 minutes
Studio: New Line Home Video
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