Journey 2: The Mysterious Island is exactly what you expect, a kid-friendly special effects romp that will either give you a few chuckles or bore you senseless. A sequel to the Brendan Fraser film, Journey to the Center of the Earth, it picks up with Josh Hutcherson reprising his role as teen explorer - Sean Anderson. His mother (Kristen Davis) has married a hulking ex-navy seal, Hank (Dwayne Johnson), with a penchant for cryptography and an earnest desire to befriend Sean. Turns out that Sean's grandfather, Alexander (Michael Caine), has been missing for two years. He sends Sean a coded radio signal from the middle of nowhere in the Pacific. Sean and Hank take a bonding trip to discover the signal's origin. They end up hiring a goofy helicopter pilot (Luis Guzman) and his daughter (Vanessa Hudgens). The adventure takes a turn for the dangerous when the helicopter crashes on a strange, prehistoric world; stranding the team.
First and foremost, this is a children's film. There's literally ten minutes of runtime before the characters are on the island, in all of its 3D glory. So there's very little exposition or character development here. There's a humdrum attempt to establish a father / son storyline, but it's at a sitcom level of complexity. This whole movie is geared for strapping on your 3D glasses and watching giant lizards chase our intrepid team. I can appreciate these scenes for what they are. If I had a bunch of ten year olds, and had to keep them quiet for ninety-minutes, then Journey 2 is exactly what the doctor ordered.
I'm a fan of Jules Verne. This film, in its own goofy way, is a tribute to his work. It's not nearly as endearing, nor does it really stick to the Jules Verne novel; but - hopefully - it does spur an interest in classic science fiction novels. This is pure conjecture on my part, but I have a feeling kids today are not steered towards these books as much as before. Maybe they'll see this, put down the game console, get off Facebook, and download the novel on their Ipad or Kindle.
The dialogue, the entire script, is woeful. I heard a few other reviewers lamenting how poor the script was after the screening. Really? What did they expect? What annoys me is when an advertising campaign leads you to believe something different about a film, then you're unpleasantly surprised when you see the movie. This isn't the case here. Every trailer, TV spot, accurately represents Journey 2. Do not hold this standard too high or you will be sorely disappointed. This film could have easily gotten a G-rating. Take the kids for a matinee and you're in for a fun time.