Journey 2: The Mysterious Island
Young adventurer Sean Anderson (Josh Hutcherson: The Kids Are Alright) intercepts a mysterious message referencing Jules Verne. Sure he had to break into a satellite station to get the signal, but what’s a little arrest in the quest for adventure?
Stepfather Hank (Dwayne Johnson: Fast Five) talks the cops out of pressing charges, so Sean confesses what’s going on: His grandfather, Alexander, (Michael Caine: Cars 2) is a Vernian, believing that the works of Jules Verne are fact, not fiction. Off the grid for years, Grandpa returned to report finding Jules Verne’s Mysterious Island.
Like any concerned parent, Hank tries to win Sean’s acceptance by financing a trip to find Grandpa. In Palau, the not-so-dynamic duo hires a helicopter to take them to the middle of the ocean, where storms are known to swallow ships and planes whole.
The helicopter crashes, dumping the crew on Mysterious Island, where they find Grandpa and explore the wondrous island of Verne’s book.
The mysterious stuff is more odd than anything. Elephants are tiny. Bugs are huge. A volcano spouts gold. The lost city of Atlantis is on the island, too. It’s a nice enough place, with one problem: It’s sinking.
Every 140 years, Mysterious Island goes underwater, then pops back up after a century or so. Hey! Maybe Lerner and Loewe visited the island with Verne to find inspiration for Brigadoon.
If you’re wondering how the wildlife and city structures survive a salt-water dive for 140 years, so was I.
The film itself is reminiscent of old Disney adventure movies like The Swiss Family Robinson. Plot is bare, scenery is lovely and the acting skills of the marooned family went down with the vessel.
Hutcherson is poised for stardom having won a plum role in the upcoming Hunger Games, but his performance as the world’s most unlikable teen is neither convincing nor interesting. He whines, he pouts, he’s rude to everyone but his grandpa and the sexy girl stuck on the island with him. You wonder why his long-suffering stepfather doesn’t feed Sean to the giant lizard that stalks the group.
As Alexander, Michael Caine proves again that he’ll make any movie if the price is right. It’s a shame, since Caine’s presence almost always elevates lackluster material. Here, however, he’s roped into playing a rude adventurer who’s been living alone for too long. No one asks what happened to his original crew, but I presume they wandered into the jungle to die rather than listen to his boring theories on Verne.
The movie isn’t a total loss when it comes to performers. Johnson, better known as The Rock, displays surprising charm and panache in an otherwise lazy movie. He sings. He cracks jokes. He pops his pecks. Now if only he could write a script.
This is a film for the young ones in your family. Lots of colors, neat animals and silly humor will keep them entertained. If, however, you are smarter than a fifth grader, you might want to skip this dull flick and hope The Rock finds material that matches his charm.