Now Showing on Cable: “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island”

Journey_2

Premiering this weekend on HBO was this year’s “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island”.

Starring Dwayne Johnson, Josh Hutcherson, Vanessa Hudgens, Luis Guzman and Michael Caine, this “family friendly” film posits that Jules Verne’s “Mysterious Island” actually exists.

When a young man gets a coded transmission from his adventurer grandfather, he and his stepfather head off in search of the legendary island, only to discover more than they bargained for. Along with the family crew of the downed helicopter they chartered to get them there, they’ll have to find a way not only to survive, but to escape the “Mysterious Island”.

Aimed squarely at kids, this film needs to be given a little bit of slack for its juvenile sensibilities and slight characters.  But not too much…

Sean (Josh Hutcherson) is a teen who’s recently been moved, due to his mother’s new marriage. He’s been standoffish so far with his stepfather (Dwayne Johnson), Hank, so when Hank has the opportunity to use his military training to help him decode a message, he does so enthusiastically. It turns out that the message is from Sean’s grandfather, and contains clues to the whereabouts of the legendary “Mysterious Island” Jules Verne wrote of. Seeing an opportunity to bond with his stepson, Hank takes Sean to Palau to try to obtain charter and actually find the island. The location is dangerous, however, and reputable captains turn them down. The only one brave/foolish to take them is Gabato (Luis Guzman), the pilot of a ramshackle helicopter, and his daughter Kalani (Vanessa Hudgens).

It’s soon revealed why no one would take them… the island is surrounded by a massive wall of storms. Sure enough, the helicopter is destroyed and the passengers are marooned on the island. There, they find a world of exotic plant species and overgrown insects and lizards. It’s beautiful, yet dangerous. Thankfully, Sean’s grandfather, Alexander (Michael Caine) is already there to help them avoid the pitfalls. One thing none of them are prepared for is the fact that the island is sinking. So now not only do they need to avoid giant carnivorous creatures, they need to find a way off the island before it sinks back into the sea.

“Journey 2″ is a film that’s obviously aimed at a younger audience and/or families, so the action sequences are safe and harmless, and the plot is simple enough for a 7 year old to follow. The humor involved, what there is of it, is derived from Luis Guzman and sanitized bickering between Johnson and Caine. There’s also a pre-tween friendly romance between Hutcherson and Hudgens.

Even given taking the family friendly aspect into account, however “Journey 2″ is a slight and unsubstantial film. I suppose if you have a child that is just the right age, there may be some value here, but for most audiences, there will be nothing of worth here. Even the CGI seems to be dumbed down. The cast is given nothing whatsoever to work with, and but they smile and soldier on. The premise of finding a magical island with enormous creatures is almost completely wasted, with only a couple of brief, silly chase sequences to show for it.

Given the fact that this movie is aimed at families with young kids, I’m willing to cut it a mild amount of slack… but as I said, not too much.

C-

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24 thoughts on “Now Showing on Cable: “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island”

  1. Wow, All the sudden feel like I ate some Chinese Food about an hour ago, I guess its better than indigestion I got from Red Dawn! Hahhhh

    • Yeahhhhh… I think they’re kind of in the same category of bad, but you know what the difference is? I think I felt a little more inclined to be generous here because this was aimed at kids. [shrugs] I didnt want to beat it up as badly, though its certainly just as deserving. :(

  2. I understand this movie includes a scene where Michael Caine, while riding on a GIANT BEE, is laughing his head off as two birds collide in to each other and he’s surrounded by a shower of feathers.

    I understand that this for the kiddies … but man do I want to see that scene. :)

    • Uh, yup. It sure does. It’s there. I’m not sure that’s exactly what transpires (more due to my already shaky recollection of this unmemorable film), but that would fit in the gist of that scene. Certainly.

      I should have been in that mode, it would have amused me more. LOL.

  3. Ugh, good why does anyone think that kids need this or that adults should be IN this? Dwayne, you have the most threatening arms in the universe, so I don’t expect your brain to rival Spongebob’s, but come on. You were so good in Fast Five!! Why bring the rating down (if you require a gun for good quality, I will allow that…)??

    • I think at some point or another he sold out to the Family movie, right?

      I mean, he’s got half a filmography full of crappy, generic, toothless family fare. So… I wasnt really expecting anything different from him here.

      I think he came on the scene a little too late. He belongs in the 80s, where musclebound action heros dropping one liners ruled the world. LOL

      • I think Dwayne Johnson just really loves doing the family films. Look at it this way: the guy grew up in a wrestling family (third generation, his dad being Rocky Johnson and granddad Chief Peter Maiva). That typically involves action and having a bit of a sense of humor, plus playing it up for the kids. Rock does the Fast & Furious movies to get to the action stuff. He does the kiddie movies so he can do the funny stuff and entertain the kids. That was sort of his act in the WWE: despite the raciness of some of his stuff, you got a sense he loved the entertaining aspect … especially when he put on a sort of preacher voice and talked about “entertaining the millions… and millions” and the “If ya smell what the Rock’s cooking bits.”

        Hulk Hogan before him sorta followed the same path. Andre The Giant was most successful, though, with The Princess Bride.

        So it’s not necessarily the action hero aspect (which I think Rock would be great at) but that he’s sort of the disposition that he wants to do the goofy stuff.

        In the end, though … IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT I THINK THE ROCK’S CAREER IS!

        (That… that was a Rock bit. From wrestling.)

      • I think we have a wrestling fan here.

        Why do I feel as though I shouldnt have even been surprised one iota? LOL. :D

        End of the day, he’s a likeable star. I still have a positive impression of him, I just widh he had some better films in his canon. ‘Cause… it’s not the world’s strongest resume, you know? Thats all I’m saying.

      • FUN FACT!

        The reason I use “El Santo” as an online handle was because that’s the one I used when I was hanging around a message board devoted to wrestling. So yeah, I probably have more wrestling knowledge than I need.

        However, the handle also came about because I was a big fan of MST3K, which used “El Santo” as a punchline very, very often. Which stemmed from the fact that they once riffed on classic El Santo movie, “Samson Vs. The Vampire Women.”

        … so, yeah. Cool story, bro!

      • Just realized I completely screwed that reference! “Faster,” not “Fast Five!” Don’t know what I was thinking – they’re both speedy flicks, but I would never mix up the Diesel-ator with the Rock, sorry LOL!!

  4. You are being kind with a C-.

    Luis Guzman’s part is a glaring embarrassment. As a helicopter tour guide, he behaves like an intellectually disabled man-child. It’s sad seeing a gifted actor that has shone in Paul Thomas Anderson gems (Boogie Nights, Magnolia and Punch-Drunk Love), resort to a character that is utterly beneath him.

    • Man’s gotta make a living, you know?

      That part didn’t bother me all that much… Not that it was good or anything, but it didn’t rile me up

      Which is pretty much how I felt across the boards… It was a dumb kids movie, but it didn’t really anger me. Thus the “being kind”.

  5. I haven’t seen any of The Rock’s family stuff, and for good reason, but I think he’s going to be giving us more bad ass stuff in the future. He already did The Rundown, Fast Five, Walking Tall, Faster, and Snitch looks like it could be good. I haven’t seen The Other Guys, but I do want to. Of course, all the bad shit is totally still on his resume, but he’s done a handful of solid flicks. The torch never fully passed to him like I think Arnold wanted it to be after The Rundown, but there’s still time. Arnold was kicking ass into his 50s.

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