|Journey to the Center of the Earth
Genre: Action, Adventure, Family, Sci-Fi
by: Eric Brevig
Starring: Brendan Fraser, Josh Hutcherson, Anita Briem, Jane Wheeler
Released by: New Line Cinema
Short: A likeable trio of explorers, a fantastical voyage, and rollicking 3-D effects make this remake of a Jules Verne novel a fun summer popcorn-movie ride.
Fun Right Down to the Core
Check Out the Crazy 3-D Effects
Journey to the Center of the Earth is reportedly the first live action film shot entirely in 3-D, so when you pack up the kids and head out to see this exciting adventure flick, make sure to head for a theater that has the technology to show it. Some 800 theaters do, but since the movie opens in more than 2,000, make sure to check listings, because the 3-D effects are a part of what makes this adventure film so exciting and fun to watch.
Based on an 1864 Jules Verne novel, the movie's storyline is updated for modern times, with Brendan Fraser as Professor Trevor Anderson, a scientist who is obsessed with the idea that there is a route into the core of the earth via volcanic lava tubes that have exploded downward. His brother Max, another scientist who shares the same theories, went missing ten years earlier after heading to Iceland to explore the truth of their ideas. When Trevor's teenage nephew Sean arrives for a visit, the two decide to follow his tracks.
Once in gorgeous Iceland, the duo meet up with a pretty and accomplished mountain guide (Anita Briem), whose late father was another scientist who also believed that a trip to the center of the earth was possible. After a series of inadvertent events, the trio find themselves in the midst of an incredible adventure, one that includes everything from a rollicking ride down an old mine shaft to encounters with frightening creatures on both land and sea— but all deep within the earth.
From the moment the movie starts, the 3-D effects are wonderful, due in large part to first-time director Eric Brevig's talents as an Oscar-winning visual effects supervisor (who has worked on films like Total Recall and Men in Black). While you know that some effects are coming, like the yo-yo that feels like it is going to hit you right in the head, others come unexpectedly — something that resulted in the whole audience collectively letting out a loud shriek. It's fun, and a very funny group experience.
All three leads play their parts well, making us believe that this wild trip could really happen and that all three are resourceful enough to survive. The movie also moves briskly along as well, in an hour-and-a-half ride that ends with a bang. Be sure to save those 3-D glasses, too, for this is a movie your kids may just beg to see more than once. One warning, however: younger children may be very scared by some of the creatures our heroes run into along the way, so be warned that if you have a sensitive child, it may be better to stay home than cause nightmares.
Reviewed by Jenny Peters
||(Updated: 07/11/08 KR)