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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island

By
Sr. Rose Pacatte, F.S.P.
Source: AmericanCatholic.org

If the 2008 3D film “Journey to the Center of the Earth” could be called a sequel to the story first published by the French novelist Jules Verne in 1864, then “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island” is not only a sequel to the film but to Verne’s 1874 novel “The Mysterious Island” as well. The new movie is also in 3D.
 
Sean (Josh Hutcherson) is about 17 now and lives unhappily with his mother Liz (Kristen Davis) and stepfather Hank (Dwayne Johnson) in Dayton, OH.  He sneaks out one night to break into a satellite installation to retrieve an incomplete message he believes is from his wandering grandfather, Alexander (Michael Caine). The cops bring him home and now his parents are not happy. To create a stronger bond, Hank suggests that he and Sean track down the origin of the message. They are able to decipher part of the message, enough to lead them to the Pacific Island of Palau.
 
Once there they hire Gabato (Luis Guzman) to take them to the coordinates of the island in his suspiciously unsafe helicopter.  His daughter Kailani (Vanessa Hudgens), insists on going along. Sean develops an immediate crush on the young lady.
 
They fly into a storm cloud, as described by Vernes’ novel, and land on the mysterious island of Atlantis. Enter Grandpa Alexander, a dedicated Vernian, who shows them the natural beauty of the island, a sight they never expected. They also encounter miniature elephants, gigantic lizards and aggressive tropical birds that pursue them when the island starts to sink.
 
“Journey 2” is a thoroughly enjoyable family film – and I do not make this observation lightly. So many “family films” are so sanitized that they can bore one to tears. But “Journey 2” is about great literature (please note all the literary references and authors that will be familiar to most kids ten and above), adventure, imagination, growing up, and family relationships that include forgiveness and reconciliation. “Journey 2” is also funny, adding humor in dialogue, action, and teen facial reactions to predictable adult preaching. When Hank tries to teach Sean the three most important ways to attract a girl he demonstrates the third point: pec popping that employs the pectoralis major muscle as a launch platform.  Honest, it’s extremely funny and absolves Dwayne Johnson for accepting the quasi career-killing role as a tooth fairy back in 2010.

It’s easy to notice the 3D effects at the beginning of the film but after a while you don’t even notice even when the island background is obviously animated to an extraordinary degree. The action is somewhat predictable yet at the same time the film provides enough peril to be scared and enough science and special effects to wonder just how they did that. Kudos once again to Walden Media (as well as New Line Cinema and Contrafilm) for providing audiences once again with a way to link literacy, learning, family and fun.


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Monica: The circumstances of St. Monica’s life could have made her a nagging wife, a bitter daughter-in-law and a despairing parent, yet she did not give way to any of these temptations. Although she was a Christian, her parents gave her in marriage to a pagan, Patricius, who lived in her hometown of Tagaste in North Africa. Patricius had some redeeming features, but he had a violent temper and was licentious. Monica also had to bear with a cantankerous mother-in-law who lived in her home. Patricius criticized his wife because of her charity and piety, but always respected her. Monica’s prayers and example finally won her husband and mother-in-law to Christianity. Her husband died in 371, one year after his baptism. 
<p>Monica had at least three children who survived infancy. The oldest, Augustine (August 28) , is the most famous. At the time of his father’s death, Augustine was 17 and a rhetoric student in Carthage. Monica was distressed to learn that her son had accepted the Manichean heresy (all flesh is evil)  and was living an immoral life. For a while, she refused to let him eat or sleep in her house. Then one night she had a vision that assured her Augustine would return to the faith. From that time on, she stayed close to her son, praying and fasting for him. In fact, she often stayed much closer than Augustine wanted. </p><p>When he was 29, Augustine decided to go to Rome to teach rhetoric. Monica was determined to go along. One night he told his mother that he was going to the dock to say goodbye to a friend. Instead, he set sail for Rome. Monica was heartbroken when she learned of Augustine’s trick, but she still followed him. She arrived in Rome only to find that he had left for Milan. Although travel was difficult, Monica pursued him to Milan. </p><p>In Milan, Augustine came under the influence of the bishop, St. Ambrose, who also became Monica’s spiritual director. She accepted his advice in everything and had the humility to give up some practices that had become second nature to her (see Quote, below). Monica became a leader of the devout women in Milan as she had been in Tagaste. </p><p>She continued her prayers for Augustine during his years of instruction. At Easter, 387, St. Ambrose baptized Augustine and several of his friends. Soon after, his party left for Africa. Although no one else was aware of it, Monica knew her life was near the end. She told Augustine, “Son, nothing in this world now affords me delight. I do not know what there is now left for me to do or why I am still here, all my hopes in this world being now fulfilled.” She became ill shortly after and suffered severely for nine days before her death. </p><p>Almost all we know about St. Monica is in the writings of St. Augustine, especially his <i>Confessions</i>.</p> American Catholic Blog Heavenly Father, I am sure there are frequently tiny miracles where you protect us and are present to us although you always remain anonymous. Help me appreciate how carefully you watch over me and my loved ones all day long, and be sensitive enough to stay close to you. I ask this in Jesus's name. Amen.

 
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