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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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Jacopone da Todi: Jacomo, or James, was born a noble member of the Benedetti family in the northern Italian city of Todi. He became a successful lawyer and married a pious, generous lady named Vanna. 
<p>His young wife took it upon herself to do penance for the worldly excesses of her husband. One day Vanna, at the insistence of Jacomo, attended a public tournament. She was sitting in the stands with the other noble ladies when the stands collapsed. Vanna was killed. Her shaken husband was even more disturbed when he realized that the penitential girdle she wore was for his sinfulness. On the spot, he vowed to radically change his life. </p><p>He divided his possessions among the poor and entered the Secular Franciscan Order (once known as the Third Order). Often dressed in penitential rags, he was mocked as a fool and called Jacopone, or "Crazy Jim," by his former associates. The name became dear to him. </p><p>After 10 years of such humiliation, Jacopone asked to be a member of the Order of Friars Minor(First Order). Because of his reputation, his request was initially refused. He composed a beautiful poem on the vanities of the world, an act that eventually led to his admission into the Order in 1278. He continued to lead a life of strict penance, declining to be ordained a priest. Meanwhile he was writing popular hymns in the vernacular. </p><p>Jacopone suddenly found himself a leader in a disturbing religious movement among the Franciscans. The Spirituals, as they were called, wanted a return to the strict poverty of Francis. They had on their side two cardinals of the Church and Pope Celestine V. These two cardinals, though, opposed Celestine’s successor, Boniface VIII. At the age of 68, Jacopone was excommunicated and imprisoned. Although he acknowledged his mistake, Jacopone was not absolved and released until Benedict XI became pope five years later. He had accepted his imprisonment as penance. He spent the final three years of his life more spiritual than ever, weeping "because Love is not loved." During this time he wrote the famous Latin hymn, <i>Stabat Mater</i>. </p><p>On Christmas Eve in 1306 Jacopone felt that his end was near. He was in a convent of the Poor Clares with his friend, Blessed John of La Verna. Like Francis, Jacopone welcomed "Sister Death" with one of his favorite songs. It is said that he finished the song and died as the priest intoned the Gloria from the midnight Mass at Christmas. From the time of his death, Brother Jacopone has been venerated as a saint.</p> American Catholic Blog By immersing our lives in the rhythm of the season, charity can flood our souls and fill us with the happiness for which we were created. We awake Christmas morning prepared to celebrate the birth of our Savior not as a memory but as a profound experience of God’s redemptive love.

 
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