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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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