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Journey 2: The Mysterious Island

Sr. Rose Pacatte, F.S.P.

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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Charles de Foucauld: Born into an aristocratic family in Strasbourg, France, Charles was orphaned at the age of six, raised by his devout grandfather, rejected the Catholic faith as a teenager and joined the French army. Inheriting a great deal of money from his grandfather, Charles went to Algeria with his regiment, but not without his mistress, Mimi. <br /><br />When he declined to give her up, he was dismissed from the army. Still in Algeria when he left Mimi, Charles reenlisted in the army. Refused permission to make a scientific exploration of nearby Morocco, he resigned from the service. With the help of a Jewish rabbi, Charles disguised himself as a Jew and in 1883 began a one-year exploration that he recorded in a book that was well received. <br /><br />Inspired by the Jews and Muslims whom he met, Charles resumed the practice of his Catholic faith when he returned to France in 1886. He joined a Trappist monastery in Ardeche, France, and later transferred to one in Akbes, Syria. Leaving the monastery in 1897, Charles worked as gardener and sacristan for the Poor Clare nuns in Nazareth and later in Jerusalem. In 1901 he returned to France and was ordained a priest. <br /><br />Later that year Charles journeyed to Beni-Abbes, Morocco, intending to found a monastic religious community in North Africa that offered hospitality to Christians, Muslims, Jews, or people with no religion. He lived a peaceful, hidden life but attracted no companions. <br /><br />A former army comrade invited him to live among the Tuareg people in Algeria. Charles learned their language enough to write a Tuareg-French and French-Tuareg dictionary, and to translate the Gospels into Tuareg. In 1905 he came to Tamanrasset, where he lived the rest of his life. A two-volume collection of Charles' Tuareg poetry was published after his death. <br /><br />In early 1909 he visited France and established an association of laypeople who pledged to live by the Gospels. His return to Tamanrasset was welcomed by the Tuareg. In 1915 Charles wrote to Louis Massignon: “The love of God, the love for one’s neighbor…All religion is found there…How to get to that point? Not in a day since it is perfection itself: it is the goal we must always aim for, which we must unceasingly try to reach and that we will only attain in heaven.”   <br /><br />The outbreak of World War I led to attacks on the French in Algeria. Seized in a raid by another tribe, Charles and two French soldiers coming to visit him were shot to death on December 1, 1916. <br />Five religious congregations, associations, and spiritual institutes (Little Brothers of Jesus, Little Sisters of the Sacred Heart, Little Sisters of Jesus, Little Brothers of the Gospel and Little Sisters of the Gospel) draw inspiration from the peaceful, largely hidden, yet hospitable life that characterized Charles. He was beatified on November 13, 2005. American Catholic Blog You know, O my God, I have never desired anything but to love you, and I am ambitious for no other glory.

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