Sunday, February 19, 2012

Journey 2 - Mysterious Island [2012]

MPAA (PG) CNS/USCCB (A-II)  Roger Ebert (2 1/2 Stars)  Fr. Dennis (2 Stars)

IMDb listing -
CNS/USCCB review -
Roger Ebert's review -

Journey 2 - Mysterious Island (directed by Brad Payton, story by Richard Outten, Mark Gunn and Brian Gunn, screenplay by Mark Gunn and Brian Gunn) is the latest film adaptation, this time in 3D, of Jules Verne's 1874 novel Mysterious Island (French orig. title - L'Île mystérieuse)Jules Verne, of course, was a pioneer in fantastic / science fiction writing and has been a perennial challenge to film makers since the invention of moving pictures.  The recent movie, Hugo, was largely about the pioneering French film-maker Georges Méliès who was already putting together cinematic adaptations of Jules Verne's novels on the screen in the Silent Film Era.

So how does the present adaption go?  The film begins with Sean (played by Josh Hutcherson), a teen struggling with and perhaps reacting to his mother Liz' (played by Kristen Davis) remarrying and thus the presence of Hank (played by Dwayne Johnson), Sean's new step-father in his life.  Seeking to defend  himself against this change, Sean seeks to keep alive memory of his dad's family's values and traditions.  Specifically just as his grandfather and his father before him, Sean's become something of Jules Verne fanatic.  His father deceased, and his grandfather (played by Michael Caine) "long gone" on account of this irritating interest in Verne and "proving" that Verne's books were "about real journeys" that Verne had taken, Sean's "hobby" comes across Liz and Hank as disruptive (and perhaps even delusional) as they try to build a new blended family together and get everyone, including Sean "on board" with the new reality.

One night, Sean becomes excited because he thinks that he has detected a radio message from his long lost grandfather, and that he may have found Verne's "Mysterious Island."  What to do?  Liz remains annoyed, but Hank, who apparently has some money, decides to try "to bond" with Sean by playing along.  Together, the two decipher the coded coordinates that Sean's grandfather apparently had sent in his radio message and when they discover that the coordinates map to a location somewhere near the island of Fiji in the South Pacific.  Then, they decide to "give it a shot" and fly out to Fiji to see if there's something to the story.

Out there in the South Pacific, the two rent a helicopter operated by a local tour guide named Gobato (played by Luis Guzman) and his teenage daughter Kailani (played by Vanessa Hudgens).  They find out that the coordinates correspond to a part of the ocean nearby that's perpetually covered by clouds and stormy (hence why almost no one ever goes there).  But Sean convinces everyone to try anyway.  Once they arrive, (and even the journey is fraught with much danger), many further adventures ensue, including linking up with Sean's grandfather, who indeed did send that radio signal to the outsider world from the island during apparently a very brief break in the weather. 

The story is obviously a fantasy, but so was Jules Verne's original.  I do think it makes for a very nice story for pre-teens, perhaps indeed as a "father-son" or "step-father son" outing especially if a family were experiencing some "bonding issues" at home.  Though I saw the movie in 2D, I would imagine that 3D would probably work well as well.  (I still think that 3D is both needlessly costly and gimmicky ...) All in all, it's not a stupendous film but one that preserves and adapts, quite well actually, the legacies of both Jules Verne and the attempts by early film makers like Georges Méliès to put Verne's fantastic stories on film.

<< NOTE - Do you like what you've been reading here?  If you do then consider giving a small donation to this Blog (sugg. $6 _non-recurring_) _every so often_ to continue/further its operation.  To donate just CLICK HERE.  Thank you! :-) >>

No comments:

Post a Comment