Rating: 2.5 stars
There was much breathless buzz about Journey to the Center of the Earth being the bestest 3-D movie ever! Indeed, the 3-D effects are pretty eye-popping: Yo-yos spring off the screen at you, dinosaurs slime on you, Brendan Fraser spits on you, etc. It’s all quite vivid. But I’m still not convinced. Generously speaking, the film utilizes true 3-D effects for about 30 of its 90-minute running time. That means you spend a useless hour in those clunky glasses that slightly distort the normal image and give you a headache. (Hey, at least I remembered to wear my contact lenses this time). It just ain’t worth it.
So how’s the rest of the film? It’s pretty standard adventure movie stuff—yet another riff on the Jules Verne classic novel about scientists who fall into a portal into the earth’s core where they discover an alternate universe filled with dinosaurs and luminescent birds and molten hot waterfalls.
In this case, the adventurers are hunky scientist Brendan Fraser (still his own charming brand of macho goofball), his nephew Sean (Josh Hutcherson, a diminutive young star who—tween panic alert!—doesn’t seem to be getting much taller), and a comely mountain guide named Hannah (Anita Briem). The thrills are moderately thrilling, the adventure is moderately adventurous, the humor is moderately humorous—well, you get the drift. There’s nothing really remarkable about this film, but it is swiftly entertaining and 3-D enthusiasts (do such people exist?) will surely be stoked. I still say: Really good films don’t need gimmicks.