Journey 2 The Mysterious Island
Sequels are an unusual form of movie making. The filmmaker has a bifurcated objective; recapturing the elements that succeeded in the original movie while infusing the sequel with a feeling of originality continuing the character arcs and situations previously established. In the case of the family folic, ‘Journey 2: The Mysterious Island’, director Brad Peyton and screenwriter, Brian Gunn, may hot have hit a home but they certainly got a man on base. Based only on the name I thought this might be a follow up to the 1961 science fiction classic. ‘Mysterious Island’ but that is not the case. Although I did get the author of the source material correct. Jules Vern did write ‘The Mysterious Island’ in 1874 but these story is the sequel to the most recent incarnation of his 1864 novel ‘Journey to the Center of the Earth’. the 1961 does include characters from Vern’s ’20,000 Leagues under the Sea’ so together the films do provide a glimpse into the universe this forward thinking literary giant crafted throughout his life time. I did enjoy the previous movie in this set albeit not as much as the ‘Center of the Earth’ film from 1959. These little asides make this Jules Vern retrospective a touch more enjoyable than otherwise. With any movie, especially a light hearted flick like this, if it achieved what the filmmaker intended than it must be said that it works. ‘Journey 2’was created to give the viewers some excitement, laughs and a reasonably fun time. It did accomplish that goal.
The requisite elements of a sequel are efficiently established in the most direct fashion; continuing the story of a central character; the teenage son of the original protagonist with Josh Hutcherson reprising his role as Sean Anderson. This movie picks up about four years after Sean has returned to the surface of the earth with his father. They had embarked on a dangerous journey to the center of the earth, surviving the perilous trek so that at least one character could return for another adventure. Sean, now 17, has been an adrenaline junkie on a mission since his sojourn to the planet’s core. When we first are reintroduced to him Sean is leading the police on a chase that ends with him splashing down in a swimming pool. The young man’s stepfather Hank (Dwayne Johnson) is taken aside by a police officer (Stephen Caudill) who explains Sean was caught breaking into a satellite research facility. After smoothing things over with the homeowners Hank takes Sean home where his mother, Liz (Kristin Davis)-, is greatly upset with what is obviously not unusual disobedience.
After discovering characters and locations found in Jules Vern’s ‘Journey to the Center of the Earth’ were real, Sean has been researching other novels by Vern extending his studies to other early science fiction writers. His premise has lead him to believe that the fantastic places visited in Treasure Island, Gulliver's Travels, and Verne's own Mysterious Island are indeed real. There are maps associated with the locations in each of these works and Sean hypothesizes that not only do the locations exists but in this instance each of the stories took place on the same island. Wanting to bond with his step-son and help him over this obsession Hank convinces Liz to let them take a trip to get it out of his system. They go off to the Pacific island nation of Palau where they engage the services of a guide Gabato (Luis Guzman) and his daughter Kailani (Vanessa Hudgens). Let’s see, handsome young leading man, beautiful young woman together on a dangerous trip; it doesn’t take a degree in cinema to predict where this plot contrivance will lead. Flying off in a helicopter another popular meme is employed, the unexpected maelstrom that pulls them directly to the titular mysterious island. Once at their destination they appreciate an axiomatic fact of the place used in the novels; size has a tendency to reverse; the very big is made small while the tiny become huge. The almost humorous sight of miniscule elephants and enormous butterflies soon gives way to terror as the encounter humongous bees and dinosaur sized lizards. Additional myths and stories are introduced when there is a chance this island may be the legendary lost continent of Atlantis and their way off the island might be possible if they can locate the nuclear powered submarine, Nautilus, constructed by Captain Nemo of’20,000 Leagues under the Sea’.
Although technical uneven this movie has a lot in common with the creature features we used to watch at those Saturday afternoon matinees so long ago. These were the kind of films that for many of us ignited a lifelong love for motion pictures. What was special about those movies translates well here. The stories are simplistic, predictable but overall always fun to watch. When we were kids sitting in those dark seats we didn’t know enough to dissect what we were seeing. The concept of proper pacing, character development and sub textural plot construction meant nothing, nor should it. All we cared about was heroic characters battling against all odds every sort of monstrous creature. If there were chases, explosions and combat we were satisfied. This is what that infused into this film; fun.
Like its predecessor this movie was created with the new 3D techniques. This is a means to watch a movie like this that was beyond our conception back in the day. Although Brad Peyton still relies on some of the more gimmick infused methodology with the usual thrusting objects out of the plane of the film straight at the audience. I typically find this pedantic but somehow in this case it fits. The reason would appear to be consistent with the mode of enjoyably that pervades the flick. There is everything you could possible want to see enhanced as it were by the illusion of depth. Volcanos erupt; giant electric eels attack and all manner of creatures pursue our heroic band through lush, verdant jungle. This sitting is perfect for 3D with the layering manifested simultaneously on several planes. The 1080p permits you to discern the details of the foliage, the texture of fabric seem to literally leap out at you. Some movies demand to be analyzed , dissected to its component parts. Others like this just need to be experienced and enjoyed.