Review: Journey 2 The Mysterious Island (PG) / Director: Brad Peyton / Screenplay: Brian Gunn, Mark Gunn / Starring: Josh Hutcherson, Dwayne Johnson, Michael Caine, Vanessa Hudgens, Luis Guzman / Release date: Out now
Journey 2 takes Jules Verne’s Mysterious Island and updates it to the present day with so many changes it can’t really be considered an adaptation, instead it's a hodgepodge of several of the author's novels combined with some stuff the screenwriters simply just made up. That said, it's surprisingly fun family entertainment that doesn’t take itself too seriously, lifted up by the presence of The Rock (Dwayne Johnson).
Sean Anderson (Josh Hutcherson) receives a coded distress signal from a mysterious island where no island should exist. Sean’s stepfather Hank (The Rock) joins him on his quest to find the island and they end up embarking on an adventure to the South Pacific where they crash land and find themselves in a world of unexplained phenomena and beauty.
This film moves so quickly through narrative that you will find yourself laughing at how everything fits so perfectly into place. The running time of ninety four minutes means a lot of information has to be conveyed in a short amount of time and the movie has a sense of humour about it. For example, Sean and Hank work out the co-ordinates of an island that has been untraceable for hundreds of years in about three minutes whilst still managing to reveal that Hank used to be a marine and now works in construction.
3D works quite nicely in this type of film where chase sequences on giant bees, volcanic explosions and underwater electric eels are the main feature. On the island everything size-wise is opposite, there are mini elephants (I want one!) and giant lizards who present peril to the travelling group.
Kailani (Vanessa Hudgens) provides the love interest to Sean whose personality changes in variously unintentionally funny ways to move the story along. One moment he is an able adventurer, the next a stroppy teenager who learns life lessons from Kailani. There is nothing believable in their relationship, but then again that is the beauty of this film. Along for the ride is Luis Guzman as Kailani's bumbling fool father with a heart of gold, though his brand of idiotic humour tends to fall flat.
The Rock provides some of the best and most peculiar moments of the film, flicking berries from his massive pecs whilst also offering up scientific phrases at random intervals. Scientific and literary data are wedged in wherever possible and spurted out so quickly you aren’t quite sure if they are indeed fact or fiction; you may need to take notes! The one part where the movie does slow down allows for a musical number provided by The Rock and a ukulele that is so unexpected you will not be able to suppress the laughter. Michael Caine also makes an appearance as Sean’s grandfather who has been living on the island; Caine decked out in full leathers is not to be missed and provided the biggest laugh.
Young kids will be engrossed by the island with all its creatures while the adults will be laughing at the stupidity of it all. The film knows its limitations and it runs with them at one hundred miles per hour.
Expected rating: 4 out of 10