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Journey 2: The Mysterious Island

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island

Released 3 February 2012
Director Brad Peyton

Josh Hutcherson, Dwayne Johnson, Luis Guzmán, Vanessa Hudgens, Michael Caine, Kristin Davis
Writer(s) Brian Gunn, Mark Gunn

Beau Flynn, Tripp Vinson, Charlotte Huggins
Origin United States
Running Time 94 minutes
Genre Adventure, action, comedy
Rating PG

Rock solid.

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island is ostensibly a sequel to the 2008 Brendan Fraser adventure Journey to the Centre of the Earth. Really though, the only connecting factors between the two films are a nod to Jules Verne and the return of Josh Hutcherson as wannabe teenage adventurer Sean.

In the thankfully brief opening exposition, we are re-introduced to Sean as he haphazardly rides a motorcycle through his neighbourhood, followed by the police. Yes, that’s right, since Brendan Fraser left, this kid’s gone BAD. Sort of. Really he’s just a bit miffed that his mother has found herself a new boyfriend named Hank -  played by The Rock (or Dwayne Johson as he’s know to his mum). Sean may not be pleased with this change of personnel but I am. It’s pretty impossible not to like Dwayne, he has a nice natural screen presence and this kind of family adventure film is a pretty good fit for his considerable stature.

The story goes as follows. When Sean picks up a radio signal from the middle of the Pacific Ocean and believes it is being transmitted by his missing grandfather, ex-marine Hank sees an opportunity for male bonding. The pair set out to intercept the signal only to find it is coming from a dangerous area of ocean where no island is thought to exist. Helicopter pilot Gabato (Luis Guzman) and his teenage daughter (Vanessa Hudgens) offer to take them to the spot but a freak hurricane makes the chopper crash. They then find themselves on the Mysterious Island as described by Jules Verne, filled with terrifying creatures and one eccentric grandfather, played by Michael Caine.

Character-wise, plot-wise, and CGI-wise it’s all fairly standard stuff. Guzman provides light relief, Hudgens and Hutcherson are the feisty teens and Johnson and Caine have generation gap based banter. The script doesn’t drag but certainly doesn’t sparkle. The most startling thing in the whole movie in fact are The Rock’s nipples, who are our constant companions throughout. Still, it’s certainly not a terrible film; easily forgettable certainly but diverting enough family fare.

- Linda O’Brien