Journey to the Center of the Earth (2008)

Genre(s): Adventure / Family / Fantasy / Science Fiction
New Line || PG - 92 minutes - $28.98 || October 28, 2008
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2008-10-28


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Eric Brevig
Writer(s): Michael Weiss and Jennifer Flackett & Mark Levin (screenplay)
Cast: Brendan Fraser, Josh Hutcherson, Anita Briem


Theatrical Release Date: July 11, 2008


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Feature Commentary
  • A World Within Our World Featurette
  • Being Jack Featurette
  • How to Make Dino Drool Featurette
  • Adventure at the Center of the Earth Challenge
  • Digital Copy


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (1.85), Full Screen (1.33)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

Jules Verneís classic novel, ďJourney to the Center of the EarthĒ is almost required reading (and I admit I never have...) and like many of Verneís concepts, it has been put on film and television for decades.

In this latest incarnate, Journey to the Center of the Earth stars Brendan Fraser as Trevor Anderson a professor who specializes in volcano... stuff and carries on research to prove the existence of the place told in Jules Verneís novel. 10 years before, his brother went missing trying to find this place and now Trevor has taken over. In the middle of his research, not only is his laboratory being shut down but he completely forgot that his nephew, whom he hasnít seen in several years, is staying with him for the next couple of weeks with him. After discovering one of the volcanoes in his research suddenly becomes active again, he takes his nephew, Sean (Hutcherson; Zathura), with him to Iceland to meet an expert in the field only to discover that the man had passed away and now his cute daughter Hannah (Briem), a non-believer in the existence of this other world, lives in the old house.

Hannah agrees to take Trevor and Sean to the sensor for the volcano only to get trapped inside a cave. As they explore further for an exit, they find a concave and the floor collapses and they fall below and soon discover the world Verne wrote about.

Journey is a nice little film that is perfect for the family, but if you are of adult age and watching alone or with fellow same-aged friends, it might not play so well. One of the things that I noticed was while Iím sure it looked brilliant in theaters in 3-D, it doesnít look so great sitting at home wearing silly 3-D (cardboard) glasses. After 15-minutes of watching the movie this way ó during which my eyes began to tear up ó I finally gave up and decided to watch the rest in regular old 2-dimensions.

One of the bright spots is the casting of Anita Briem as the sort of love interest to Trevor. Throughout the movie I couldnít help but to think she reminded me of Naomi Watts in a way. Donít know if her acting skills are any better or worse, she is after all acting alongside Fraser and a bunch of CGI elements, but she was a good addition to this small cast.

Overall, I enjoyed the movie for what it was: a quick and safe 80-some-odd minute fantasy comedy. Fraser is his usual self that he always plays in these action-comedies like The Mummy movies throwing in quick lines amidst scenes of peril for some comic relief. I canít give this a full recommendation or anything, but for families with kids 16 or so, it might be worth the time and money.

JTTCOTE was directed by visual effects expert Eric Brevig, the man behind several high profile films including Pearl Harbor, The Day After Tomorrow and The Island. It was written by Michael Weiss (The Butterfly Effect 2) and Jennifer Flackett & Mark Levin (Nimís Island). Brendan Fraser also served as executive producer.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Feature Commentary Ė Director Eric Brevig and Star/Producer Brendan Fraser sit down for light-hearted track. They give tid-bits on the making of the movie, though admittedly some of it can be a little dry at times.

A World Within Our World (10:08) is the longest and most interesting of the featurettes on this disc. It basically gives a history on those who believe there is a world beneath the surface (hollow earth) and the effect it had on science fiction.

The other two featurettes, Being Josh (6:01) and How to Make Dinosaur Drool (2:47), arenít that fascinating and made strictly for kids. Itís a shame a movie thatís so CGI-centric didnít have anything on the visual effects or maybe something on going 3-D.

Last is Adventure at the Center of the Earth Challenge which is a stupid game where you can ride the mine car or bat fish as seen in the movie. I tried the mine car a couple of times but then realized it was a complete waste of time.

The DVD also comes with a digital copy.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

Because the movie was made for 3-D viewing, watching it in 2-D, Journey does not look very good. Colors arenít that vibrant but most noticeable was the black levels seemed too light and certain scenes just looked odd as they were filmed for certain objects to hit you in the face in 3-D. Cool idea and all, but it does not translate on the small screen.

A standard Dolby Digital 5.1 track is provided. It gets the job done but will not wow you between the screams or Andrew Lockingtonís (City of Ember) forgettable score.



.::OVERALL::.

Journey to the Center of the Earth is a nice family-adventure flick but itís really nothing more. One major drawback is the fact it was made of 3-D and if youíre like me with sensitive eyes, youíll have to watch the 2-D version which doesnít look very good. Also, outside of the audio commentary, the special features are very lacking in substance as itís obvious they were made for kids.