I’m probably one of the few people who thought 2008’s Journey to the Center of the Earth was a pretty cool movie. That being said, I never thought in a million years that a sequel would ever come along, but here we are with Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, where Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson takes over as the lead as Josh Hutcherson’s (The Hunger Games) new step-father, with the great Michael Caine as the grandfather and Luis Guzman as a native guide also joining the fun. People looking for some family fun on movie night will find everything they could want and then some in this thrilling Blu-ray adventure.
While not as impressed with the film during its theatrical release, fellow reviewer Chris Pandolfi has a few more plot details from his original review (which you can check out right HERE):
“Sean believes that his long lost grandfather has found the island, and that he’s responsible for sending the encrypted message. He’s determined to find the island himself, despite the fact that the coordinates point to an area where an island doesn’t appear to exist. Hank is willing to indulge, if only to give the two a chance to bond. They travel to the South Pacific island of Palau, and charter a helicopter flight with a local named Gabato (Guzman) and his daughter, Kailani (Vanessa Hudgens). The sudden appearance of a freak hurricane reminds Sean that they must go directly through its eye. And so, after a near-fatal freefall through a flurry of wind and rain, the four passengers come to on the shores of the Mysterious Island, also known as Atlantis. It’s a place where elephants are as small as cats, bees are as humongous as Cessnas, and the central volcano spews gold instead of lava.”
As before, I’m likely in the minority of people who actually enjoyed this. While I prefer to see Dwayne Johnson in his natural element with more adult-friendly action movies such as Faster and Fast Five, it’s always fun to see him play in less serious roles for the family to enjoy. I also enjoyed the special effects throughout the film, especially how they made small things big and big things small like the pet-sized elephant, as well as the climatic volcano scene towards the end.
Speaking of awesome effects, the video transfer looks amazing here. All of the colors and beautiful details show up perfectly as they should, while the DTS-HD 5.1 makes sure that all of the sounds from the small elephant trumpeting to the bass filled rumbling volcano ring in loud and clear.
WWhile there’s not a treasure trove of extras here, the main one titled “Are You Strong Enough to Survive the Mysterious Island?” proves to be plenty in itself. It composes of a series of featurettes that can be viewed in two selectable modes called “Interactive” and “Junior Explorer”. “Interactive” mode will ask the viewer to choose a selection after each that leads to a section of an interactive map that relates to another featurette, while the “Junior Explorer” mode plays them all in order.
No matter which mode you pick, both feature an introduction from Josh Hutcherson who also congratulates you after watching them all and treats you to a few hilarious outtakes from the movie afterwards. Lastly, there’s some deleted scenes that show off five pieces of footage that didn’t make the final cut.
Those looking for some family fun and adventure to watch without taking things too seriously should find plenty to enjoy in Journey 2: The Mysterious Island. For those of us who really enjoyed the original film this surprising sequel is everything it needs to be, with a cooler cast (where else can you see The Rock and Michael Caine together in the same movie?), even cooler special effects, and some nice extras for good measure. While by no means a classic or even a particularly well-made adventure, those willing to suspend disbelief and forgive its many flaws might find this to be one Blu-ray that deserves a journey into your collection.
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Warner Home Video