Review: Journey 2: The Mysterious Island
Only in a fantasy-adventure world could the pairing of Michael Caine and The Rock (also known by his “acting name” of Dwayne Johnson) exist without the entire universe collapsing into itself. Throw Vanessa Hudgens into the mix and the result is the mind-boggling existence of Journey 2: The Mysterious Island. As this is the sequel to Journey to the Center of the Earth, The Rock finally gets to once again enjoy Brendan Fraser’s seconds, however sloppy they may be.
Josh Hutcherson, the lone returning cast-member from the first instalment, reprises his role of Sean Anderson, teenage adventurer. His mother (now played by Sex and the City’s Kristin Davis) has been shackin’ up with the beefy Hank (Johnson), who has been struggling to connect with her son. Then one fateful evening, Hank helps Sean to crack a cryptogram revealing a message the boy believes to be from his grandfather, a “Vernian”, someone who believes that author Jules Verne’s stories were not so fictitious after all. A bit of hullabaloo later Sean and Hank are on their way to the south Pacific, where they believe Verne’s Mysterious Island is actually located. After meeting helicopter pilot Gabato (Luis Guzman, in full buffoon mode) and his unexpectedly beautiful daughter (Hudgens) the foursome are soon tossed into the eye of a hurricane and washing up on the coast of a very mysterious island indeed. Too soon after their arrival, the group is rescued from certain doom by Sean’s grandfather, a very John Hammond-esque Alexander (Caine). Serious troubles arise when Hank determines that Alexander has miscalculated the submergence cycle of the island and in a matter of days the entire island will be swallowed up by the ocean. With no way off the island, Sean again turns to the writings of Verne in order to escape a watery grave.
Obviously, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island is a load of tosh aimed at children. This would be well and good if there was any significant innovation or wonder to it. There isn’t much time spent discovering the island and its mysteries, beyond those that serve the purpose of escaping it. That Caine appears to be doing a poor-man’s Richard Attenborough won’t help it from being compared unfavourably to Jurassic Park. In terms of spectacle, there are some fun visuals, but nothing truly exceptional and certainly nothing that is improved by the particularly listless 3D in use here. The script is loaded with bad puns and occasional poop jokes that may work for the youngest of the audience, but there’s little intelligent humour to be found. The sight of a bearded Michael Caine riding a giant bumble bee should absolutely be the strangest sight in any one movie. However, The Rock’s “poppin’ pecs” manages to out-weird even that. If his all-too-noticeably erect, downward-turning nipples weren’t enough, The Rock goes on to make his breasts rhythmically bounce while berries are bounced off of them. It is oddly placed in this type of film and who this is meant to appeal to is uncertain. Meanwhile, Guzman does his Hispanic Tracy Morgan schtick, minus the being-funny part.
Of course, a movie like Journey 2 isn’t really about the plot, or acting or cinematography; it’s about adventure (!) and a heart-warming tale. So the writers are sure to shoe-horn a few morals into the course of events, most ridiculously when BioRock (that’s a BioShock joke see, because the Rock ends up wearing an old diving suit and he looks… ahhh forget it) is about to electrify the situation and Sean begs him to not leave him behind. The context in which this exchange occurs makes it all the more absurd. However, it’s probably for the best to give up the hope that anything will make sense in this movie, well before this point. How does one steer a giant bumble bee anyway?
In conclusion, Journey 2: The Illogical Island is one for the young and innocent who wouldn’t enjoy any of the better films currently on release. It is colourful, fantasy-laden and life lessons are learnt. For children, this is harmlessly average fluff. For adults, it’s pretty much a no-go zone. This has all been done before and done better. 6/10