Reel Shorts | Journey to the Center of the Earth

10 07 2008


From the opening scene to exhilarating close, this remake of the 1959 sci-fi classic, “Journey to the Center of the Earth” has been transformed into visual amusement park attraction. While you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see how the story will turn out, it still doesn’t prevent it from being huge family fun.

There are some experiences that you have and others you watch. “JTTCOTE” is a little bit of both. An inquisitive scientist, Trevor (Brendan Fraser) is paired with his nephew, and an attractive Icelandic mountain guide journey to a world within a world in this wild, no-hold barred action-adventure.

Fraser stars as a scientist trying to solve a mystery of his brother’s disappearance. Finding his brother’s notes, he discovers that he was Vernian (or a follower of the work of Jules Verne). With his disinterested young nephew, Sean (Josh Hutcherson) in tow, the two follow clues with lead them to the daughter of another Vernian, Hannah (Anita Briem). Fraser hires the young woman to lead their expedition. Soon the “treacherous three” find themselves trapped in a cave where the true adventure begins.

While the film is in 3-D, the seats should be equipped with seat belts because not only do you watch the film, you experience it as well. Features deep dark caves, high-speed action in a deserted mine, prehistoric animals, snapping deadly fish, carnivorous plants and dinosaurs, “The Journey to the Center of the World” is not a movie but an attraction as well.

In the midst of all the action, their are moments of extreme exhilaration as well moments of sorrow. The two leads spend the lion’s share of the moment saving each other from death-defying jams while trying to figure out a way to get back to their world.

Much like Keanu Reeves, Fraser is at his best when not required to do too much. With the exception of a fine performance in “School Ties,” Fraser has stumbled from one doofus performance after another. But his limitations actually are serviceable in this action-adventure that requires that he lead the pack from one perilous situation to the next.

The filmmakers don’t take the story too seriously and understand exactly whom their target audience is. While it is a stretch to think that there is an alternate universe with prehistoric creatures living at the base of our planet, that doesn’t stop the audience from being thoroughly entertained.

With such a general and simple premise even Fraser can’t ruin this adventure. By the time the film concludes, the only thought going through my mind was if the film is this entertaining, what will the ride be like?

Grade: B

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