Wednesday, June 30, 2010

#9 - Journey to the Center of the Earth - 2008

My 2nd movie I chose to watch this week was Journey to the Center of the Earth. This is the shortest film I will be watching this week and although I saw it on the big screen in 3D I chose to watch it this time in standard 2D but it was the bluray version. One thing I found kind of ironic was that as I was watching this film in the first 10 minutes there is a scene where Brenden Fraser's character grabs a calendar checking what day it is and it was none other than June 29, the same date it was yesterday when I was watching it. Funny and odd at the same time. haha. Below is my detailed review of this film.

This movie basically had only one legitimate hollywood blockbuster actor and that was Brenden Fraser. The other lesser know actors were Fraser's nephew Sean played by Josh Hutcherson, Icelandic tour guide (originally) turned romantic interest Hannah played by Anita Briem and finally the arrogant and jerk of a Professor Alan Kitzens played by SNL's Seth Myers who is actually easily annoying, maybe there is a reason for that? haha. Other than that there are no other main actors or actresses that are really worth mentioning due to limited screen time. This movie really wasn't actor driven so none of that mattered anyways. Fraser is a great action/adventure hero type actor so he alone could have carried this film.

This movie is about Professor Trevor Anderson's voyage into the center of the earth. The film starts out with Anderson's brother Max being chased by a giant T-Rex and running for his life. This turns out to be a nightmare that Anderson is having and he awakens in a panic. Turns out his brother did really vanish and die so it was obviously a reoccurring nightmare he had been having. Anderson is seen teaching a class full of students who are sleeping, texting, and overall not interested. He is soon approached by Prof Kitzens who notifies him they are shutting down his brothers lab. Anderson returns home and notices 4 messages on his voicemail from his sister in law reminding him about watching her son for 10 days, this is where he picks up the calendar and it is June 10th.

Sean, Anderson's nephew is played perfectly as the teenager who is self involved in his mobile video games and as he better said it, "keep the fridge stocked with Mt Dew and tivo Family Guy and we will be just fine". Loved that line, total teenager line and it reminds me of my high school days sans the tivo and Family Guy of course. haha. Andersons sister in law gives him a box of Max's old stuff and inside there was a baseball glove, yo-yo, and a book, Journey to the Center of the Earth. Anderson starts to read it and comes to a revelation of sorts. This leads him to head to the lab to figure some numbers out and its there that he realizes his brother was right and he must fly to Iceland to investigate it further. He along with his nephew fly out to Iceland and begin a journey that they never expected to take.

Once in Iceland they meet the daughter of a man whom like Anderson's brother believed in these theories of the center of the earth and she offer's to take them up the mountain to explore it. She easily outpaces them up the mountain and as they near the peak a thunderstorm with lightning strikes and after an explosion they are trapped in the mountain in a cave like atmosphere, this is where it gets good. I love films that take place in dark crevasses or mines or underground, its creepy and cool to me and although not claustrophobic myself I can easily see how others are. The trio comes to a giant hole that they later figure out to be about 200ft deep and they must propel down it to move further along. As the reach the bottom the find an old mine shaft with mine carts, tracks and all. Yes you know what this means, Indiana Jones type action. In easily my favorite part of the movie (I cant help it, its the rollercoaster fan in me) the three get into 2 separate mine carts and race down the mine tracks. The CGI special effects were wonderful in this scene and although it was short it was filled with excitement and entertainment. I loved this part of the film and a ride like that would be awesome at an amusement park. Don't think Big Thunder Railroad because it wasn't like that, it was better.

After the three of them barely escape a treacherous mine ride they enter into a room filled with emeralds and diamonds. The floor looks like a thick piece of ice starts to crack and they soon realize it may fall below their feet. After grabbing some diamonds one accidentally falls out of Sean's backpack and puts a large crack in the floor. Anderson says one of the funnier lines of the film, "its actually thicker than I thought" and no sooner does he say that the floor cracks and they all drop for quite a lengthy fall. It was such a long fall that Anderson yelled out "were still falling!" and eventually water droplets in mid air start bouncing off them as they fall into a huge water hole.

After getting out of the water they see what they believe to be glowing stars above them. What it actually is are tiny little glowing birds which by the way looked very cool in 3D. The birds led them to a crack in the cave wall and an opening and that is where we first see the majesty of the center of the earth. There are white feather looking like flowers and huge mushrooms that tricked my mind into believing for a hot second I was watching Alice in Wonderland. There was stunning views of waterfalls and mountains surrounding them and this scene especially was very cool to see in bluray. As they roam around the island of sorts they find some of Max's old stuff including a book and a cantina. As Sean and Anderson are looking through Max's items Hannah calls out to Anderson to come over and take a look at something. It is only assumed to be Max's body because the next scene shows Anderson finishing placing rocks on a grave on sandy area in front of the water as Hannah brings out Sean. In what was to be the movie's only real sentimental part it was hard for me to take seriously when Anderson read a note from Max's journal that he wrote to his son. I think the producers were trying to hard to make it emotional when the surrounding storyline leading up to it just didn't qualify it for a scene like that, in my mind.

With the temperature getting hotter with each hour the trio must figure out a way to get to the other side of the water. They work together and build a boat with a sail and all and take off into the water. In another very cool and heavily CGI special effected scene they are attacked by flying sharp teethed fish and Anderson and Sean basically have batting practice with these fish. A few moments later much larger and I mean much much larger loch ness dinosaur looking like serpents emerge and they are eating the fish. They pay no attention to the trio on the boat and this is hard to believe but hey its movie magic, just go with it. After high winds almost break the sail off Sean goes to grab it and is blown away from the boat. As they are separated Anderson and Hannah run into some human eating plants that almost kill Hannah while Sean has his own problems, he is dealing with floating magnetic rocks that form a trail that he must walk on to get to the other side of the rock. This rock scene was very cool and looked even better in 3D. After both Anderson and Hannah and also Sean escaped their peril situations they continued to move forward. Sean quickly heard loud footsteps and it was evident that a dinosaur was near, a T-Rex to be exact. As Anderson and Hannah split ways Anderson reached Sean and they both were in for the run of their life away from the mighty T-Rex. They barely survived and escaped and Hannah came to their rescue in a very cool looking boat which was the jaw bone structure of a dinosaur, I'm assuming a T-Rex. They were not out of the clear yet as they had to hit a ride up the geyser in order to be blown out of the mountain before the volcanic flow erupted inside and killed them. With one final escape scene left they were blown out of the top of the mountain in dramatic fashion and ascended down the side of the mountain eventually splicing past a vineyard. The ending shows Anderson telling off (sort of) Myers character Professor Kitzens indicating he is looking for a new "building" for his lab and then Sean is shown feeding his glowing bird he has taken as a pet. There is a small reference about the Lost City of Atlantis but I have not heard anything about a sequel yet it would be cool I'm sure.

In my mind this movie although only 92 minutes (short by most standards for an action flick) was action packed and really never had any dull points. Take away the first 15minutes of the film and the final 5 which were relevant parts to the story anyways this movie was pretty nonstop throughout. It had a little humor, a lot of action, and stunning picturesque visuals throughout. When you add some pretty cool looking creatures, a mine ride, and a T-Rex then you pretty much cant go wrong. I loved the special effects of this movie and its easily one Id watch over and over again. I would give this an A-!

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