“Journey To The Center
Of The Earth”


Movie Biases:
Everything is better in 3D!

Major Players:
Brendan Fraser, Josh Hutcherson, Anita Briem

Science teacher Trevor Anderson (Fraser) goes off on a jaunt to Iceland with his nephew Sean (Hutcherson) seeking answers to what happened to his long lost brother (and Sean’s dad) as well as a mythical portal to the nether regions below, while being led by mountain guide Hannah (Briem) who unexpectedly gets them trapped deep inside the earth’s crust.

The Deal:
You know how they say “You can dress up a pig but it is still a pig?” Well this is one good-looking Wilbur. Kinda slow starting but picking up steam about 45 minutes in, “Journey” is a pretty synapse-free adventure across Jules Vernian territory, full of theme park-ready rides and flights of fancy.

The 3D is what makes it even worth it all, with cute-to-clever objects and bodily fluids flying right off the screen at your RealD 3D shades. Although I expected more use of the 3D format, what comes off is plenty entertaining.

Rumor has it that the original budget was slashed from $100 to $20 million, totally obliterating the special effects extravaganza it could have been and prompting legendary special effects guru and director of photography on this picture, Chuck Schuman, to retire from moviemaking. Yikes. This may explain why the three-credited writer script is less than inspired, despite Fraser’s low-key, good-natured charm and performance. While chemistry would be overstating his Trevor’s relationship with the Briem’s slight but super-resourceful Hannah, let’s just say there’s an atom or two of attraction.

Despite a stunning lack of originality in the proceedings (blatant “Temple of Doom” mining cart sequence rip-off, blatant “Jurassic Park” dinosaur chase “homage”), RealD makes it all a bit of good old fashioned, three-dimensional fun. Although I careened out of the movie THINKING this movie is prettier than a pig, sometimes you just gotta let the wow factor die down and face the bacon. Even if it’s that tasty, Tyson microwaveable kind.

Everything may be better in 3D, but with “Journey to the Center of the Earth,” it depends if you still eat the swine. Sure, there are Grand Canyon-sized gaps in logic, science, and common sense. But it’s summertime, baby: valet your mind and enjoy the ride!

Extra medium.

UTC’s resident film critic Edwardo Jackson is the author of the novels EVER AFTER and NEVA HAFTA,