Movie Review: The Imagination-Lacking Journey 2: Mysterious Island

It’s tough to hate a movie that tries so hard not to take itself seriously, but Journey 2: The Mysterious Island sure makes us come close. This sequel to 2008’s Brendan Fraser–starring Jules Verne palimpsest Journey to the Center of the Earth offers up a predictably de-boned, family-friendly fantasy adventure (this time inspired by Verne’s novel The Mysterious Island, which was actually more of a sequel to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, but whatever) but gussies it up with occasionally endearing bits of throwaway humor. The results are sometimes fun, though never enough to mask the movie’s breathtaking lack of imagination. 

The strangest gag in the entire thing, of course, is that Fraser’s character is nowhere to be found — he’s been replaced by The Rock, now playing stepdad to intrepid teenage "Verne-ian" Sean Anderson (The Kids Are All Right’s Josh Hutcherson, the only lead returning from the original film). Previous movies have joked with the idea of this outlandish-looking muscleman trying to fit into a domestic setting; here, it’s taken for granted. When The Rock knocks politely on his surly stepson’s door, only to be refused admittance, we half-expect him to tear the door down. But no, he’s a dutiful family man — so dutiful, in fact, that he essentially chaperones the boy on a journey to Palau after the two decode a mysterious radio transmission that Sean is convinced came from his lost explorer grandfather Alexander (Michael Caine, presumably behind on some alimony payments). Even after they crash-land on the supposedly fictional island, The Rock’s main purpose seems to be to just lurk around and make sure the boy doesn’t do anything stupid. They might as well be at the mall. Read More...


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