Journey to the Center of the Earth (2008) - Theater
AndyO review: * *
I took my two boys to see this film today, and after it was over the eight-year-old said, "That was a good one!"
In many ways, I think the target audience for Journey to the Center of the Earth is eight-year-olds -- or maybe kids just a little older. It reminded me of the National Treasure movies, with implausable plot points that end up being entertaining.
Brendan Fraser plays down-and-out Professor Trevor Anderson, who discovers the earth's seismic activity is the same as when his brother disappeared. Fraser is also babysitting his 13-year-old nephew (Josh Hutcherson), his brother's son. As quickly as you can say, "jump cut," Fraser and his nephew fly to Iceland to track down a scientist who knew the brother. Instead, they meet his daughter -- an Icelandic mountain goddess, uh, I mean guide named Hannah (Anita Briem).
After Hannah leads them up a volcanic peak, they end up getting trapped in the mountain -- and eventually fall thousands of miles into the center of the earth. As you can imagine, they see many wonderful and scary things down there.
So, if all this sounds pretty stupid, it is. But there are a few things that somehow made the film work (at least on a popcorn level):
- Brendan Fraser -- His comedic timing and on-screen presence pull us into the story. Coincidentally, I watched George of the Jungle with my kids the night before -- and I noticed how his presence there seemed to make that otherwise silly film entertaining, too.
- The mine car sequence -- There's a set piece in Journey that's like the mine car sequence in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom dialed up a few levels.
- The coming-of-age story of the 13-year-old nephew. It was fun to see an introverted 13-year-old go through a crazy journey with his uncle.
So, no Academy Awards for this film. Just pure popcorn fun.