Reviewed by: Sheri McMurray
“The Mummy Returns”
Josh Hutcherson, Anita Briem, Giancarlo Caltabiano, Garth Gilker, Kaniehtiio Horn
|Producer:||Cale Boyter, Michael Disco, Beau Flynn, Brendan Fraser, Cary Granat, Charlotte Huggins, W. Mark McNair, Alex Schwartz, Mylan Stepanovich, Evan Turner, Tripp Vinson|
|Distributor:||New Line Cinema|
“Same planet. Different world.”
The 1959 film version of “Journey to the Center of the Earth,” with James Mason, Pat Boone, and a lot of slithery cool dinosaurs, was one of my favorite movies as a kid that finally made it to TV in living color. It had a certain odd ominous air, with its crew of explorers getting increasingly desperate in their attempt to survive. Somber and serious and a lot of creep-out factor compared to this new breathtaking, high-tech special effects CGI wonder.
Based very loosely on the 1864 book of the same title by Jules Verne, this “Journey to the Center of the Earth” directed by Eric Brevig, Academy Award winner for visual effects (“Total Recall,” “Pearl Harbor”), wows the audience with its incredible special effects. Now in spectacular 3-D, the 2008 version is an adventure well worth the price of admission. Your kids will love it, and hey, what better way to expose them to some science without them even knowing it.
Trevor Anderson (Brendan Fraser) is an unconventional scientist who is a die hard “Vernean,” which means he is of a select group who believes Verne’s book was not speculative fiction but scientific fact. Anderson makes his way to Iceland with his nephew Sean (Josh Hutcherson) in tow, on a 10-day exploratory expedition. The reason being, he believes that the copy of the Verne novel with mathematical equations and hidden symbols written in it’s pages by his long lost brother, tells the way to enter the craggy volcanic openings in the mountains of Iceland and literally travel to the center of the Earth. They are joined by a local mountain guide named Hannah Ásgeirsson (Anita Briem) and actually discover a passage into the very center of the Earth, just as the book, actually an Inner Planet Travel Guide, tells.
The 3-D effects were great from the very first moment when Professor Anderson brushes his teeth, swishes and spits right out into the audience, through thrilling explosions, slobbering gigantic T-Rex’s, roller coaster rides along a dangerous old mining track (Ala Indiana Jones), flying fish baseball, and beautiful visions like neon glowing birds in flight and wisps of puff balls blown off of giant dandelions that magically swirl off the screen and around your head.
In my opinion, the best scene: When Trevor’s nephew, Sean, clings in fear of his life to floating magnetic rocks above the deepest abyss you've ever seen! Truly a situation that could give even jaded video gamers stomach wrenching vertigo.
This is a movie perfect for the entire family. The little ones may be scared by the effects that pop out of the screen in very realistic fashion and the special 3-D glasses may be awkward for small faces, but I would say anyone nine or over will have no problem with the glasses or the film’s visual stimulation. Little boys, especially will love the dinos, and Fraser’s obvious “cool” humor. I found the PG rating for adventure action and some scary moments appropriate. There is a reference to having “dibs” on Hannah, the beautiful young mountain guide, by both guys, but it is said in the spirit of good fun. Trevor and Hannah do have a kiss, but it is sweet and did not make me uncomfortable.
I especially would like to direct kids and parents to the official “Journey to the Center of the Earth” Web site http://www.journey3dmovie.com/, which is full of fun things to see and do, striking images and movie and cast bios, along with info on the making of the film. The Escape game is fun along with The Flip Side, a scientific well of information about the opposite sides of planet Earth. A very impressive inclusion is The Ásgeirsson Institute’s fictional Web site http://www.progressivevolcanology.com/, which looks exactly like an actual Web site full of links and information for any believing “Vernean” explorer.
I would say any kid or evan adult who never has read the novel by Jules Verne will have an uncontrollable urge to seek out Journey To The Center of The Earth at stores or their public library, after seeing this visually beautiful and thrill-a-minute movie. It is great to note that Hollywood can make live action movies for the entire family to enjoy and has brought a new dimension to the art form of 3-D to theaters. Oh and one more thing, a nod is taken at the conclusion of the film that Professor Anderson and Sean just might be off on a new adventure to find the lost city of Atlantis in the future.
I look forward to that!
Violence: Minor / Profanity: None / Sex/Nudity: None
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.