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Journey 2: The Mysterious Island

MPAA Rating: PG-Rating (MPAA) for some adventure action, and brief mild language.

Reviewed by: Raphael Vera

Better than Average
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Family Teens Adults
Sci-Fi Action Adventure Fantasy Family Comedy 3D Sequel
1 hr. 34 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
February 10, 2012 (wide—3,400+ theaters)
DVD: June 5, 2012
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Relevant Issues
Copyright, New Line Cinema, Warner Bros. Pictures

Jules Verne

missing grandfather

rescuing a loved one


FEAR, Anxiety and Worry—What does the Bible say? Answer

courage, bravery

Featuring: Dwayne “The Rock” JohnsonHank
Michael CaineAlexander
Josh HutchersonSean
Luis GuzmánGabato
Vanessa HudgensKailani
Kristin Davis … Liz
Anna Colwell … Jessica
Stephen Caudill … Cop
Branscombe Richmond … Tour Guide
Walter Bankson … Hockey Player
Director: Brad Peyton
Producer: New Line Cinema
Walden Media
See all »
Distributor: New Line Cinema, Warner Bros. Pictures

“Believe the impossible. Discover the incredible.”

Sean (Josh Hutcherson), reprising his role from 2008’s “Journey to The Center of The Earth,” has intercepted a strangely coded message from his long lost grandfather Alexander (Michael Caine).

Enter Hank (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnsonan never wanted but tolerates for his mother’s sake but becomes usefull when he is able to decipher the message that starts them on a journey to find the elderly Alexander and the fabled “Mysterious Island”.

They enlist the help of Gabato (Luis Guzman), a third rate tour operator in the South Pacific along with his reluctant daughter Kailani (Vanessa Hudgens). What our foursome discovers is an island both beautiful and deadly, and a land that none, except for Jules Verne, knew existed but that holds a secret that may doom them all.

Objectionable issues

Language: Minor. The lack of both curses and curse substitutes is a welcome change with the harshest words being the use of ‘crap’ and ‘heck’. No other objectionable language is used, nor was God’s name taken in vain.

Violence: Moderate. The peril is behind every corner in this film and escalates as it heads towards the climax. The helicopter the group rides is torn apart amidst a Hurricane and cyclones. Several times they are threatened with being eaten by giant lizards and beasts of enormous size. That and the threat of the island’s volcano keep the film’s threat level consistently high. The use of 3D will make these scenes particularly scary for young kids but of course delight others.

Sex/Nudity: None. Sean is clearly attracted to Kailani from the first and the stares he gives while mimicked by the camera are thankfully short and few. Sean’s sophomoric attempts at getting her attention are laughable, as they were meant to be, but never cross the line.


From the beginning Sean is disrespectful of Hank and dismissive of almost anything he has to offer him. The opening scenes Sean and his parents are brief so we don’t get the full impact this has on the family in the way both the Bible and life itself confirms.

“A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish son grief to his mother” —Proverbs 10:1.

Sean is a stereotypical teenager, and he is willing to lie about his interests to get Kailani to like him. When she catches him in this Hank tells him sarcastically, “Way to slay the heart.” This would have been the perfect opportunity to tell him the value of being honest but later he does explain three (3) ways to get a woman’s attention, one of which actually had merit.

The Word of God speaks of how it will be in the last days and while films, even family friendly ones like this, present us characters that for the most part are ‘good’ I am still fascinated how the heroes end up embodying, granted in small amounts, the kinds of flaws in character that we are warned about in the last days.

“People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” —2 Timothy 3:2-4.

Both Gabato and Hank love their kids but the sense of responsibility they show indicate how very different they are from each other. Gabato, the film’s comic relief, may care a lot for his daughter but at one point his greed puts them all in peril. Though he is appropriately chastised we are reminded from the Bible how this course is never profitable.

“A greedy man brings trouble to his family…” Proverbs 15:27.

Sean wants to do something very risky and Hank has to put his foot down and tell him, “No!” Sean gives in but says to Kailani, “What’s worse is when they try so hard”. Kailani proves she is more grounded and wiser than her father when she replies, “No, worse would be if they didn’t try at all”.

The crucial role of fathers in their children’s lives is brought home when Hank later reveals that he was abandoned by his dad when he was eight. The importance of an intact marriage cannot be overemphasized. When this problem was discussed Jesus explained God’s view (and our commandment) when he said,

“Haven’t you read, he replied, that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’, and said,’For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore, what God has joined together, let man not separate” —Matthew 19:4-6.

Adult filmgoers need to embrace a lot of “suspension of belief” to appreciate this movie. The list of plot holes is matched only by the inconsistent and sometimes embarrassing dialogue. However, that was clearly not the intention of the director as special effects and action took center stage. The 3D was well utilized throughout but the CGI effects were inconsistent ranging from landscapes that were colorful to the point of near cartoonish to strikingly realistic with the larger beasts.

“Journey 2: The Mysterious Island” is another enjoyable family friendly action movie starring the Rock (Johnson) that has heart, though a bit forced, and strangely enough only slightly more believable than his “The Tooth Fairy”. ‘Journey2’ has virtually nothing in common with the Jules Verne’s book but will entertain and thrill as long as you don’t think too hard or expect anything more. Parents with younger children should exercise extreme caution.

Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Minor / Sex/Nudity: None

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive—Although the first Journey movie is still my favorite, I enjoyed this one immensely. It was just a really fun ride, with maybe a tad bit more slime than the first one. I thought the banter between Dwayne Johnson and Michael Caine was hilarious. When the movie was over, I found myself wishing it had been longer!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
Kadie Jo, age 19 (USA)
Positive—I decided to see Journey 2 because I had seen the previews and thought it looked interesting. I saw this film in 2D, and, at the end, wish I had seen it in 3D, because the of the beautiful cinematography. The character development needed some work, but that was about it. There was minimal objectionable content, as the reviewer stated, and I didn’t expect there would be. Overall, a good film and happy to see Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson in another family-friendly film.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
Alexander Malsan, age 21 (USA)
Positive—I saw Journey 2 last night, and I really enjoyed it! Unlike Ms. Elicia, in the negative comments, I didn’t read too deep into what wouldn’t add to the storyline. I did have to guard my mind when Vanessa Hudgeon’s character was on the screen in some revealing clothing. I prefer modest dress. That was my only issue, but it wasn’t a big problem, as some would make it out to be. Like the reviewer said, it is wise not to think too hard on some of the aspects or some of the little things will ruin the whole movie for you.

I really enjoyed the void of bad words that are unnecessary—and no sensual scenes, other than Vanessa Hudgeons” dress, which could have been worse. The suspense was at an acceptable level, not too much to make it a violent movie and not too little to make it boring. It’s at the right level.

I love how Sean and Hank bonded as the movie went along. How Sean felt Hank was a hindrance, at first, but, at the end, he “needed” him to come back. That just blew me away. That’s just awesome! That was one of my favorite parts.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
Alex, age 23 (USA)
Positive—…I, for one, loved this movie. It was FULL of action and adventure and was just an all around blast for my entire FAMILY to enjoy together. I say if you have not seen this movie already, see it; it is WELL worth your time and money.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
Chris, age 22 (USA)
Positive—Remembering that this is a family movie that inspires the imagination, it was great. I was happy that there were no bad words or suggestions that would take away from the family aspect. The movie was good quality and took the form of “Journey to the Center of the Earth” from a few years ago. I would suggest this film for all ages. It was funny.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 4
John Anthony, age 38 (USA)
Positive—My husband and I took our two young boys to see this movie last weekend. We are huge fans of funny and silly movies. It was a blast to watch! Unlike previous reviewers, and as Christians, we didn’t take offense to how the teenage girl in the movie was dressed. Besides wearing bikinis, this is typical of how teen girls dress at the beach. And the disrespectful teen learned to get along with his stepfather in the end. I think people really need to lighten up. If you like to have fun and have a good sense of humor, this movie is for you.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
Kim, age 40 (USA)
Positive—What a fun movie! The adventure aspects were really good. I loved how the step-son’s relationship with his mothers new husband developed, and how it showed his difficulties when he was not respectful to The Rock. Then, once he established a positive relationship with The Rock, everything was more pleasant. (Just like our relationship with Jesus Christ.) Definitely a great movie for the whole family. Younger children will enjoy the visuals, teens will enjoy the action/adventure and adults will enjoy the story line. Would really be a lot of fun for a church group to attend together.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
Dar, age 52 (USA)
Neutral—Overall, I am never comfortable with movies that portray kids who are disrespectful to adults in any way and certainly not towards a step-parent. This is just one more in a long line of “teen with attitude” movies where the kid starts out snarky but eventually does come to appreciate his parent/elder/authority figure by the end of the movie. I was never really drawn into the story—it seemed very shallow but that’s how the first one was as well so I can’t say I am surprised.

The 3-D effects were predictable too. This was barely amusing. From a biblical perspective, it is pure amusement—a-muse = no thought. I can’t say I would encourage anyone to rush out and see it. There was way too much cleavage revealed by the young lady and the tight low-cut top she wore through almost the entire movie revealed too much too often from multiple angles. Women need to understand how much of a temptation they pose to men when they wear this kind of stuff.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
Blaine, age 51 (USA)
Neutral—I wish I could give this PG movie a positive rating but I have to remain neutral because of the romance between the two teenagers in the film—Josh Hutcherson and Vanessa Hudgens. It would have been OKAY, if there hadn’t been a big kiss between them at the end, or if they hadn’t zoomed in on Vanessa’s chest at the beginning of the film. The movie went into slow motion and showed Josh taking off his sunglasses and looking downward at her breasts! I was shocked, as I had 5 teenage boys with me! Vanessa also wore one outfit the entire movie and, of course, was barely clothed. You may think I’m being too picky, but I now view movies through the eyes of teenage boys and know these are things they notice!

The rest of the film included bantering back and forth between Josh and his step-father (Dwayne Johnson) about how to get a girl to like you. I happen to like Dwayne’s humor, so I was OKAY with that. Or rather I’ll say, it could’ve been much worse. Also, bantering back and forth between Dwayne and Josh’s grandfather, Michael Caine. There was a lot of lightheartedness from all the characters (except Josh) which made it entertaining. A big thank you goes to the director for NO cursing! Something that can’t be said about many movies.

Josh was very disrespectful to his parents in the beginning of the film and never apologized. I get what they were trying to do. Had they just given Vanessa a little more clothing, not made the “zoom in to chest” scene, skipped the big kiss at the end, and had Josh apologize to his parents, I would’ve rated it positive!! Great movie to see at home with the remote control.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
Melinda, age 45 (USA)
Neutral—Although the movie was good, they way over sexualized the young female teenager. The whole movie, she ran around in a skin tight, low cut top and short shorts, and it was in your face constantly. Too bad to ruin a well made movie. The graphics were good and story moved fast, but it was totally distracting to have her there all the time. Wouldn’t want my young children seeing that, boys (or men, for that fact) gawking at her and young girls thinking that is how you dress. It’s sad. It ruined the movie for me, wish I hadn’t seen it. Only perpetuates child molestation (since she is still a child) and human trafficking with the way they portray women.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3½
Samantha, age 37 (USA)
Negative—I was interested in seeing this movie, because of my love for 3-D movies and 3-D special effects. Some of the special effects were cool, but I would not recommend seeing the movie because of some things, which ruined it, for me. First, the main character, a “cool” 15 year old boy, is a law-breaker, very disrespectful toward his stepfather, and is against his stepfather’s authority. He is a very defiant kid. His stepfather refers to him as buddy throughout the movie, and, sadly, their relationship seems to only become a “buddy relationship,” rather than a father-son relationship, due to all of the adventures that they endure together.

The prodigal son is made out to be a hero, and while his behavior improves a little, he doesn’t show any repentance or humility for all of the bad things that he has done. He is never shown apologizing for his unacceptable behavior, but is simply accepted for who he is — the cool rebel.

Another issue that I had with the movie was the suggestive and revealing clothing that the 15-16 year old girl wore. The inappropriately dressed beauty was in your face throughout the movie. There was lots of cleavage showing her developing body, and gawking stares by the main character, and probably many other pre-teen, and teen boys watching…a carnal feast for the eyes. Since he is physically attracted to the girl, he works throughout the movie to figure out a way to attract her to him. His “step-buddy” gives him some advice so that he will impress her. The overall tone of the movie is worldly and carnal.

I wish that I had read the review first, because it would have saved me time and money. My teenagers will not be seeing this one. Even though some of the special effects were cool, the disrespect, disregard toward authority, and immodesty, was enough to give this movie a thumbs down.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
Elicia, age 42 (USA)
Negative—I saw “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island” against my will, yesterday. I didn’t even like the first movie, which I only saw out of politeness to a relative of mine, who had bought the film. And the promo for the second one didn’t attract me one bit. That said, on to the movie.

First off, the premise of this movie (and the first one) is idiotic… and the filmmakers also had the gall to set the story in modern times. Now, I’m not a science fiction fan, except for the STAR WARS movies, so that should explain a lot. Secondly, why even bother calling this movie “Journey 2” when Brendan Fraser didn’t even return for it? The only connection to the first one is Josh Hutcherson (a pretty good actor).

I could barely enjoy the movie, myself, though there were some good comic moments, courtesy of two-time Oscar winner Sir Michael Caine, The Rock and Luiz Guzman (“The Count of Monte Cristo”). Vannessa Anne Hudgens (“High School Musical” 1-2) is not only gorgeous, but also a good actress. And, of course, I enjoyed the attraction between Hutcherson and Ms. Hudgens” characters.

But, overall, I hated the film. Biblically speaking, there’s nothing offensive in the movie (for which the filmmakers must be commended), except for some mildly scary action sequences (which are rendered a bit more intense in IMAX 3-D), hence the PG rating. But it’s nothing that will give a kid nightmares. I recommend renting this movie, if you must view it. But overall, please avoid it.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 3½
D, age 26 (USA)
Comments from young people
Positive—Journey 2 is a rip-roaring and swashbuckling story, with mysterious caves, and unusual animals. It is about a teenager named Sean (Josh Hutcherson), who you might remember from his last adventure “Journey to the Center of the Earth.” Sean and his stepfather Hank (Dwayne Johnson) decode a message from a mysterious place. It sets them on a journey to the mysterious island — the one in Gulliver’s Travels, Treasure Island, and Jules Vernes’ Mysterious Island. Sean, his stepfather, Gabato (Luis Guzman), and Kailani (Vanessa Hudgens) soon find Sean’s grandfather, Alexander (Michael Caine).

…Even though the group is amazed at the majestic ruins of structures built thousands of years ago, they have to fight against enormous forces hopelessly beyond their control. Will they make it? Find the answer by watching Journey 2 yourself! A first-class adventure the whole family will enjoy! I rate it 5 stars and recommend Journey 2 for 5 years and up. This fabulous movie is a Pick It!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
Jeremy Hsiao, age 8 (USA)
Positive—This movie is a lot of fun. Families should go see it. Yah, I was not a big fan of the love scenes between the two teens, but it wasn’t the worst, either. Watching this on the big screen was amazing. But, I guess you would have to be the judge of that.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
Meaghan, age 13 (USA)

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