Synopsis: The new 3D family adventure “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island” begins when seventeen-year-old Sean Anderson (Josh Hutcherson) receives a coded distress signal from a mysterious island where no island should exist.
Unable to stop him from tracking the signal to its source, Sean’s new stepfather, Hank (Dwayne Johnson), joins the quest that will take them first to the South Pacific, and then to a place few people have ever seen. Or lived to tell about. It’s a place of stunning beauty, strange and threatening life forms, volcanoes, mountains of gold and more than one astonishing secret.
Together with Gabato (Luis GuzmÃ¡n), the only helicopter pilot willing to risk the trip, and Gabato’s beautiful, strong-willed daughter Kailani (Vanessa Hudgens), they set out to find the island, rescue its lone human inhabitant and escape before seismic shockwaves force the island underwater and bury its treasures forever, in this follow-up to the 2008 worldwide hit “Journey to the Center of the Earth.”
Release Date: February 10, 2012 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): Children and Family, Adventure
Jules Verne is the author of such celebrated works as “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea,” “Around the World in 80 Days” and “A Journey to the Centre of the Earth”. Verne was a master storyteller, creating adventures on the page that sparked the imagination, with dazzling worlds for the reader. The 2008 film adaptation of “Journey to the Centre of the Earth” was the first film installment in what can now be called the Journey series. Verne’s other classic work, “The Mysterious Island,” is the subject of this second installment but the previous film is irrelevant as Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (The Mysterious Island) has nearly an entire new cast, except for Josh Hutcherson as Sam, and the story sets itself apart completely. The film’s story also borrows from two other classic works in order to bring the adventure alive, “Gulliver’s Travels” and “Treasure Island.”
The initial set-up for The Mysterious Island is quick and easy; there is not a second of wasted time in getting Sam and his step-father Hank (Dwayne Johnson) to the island after they crack a mysterious code sent by Sam’s grandfather Alexander (Michael Caine). There is of course the set-up of their relationship–it is antagonistic–and the last thing Sam wants is Hank coming along on this adventure with him. Without a real choice Sam gives in, and he and Hank set off to the South Pacific in search of the island. Getting to the island brings them to helicopter pilot Gabato (Luis Guzman) and his daughter Kailani (Vanessa Hudgens) as they are the only two people willing to brave the treacherous sea/air course in order to find the island. Their motivation is of course money, but with good reason as Kailani wants to go to college. The four of them soon become stranded on the island, a majestic place full of beauty and danger; as well as biogeographic theory where over time and evolution in an isolated environment large things can become small and small things large. Such is the case on the island; an elephant is the size of a small dog and a butterfly enormous, with a wing-span to rival the largest prehistoric birds. Nothing is what one would expect on the island, making it gleefully exciting to take in all of the wonderment. It is the actual story of The Mysterious Island that is the cause for concern.
The Mysterious Island moves quick, and before you can even embrace the fact that you are seeing an imagined creation of Verne’s famous island you are whisked away in a flurry with the characters in them having to find their way off of the island–or die. The fantastical possibilities of exploring, becoming engrossed, and being able to stretch your imagination is never fulfilled for a viewer. The rapid pacing takes you on a flight with bees, to witness a gold volcano erupting in the distance, and a great chase involving a very angry lizard but much of what could have been, what should have been rendered in the story given the three novels it takes from is absent. As imaginative as Verne was, and the other famous authors’ books mentioned in the story it is a sorrow filled disappointment to have The Mysterious Island as rushed as it is here. Even having Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson sing and play a ukelele doesn’t completely make up for the failures, even if he is quite entertaining.
The Mysterious Island is being released in 2D and 3D versions, as it seems every child-geared film is today. The effects in the film are a bit perplexing, as some things looks amazing, even in 3D, and others are such low-grade CGI/Green Screen creations it is deplorable. The good is the island itself. Shot on location in Oahu, Hawaii the tropical landscape is perfect for the island. The combination of the natural landscape and the effects in the first half of the film, both CGI and production design based are exceptional. The first glimpse of the island by the characters is a breathtaking extreme wide shot of a fantasy world, awash with color and depth. It is what paradise should look like on first glance. Paradise is of course flawed, as is discovered when a giant lizard attacks Sam, Hank, Gabato, and Kailano after they happen upon his eggs. The chase scene between the lizard and the characters is great fun, and the lizard looks fantastic, moving seamlessly along inside of the real world while being created by a computer.
Things slowly go down hill from there for the effects in The Mysterious Island. The much toted bee flying scene is poorly done, making it quite clear of the non-realness of the characters actually flying on giant bees. Even the shots from above looking down atop the bees are troublesome to the eye; the look borders on animation and does not fit into the prior realness of the island that was evoked originally. A saving grace is the Nautilus ship that will save Hank, Sam and the lot of them from death on the sinking island. A fantastical rendering of the “famous” Nautilus is done, classic brash finishings and all. If only the shots leading into the ship underwater did not look like two hastily drawn cartoon-esque characters swimming in the sea, or being thrown into the belly of the ship. The Mysterious Island is a complicated mess of production design and visual effects; never fulfilling the fantasy of disbelief long enough to fully engross the viewer in this fantastical land.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Brad PeytonTripp Vinson
- Producer(s): Brian GunnMark Gunn
- Screenwriter(s): Dwayne Johnson (Hank)Michael Caine (Alexander)Josh Hutcherson (Sean)
- Story: Luis Guzman (Gabato)
- Cast: Vanessa Hudgens (Kailani)Kristin Davis (Liz) David RennieDavid TattersallBill Boes
- Cinematographer: Andrew Lockington
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer:
- Casting Director(s):
- Music Score:
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: USA