Reel Society

Reviews for the latest movies in theaters and on DVD.

Journey to the Center of the Earth

Review by David Tredler

What kid has never dreamt of being propelled into a Jules Verne book? The 19th-Century French author is one of the fathers of modern adventure, his classic intrigues sending the reader around the world, under the sea, or on a deserted mysterious island having constantly inspired our contemporary fiction creators.

Journey to the Center of the Earth had already inspired a motion picture, in 1959, starring James Mason. The 2008 reinvention strays from Verne’s intrigue, preferring to incorporate the book into the story. Brendan Fraser portrays Trevor Anderson, a science teacher who finds himself organizing an expedition down a volcano towards the center of the Earth, hoping to find any trace of his brother, who disappeared ten years earlier trying to obsessively prove the veracity of Jules Verne’s book. (74)

What makes this adaptation a curiosity is the fact it was conceived as a 3D feature. And honestly, this is pretty much what makes this film be worth watching. Directed by a special effects wizard, Eric Brevig, this Journey has little to offer as a classic adventure film. Predictable characters, a bit of humor here and there, and the all too palpable sensation that you will not get many surprises from the screenplay, except in how much it will stray from Verne’s book.

No, the real motivation resides in the 3D technique, which, projected in glorious HD, offers a fluidity that has probably never been experienced with 3D films before. As long as it is the camera that moves, the quality is incredibly smooth (when the movements come from inside the shot, the mobility of the characters, it is less enjoyable). If you are not curious about 3D though, you may pass on the film and re-read Verne’s book instead.

2/5 stars

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