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Journey 2: The Mysterious Island
Opens Feb. 10, 2012. Run time: 1 hr. 34 min.

for some mild adventure action, and brief mild language

The new journey begins when young adventurer Sean receives a coded distress signal from a mysterious island where no island should exist-a place of strange life forms, mountains of gold, deadly volcanoes, and more than one astonishing secret. Unable to stop him from going, Sean's new stepfather joins the quest. Together with a helicopter pilot and his beautiful, strong-willed daughter, they set out to find the island, rescue its lone inhabitant and escape before seismic shockwaves force the island under the sea and bury its treasures forever. rating:

Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Michael Caine, Josh Hutcherson, Vanessa Hudgens, Kristin Davis
Director: Brad Peyton
Written by: Richard Outten, Brian Gunn
Producer: Beau Flynn, Charlotte Huggins, Tripp Vinson
Genres: Family, Action/Adventure

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Don't rush to "Journey 2: The Mysterious Island"

Published Feb. 10, 2012

It may or may not be a coincidence that the release of "Journey 2: The Mysterious Island," which is inspired by Jules Verne's book of almost the same name, falls on the same week as the anniversary of the legendary sci-fi writer's birthday. Either way, it's a good thing he's not alive to witness this contrived kid-friendly adaptation.

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Critic review:

It's hard for me to judge a movie like Journey 2: The Mysterious Island too harshly because I am not representative of its intended audience. A pre-teen or fifth-grader may not be dissuaded as I was by the blindingly hurried pace, plot discrepancies or absence of any character development while watching Brad Peyton's (Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore) attempt at reliving the success of Eric Brevig's original Journey. And you know what? That's okay, because as a family film it adheres to a formula laid out by far superior fantasy adventures and runs its course quickly without ever leaving a moment to reflect on how ridiculous it is. Essentially a series of set pieces tied together by a thinly drawn father-son story, Journey 2 picks up a few years after the first film and finds Sean Anderson (Josh Hutcherson) searching for the titular location, where he believes his long-absent grandfather has been stranded. Upon retrieving a coded message from a satellite tower just outside of town, he enlists the help of his new ex-Navy stepfather Hank (Dwayne Johnson) to get to the bottom of the mystery.

Together, they travel to a tropical paradise and hitch a helicopter ride with Gabato (Luis Guzman) and Kailani (Vanessa Hudgens) before crash landing on the Mysterious Island, where an action-packed escapade awaits them. The above description reads like a standard adventure template, and that's exactly what Journey 2 is. With a bare bones script from the writers of Bring it On Again, neither director nor actors had significant material to work with, but they run, jump, duck and dive through sets that resemble the jungle-gym from Legends of the Hidden Temple and various theme-park attractions as if they were cast in Peter Jackson's King Kong, giving every scene everything they've got. It's a good thing that the ensemble was so enthusiastic about the picture; though there isn't much chemistry between them, they collectively draw your attention from the gratuitous, gimmicky 3D, videogame-inspired digital environments and outdated creature design. Every role has a designated responsibility in this by-the-numbers production: Hutcherson is the brains, spitting out expository literary facts to keep the story going throughout, while Johnson is clearly the brawn.

Guzman, with his incessant infantile comedy, is the mouth, while Hudgens – quite frankly – is the eye candy. Only as a unit can they come close to making Journey 2 entertaining, but even when working in relative harmony it's hard to find much qualitative value in the film. As previously stated, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island wasn't made for all audiences. It will provide a few moments of underage humor and three-dimensional thrills for the kids, but everyone else will be wondering why they had to watch The Rock sing "What a Wonderful World" in an adaptation of a Jules Verne novel. rated this film 2 stars.-Daniel Hubschman.

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