Advertisement

Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some mild adventure action and brief mild language
Profanity:Some brief schoolyard language
Nudity/Sex:Potty humor and one crude joke, kiss
Alcohol/Drugs:None
Violence/Scariness:Action-style peril, minor injuries, some large insects, scary animals with big teeth, and some gross and disturbing images
Diversity Issues:Diverse characters, mild sexist humor
Movie Release Date:February 10, 2012
DVD Release Date:June 4, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some mild adventure action and brief mild language
Profanity: Some brief schoolyard language
Nudity/Sex: Potty humor and one crude joke, kiss
Alcohol/Drugs: None
Violence/Scariness: Action-style peril, minor injuries, some large insects, scary animals with big teeth, and some gross and disturbing images
Diversity Issues: Diverse characters, mild sexist humor
Movie Release Date: February 10, 2012
DVD Release Date: June 4, 2012

Like its predecessor, Journey to the Center of the Earth, this is a well-paced and highly entertaining family film made with good humor, panache, and imagination.  Josh Hutcherson returns as Sean Anderson, a teenager whose last expedition was in search of his father.  Refreshingly, it does not take itself seriously.  Even more refreshingly, it takes the idea of adventure seriously, with a welcome reminder that the actual thrill of exploring beats even the most entertaining movie or game.

Sean receives an encrypted radio signal and suspects it may be from his grandfather, Alexander, an explorer.  Sean’s stepfather Hank (Duane “The Rock” Johnson) is a Navy veteran who once one a prize for code-breaking.   Sean does not want to have anything to do with Hank, but cannot resist letting him help solve the code.  When it appears to be coming from Sean’s grandfather, with a clue that leads them to more clues in classic stories of island adventure by Jules Verne, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Jonathan Swift, Sean is determined to find it.  Hank persuades Sean’s mother (Kristen Davis), to let them try because it is the first real opportunity he has had to get close to his stepson.

Advertisement

They fly to Palau, where the only person crazy and desperate enough to try to take them to an uncharted and possibly imaginary island in the middle of the most dangerous storms on the ocean is Gabato (Luis Guzman, providing awkward comic relief).  Sean and Hank get into Gabato’s rattletrap of a plane with Gabato’s beautiful daughter Kailani (“High School Musical’s” Vanessa Hudgens) as a navigator.  Like the Millennium Falcon being sucked into the Death Star by the tractor beam, Gabato’s plane is pulled onto the island by the swirl of the storm for a crash landing that shatters it to shards.

Advertisement

Sean is thrilled to find his grandfather (a game and very dapper Michael Caine) and the group is enchanted by the lush beauty of the tropical island and by its big/small reversals.  Animals that are big in the rest of the world are small, and animals that are small are big.  So the elephants are the size of border collies and the lizards are the size of dinosaurs.  Alexander has created a “Swiss Family Robinson”-style treehouse and has discovered the ruins of an ancient city.  But when Hank discovers that the island is sinking and will be submerged in a few days, they have to find a way to get back home.  They set off for the coast. Alexander at first is hostile to Hank but, like Sean, learns to appreciate him after he shows how skillful and dependable he is — and after he pulls out a uke and sings a very respectable and funny version of “Wonderful World.”

Advertisement

Director Brad Peyton keeps the characters and the plot moving briskly and manages to bring in some nice moments as Alexander, Hank, and Gabato demonstrate different styles of fatherhood.  Kailani reminds Sean that it may be bad when parents embarrass you but it is worse when they don’t even try to provide support and guidance.  The humor is silly, but reassuring, not condescending to the young audience.  It balances the scenes of peril as the group tries to find an escape.  However, Gabato is so over-the-top he is likely to grate on anyone over age 10.  It palpably conveys the fun of exploration and discovery and the pleasures of being part of a team.  The production design by Bill Boes is spectacular, especially Alexander’s wittily imagined house, the ancient city, and the 140-year-old submarine that starts up like Woody Allen’s VW Bug in “Sleeper” after a unique jump start.  It perfectly matches the fantasy-adventure-comedy tone of the story, where you can hold a a baby elephant in your arms and fly on the back of a giant bee.  “Are you ready for an adventure?” characters ask more than once.  This movie will have you ready to say, “Yes.”

Advertisement

As an added treat, there’s an “What’s Opera, Doc”-ish 3D Daffy Duck cartoon before the film, with audio from the original Daffy and Elmer voice talent, Mel Blanc.

Parents should know that this film has characters in peril, minor injuries, some icky and scary-looking animals with big teeth, some jump-out-at-you surprises, some potty and briefly crude humor, and brief schoolyard language.

Family discussion:  How many different styles of parenting were portrayed in this movie?  Which do you think is best?  What adventure would you like to go on?

If you like this, try: “Journey to the Center of the Earth,” “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” and books by Jules Verne

Previous Posts

Worst Accents in Movies
Thanks to Indiewire for including me in this great rundown of the all-time worst movie accents. Critics vented frustration and fury, many picking Quentin Tarantino and Dick van Dyke, but I went with two actors who played Robin ...

posted 2:13:18pm Aug. 28, 2015 | read full post »

Grandma
Lily Tomlin is cranky, feisty, tough, and utterly irresistible in this story of a grandmother who has to visit past decisions about her own life in order ...

posted 5:50:55pm Aug. 27, 2015 | read full post »

We Are Your Friends
Director Max Joseph brings some of the "Catfish" sensibility to "We Are Your Friends," with an intimate, documentary feel and a storyline ...

posted 5:35:22pm Aug. 27, 2015 | read full post »

Z for Zachariah
In 1959, a movie called The World, The Flesh And The Devil imagined a post-apocalyptic world with three surviving humans. In the words of the 1960's television series, "The Mod Squad," they could be described as "one black, one white, one ...

posted 5:31:48pm Aug. 27, 2015 | read full post »

Being Evel
Evel Knievel was an international celebrity in the 1960's-70's, known for three things: showmanship, stunts that succeeded, and stunts that failed. He was recognized for jumping over 19 cars in his motorcycle, for crash-landing after trying to ...

posted 5:13:51pm Aug. 27, 2015 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.