Friday, January 24, 2014

Journey to the Center of the Earth (2008) [PG] ***

Max Anderson was a Vernian, an explorer who believed that the works of Jules Verne were based on scientific fact, and that the events depicted in his novel Journey to the Center of the Earth actually occurred. He disappeared into an Iceland volcano in 1997 trying to confirm his belief. His younger brother, Prof. Trevor Anderson (Brendan Fraser), is a geologist who has spent the last decade maintaining Max's research laboratory, monitoring his global instrumentation in the hope that the data would reveal what happened to Max, and sacrificing his own professional reputation in the process.

Then, Trevor’s nephew, Max's 13-year-old son Sean (Josh Hutcherson), comes to stay with Trevor for a couple of weeks, and the same day Max's computer reports extraordinary activity at the Iceland seismic station. Without delay, Trevor and Sean depart for Iceland where they meet Hannah (Anita Briem) whose late father Sigurbjörn Ásgeirsson was also a Vernian and a colleague of Max's, and who had founded a now-defunct institute of volcanology dedicated to proving that Verne was right about the existence of lava tunnels extending down into the center of the earth. Trevor hires Anna to guide Sean and him down into the volcano described in Verne's novel, but an electrical storm strikes, and a rock slide seals the three of them in a tunnel. With no way back they must go forward, and the adventure begins. As the three travel down into the earth they discover an amazing world below the surface, and experience all the wondrous adventures and dangerous creatures described in the novel.

This is a PG-rated sci-fi/fantasy, action/adventure family film with a screenplay that is faithful to the original material, believable performances, fast pacing, excellent computer-generated graphics, and some scenes of peril. There's even some romantic chemistry between Fraser and Briem, although this film will be mostly appreciated by young teens and pre-teens looking for an entertaining adventure. 

Labels: action, adventure, family, sci-fi, thriller
Internet Movie Database
Metacritic 57/100
Tomatometer (critics=61, viewers=51)

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