Jules Verne once said of The Mysterious Island, “What pen can describe this scene of marvelous horror; what pencil can portray it?” And though his own writings have always done just that, with all of the advancements in media we have made since his day, I'm sure even he would be amazed at the way the stories he conveyed through written word have been brought to life in their on-screen portrayal in director, Brad Peyton’s, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island. This film is the sequel to 2008 film, Journey to the Center of the Earth (also see my review for Journey to the Center of the Earth3D under the review tab). In Journey 2, Josh Hutcherson returns to reprise his role of Sean Anderson. Unfortunately, due to scheduling conflicts, he's the only returning cast member. When I heard Brendan Fraser was not reprising his earlier role, I was a little disappointed and doubted how good the show would be; yet when I heard Dwayne Johnson (a.k.a. The Rock) was going to be in it, I regained some hope for it. To me, he and Fraser both have similar personalities and comic styles. Fortunately, the chemistry of the new cast of adventurers holds true to that of the original cast. The story is similarly well-developed to help the viewer understand why each character is involved. Regrettably, the only mention of Fraser’s character is in a deleted scene.
In Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, Sean once again sets out on an adventure to discover another location that Jules Verne had written about in his book, The Mysterious Island. To most people this fantastic location is just that—a fantasy—but after the experience Sean shared with his uncle in the previous movie, he has become a Vernian (one who believe the works of Jules Verne’s writings to be true) like his father and grandfather before him. This journey starts out after Sean intercepts an encoded message which he believes may have come from his grandfather Alexander Anderson (Michael Caine) who disappeared over 2 years ago while searching for the mysterious island. Sean’s attempt to persuade his mom (now played by Kristin Davis) seem futile, until his step-father, Hank Parsons (Dwayne Johnson) steps in and offers to accompany Sean on his quest. Hank is not a believer, but he sees this as an opportunity to strengthen his relationship with his step-son who has not responded well to his other attempts.
The first stop on the journey is the island of Pulau, as the location indicated by the radio signal should be just a short boat ride away. Once they arrive in Pulau, Sean struggles to communicate with the locals, but luckily Hank knows their native language almost as well as his own. However, the locals all know better than to travel the seas to the coordinates that the map indicates. It's plagued by storms and rough waters, and is known as a boat graveyard. The duo’s luck changes, though, when a local who claims to be the best captain around, named Gabato (Luis Guzmán), hears they're offering $1000 for a ride out to the mapped coordinates and desperately offers his services. After seeing his so-called ship, they quickly decide to keep looking instead. Fortunately for Gabato, his daughter Kailani (Vanessa Hudgens) is much easier on the eyes than his ship is. Sean, in hopes of getting to know her better, insists they must take up Gabato on his offer. Kailani sees their desperation and uses her God-given wiles to drive up the price. But luckily since “more people go with VISA” they were able to cover their costs and begin their Journey 2: The Mysterious Island.
The travelers, who are left with no option to turn back, move forward through the island looking for Alexander, and his radio. Along the way they meet up with some of the more dangerous creatures that call the island home. Along the way they meet up with Grandpa Alexander. Caine’s character completes the group and his banter with Dwayne’s character really adds a lot of fun to the dialogue.
After learning their only chance for escape lies across the island, they must race against time across the island, avoiding any angry birds and creepy crawlers that may try to ensnare them. Will the group survive the journey and the Mysterious Island itself? Find out for yourself, gather your family together for a family night and join the adventure of Journey 2: The Mysterious Island on Blu-ray.
This movie succeeds in reaching out to its intended audience, as I think this movie will be one that the whole family will enjoy. The story is well structured and does a great job of recreating and bringing to life the stories from which it is loosely based on. I also liked how they used the writings and information from Robert Stevenson’s, Treasure Island and that Jonathan Swift’s, Gulliver’s Travels is used to backup Verne’s writings. The story is not bursting with depth and can be predictable at times, but the script is full of laughs and adventure. Like its predecessor, this was filmed in 3D but the show holds its own in 2D although there are a few scenes that are screaming to pop off the screen in 3D, including Dwayne Johnson’s “Pec Pop of Love” which for all you ladies out there, this scene alone may be worth finally caving in and letting your husbands buy that 3D TV they've been wanting.
Warner Brother’s presentation of Journey 2: The Mysterious Island hits the screen running, chalk-full of vibrant and crisp colors. The island specifically is filled with many brilliant tones that really make the picture dazzle on screen. The black levels are very solid and pure, allowing for a crisp picture even in the few moments of darkness in this movie. The special effects and CGI work are done very well, and together create a vivid world that you’ll want to explore. I only noticed one scene where the shot felt a little grainy, and it only lasted for a second during the chase scene on the island.
Having watched this film first in standard 2D it amazes me what a difference the 3D adds to the film, all of the textures seem much richer and life like so you notice the smaller details that at least for me get overlooked without the 3D. I have watched this movie two and half times in 2D over the last couple weeks so it was easier to make a comparison between the two formats. Just watching the opening chase scene I could see the 3D was going to benefit this film. The storm they face is just spectacular in 3D as the rain and the lightening completely pull you into the scene. The wreck scene is great as well and will leave you dodging the debris.
But as for overall depth you'll be amazed by the first shot that they look out over the island. The mist, smoke, and water all looked very life like with the added depth. And ladies I was right about the Rock's "Peck Pop of Love" it is much better in 3D and will leave you all wanting to feed them, so surprise your significant other with a 3D TV for father's day this Sunday.
Warner Brother’s DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track really adds to the experience of Journey 2: The Mysterious Island. Its richness and detail is impressive along the full volume spectrum. Whether in the howling eye of a storm or the whisper-soft crunch of footsteps, the audio is crisp and well defined. The audio effects are well done, they'll have you looking around to make sure you're clear of the action. The dialogue also comes through clearly throughout the whole movie and doesn't get lost in audio effects. The score does a great job of following -if not leading the emotions- throughout the movie.
3D Rating 10/10
Mysterious Island Interactive Adventure Map (21:06): Follow guide Josh Hutcherson on a journey around the island as he and other cast members show you what it takes to survive an epic journey. You have the option of viewing this as an interactive experience or you can choose to just play through everything for a more passive experience.
Gag Reel (1:16)
Deleted Scenes (5:53)
2D Blu-ray Copy
All the bonus features while entreating have very little depth, but should be enjoyable to watch with your family. I felt that all of the deleted scenes would have been better left in, with a couple that I think really should have not been deleted, primarily the one where Brendan Fraser’s character is briefly discussed, which would have made a stronger connection to the first film. And a good gag reel is always fun, but overall I felt the extras were a bit sparse. I was hoping for an audio commentary with the director and some of the cast like was available on the first Journey. And being that this movie was released in theaters with a new Looney Tunes short, I had hoped to see it on here but it still was not included on the 3D set.
Journey 2: The Mysterious Island is full of adventure and excitement that should be fun for the entire family. And while this isn't a direct telling of Verne’s story, I think this is a great way to introduce your children to a variety of classic literature, as this movie pulls a little from a variety of some of the best-known authors. Furthermore, with such a great presentation, this Blu-ray will definitely become a family favorite.
With the 3D I was most looking forward to seeing the underwater shots as they always tend to really pop in 3D and the depth looked great, very well done just like the Warner 3D releases of Deep Sea and Under the Sea. I would definitely recommend going 3D on this movie. Either way Journey 2 is very enjoyable but the 3D truly completes the experience.