patrons of a less impressionable age who saw Indiana Jones and the
Temple of Doom back in 1984 when it first came out will no doubt
remember the first time they saw that mining cart perfectly jump a
clearing and rolling their eyes and going, yeah, right.
Since then movies have gotten more even stylized (read:
ridiculous) to the point where Hollywood has abandoned all pretences at
obeying the laws of physical reality. Today all action movies have become
live-action Looney Tunes cartoons.
In one scene in Journey to the
Center of the Earth, a movie filmed in 3-D and starring Brendan
our heroes use an oversized dinosaur skull as a boat and is shot straight
up into the air on top of a gushing geyser, right back to the surface
world! Wile E. Coyote would have been proud! The mining cart trick
incidentally is repeated in Journey. Except this time (in a case of one-upmanship) there are three
carts instead of just one making that impossible leap . . .
Sure, pretty much everything in Journey to the Centre
of the Earth is ridiculous, right from the premise that the Earth is
indeed hollow on the inside (a sci-fi staple as old as the genre itself)
and inhabited by ancient creatures such as albino dinosaurs and oversized
The story goes that a modern-day geologist (Fraser) and his
young nephew (Josh Hutcherson) and their Icelandic mountain guide (Anita
Briem) accidentally stumble across the entrance to the center of the earth
and discover in the process that 19th century writer Jules Verne was
actually telling the truth in his book Journey to the Center of the Earth.
One is not supposed to take any of it seriously, but
ultimately the movie is a bit like watching someone else play a computer
game (the sets and CGI look astoundingly artificial at times).
There is no
real emotional involvement of any sort and Journey to the Center of the
Earth is ultimately as hollow as it claims the earth itself is. This
Journey isn't bad, just kinda average and undemanding . . .
THE DISC: This is the first BLU-RAY title to be
reviewed on this site even though we have watched several titles in this
format up till now. Will BLU-RAY replace DVD? I don't know. While it may
not be the next Betamax (having beaten out its HD DVD rival), it just well
be the next Laserdisc: a niche format that consumers weary of having to
constantly upgrade ultimately reject.
Right now it feels a lot like the early days of DVD to
be honest. Titles are on the sparse and expensive side and players are
temperamental and pricey. While watching
Journey to the Center of the
Earth my player (a Sony Blu-ray BDP-S300) locked up once and the only
way to remedy the situation was to physically unplug the machine ?
something which it does occasionally. (It wasn't the disc's fault.)
haven't moved to BLU-RAY yet my advice would be to stick it out and wait
for the format to gain a wider market acceptance and for prices to drop.
Also, except for the 1080p High definition transfer
(which is admittedly stunning) the blu-ray edition of this movie (like
many other titles on the new format) doesn't seem to offer any bonus
features not found on the DVD version. Both contain 2-D and 3-D versions
of the movie and with four pairs of 3-D glasses included. Seeing as the
movie is especially made for 3-D it'd be silly to watch it in 2-D but too
be honest I found the 3-D glasses (I already wear glasses) to be fidgety
Also the 3-D didn't seem to work: the screen just looked
kind of blue and stripy and we got a headache in no time and switched to
the 2-D version instead. Maybe you'll have better luck though.
WORTH IT? By now you would have decided whether
or not to join the BLU-RAY ?revolution? or not. This movie isn't any
reason to upgrade your home entertainment but is exactly the sort of noisy
special effects movie you can use to show off your, erm, equipment to
friends and visitors.
RECOMMENDATION: Worth a rental if you're looking
for some undemanding viewing. This is really a ?family? movie which kids
will love though. If you have any ten year olds then you might consider a
purchase because they'd probably want to rewatch it endlessly.
NOTE: Be sure to check out the World Within Our
World special feature which takes a look at the history of the origins of
the whole hollow earth thing.