This time, instead of going on
a Jules Verne inspired adventure with his uncle, he’s searching for his missing
grandfather (Michael Caine) with the help of his mom’s boyfriend Hank (Dwayne
"The Rock" Johnson). There are lots of CGI effects and it’s in 3D so if you’re
around nine years old you’re going to think this is very cool. Teenagers and
adults should look elsewhere.
Josh gets a mysterious coded
message from his grandfather which Hank helps him figure out.
It has to do with an uncharted
island in the Pacific Ocean. Right from the start logic flies out the window,
never to return. The decoded message requires that Josh not only have three
different books, but the correct early editions of them so a map spread over the
three volumes can be reconstructed.
Soon, improbably, Josh and Hank
are on the island of Palau where Gabato (Luis Guzmán) is the only one willing to
relieve them of their money and take them to dangerous location. His nubile
daughter Kailani (Vanessa Hudgens) provides Josh with a love interest although
she spends much of the film brushing him off.
"If you’re around nine years old you’re going to think this is very
Once on the island they
discover miniature elephants, giant insects, a volcano spewing gold, and Josh’s
grandfather. They learn that the island is sinking and so they have to discover
the lost submarine of Captain Nemo – another Verne creation – so they can
escape. As with the first film, the premise is that Vernians are people who
realize that the French father of science fiction was, actually, reporting fact.
The five leads each have a
formulaic role to play and carry it off, from Guzmán’s playing the cowardly
local whose skills reappear when they are needed to Caine mugging as the lovably
Hutcheson and Hudgens are the
young characters the target audience identifies with while Dwayne Johnson shows
a willingness to be silly as well as the action star. His big gag is a scene
where he advices Sean to pop your pecs – flex his chest – to impress Kailani. It
may be the most unusual use of 3D yet.
Don’t confuse this with good
There’s so much illogic that
one stops worrying about it, treating the film as no more than a theme park
ride. One example will suffice. The island is supposed to appear and disappear
in an oceanic cycle yet we see a lost city almost intact. When the island sinks
again, the city is virtually destroyed. Why wasn’t it destroyed during all those
earlier sinkings? (Answer: because then there would be no movie.)
Journey 2 ends with a
set up for Journey 3 and if you have the slightest familiarity with Jules
Verne you’ll see it coming a mile off. This is a silly and disposable film, but
if it gets kids interested in reading the original Verne novels perhaps it won’t
be an entire waste . . .