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WARNER

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Brad Peyton
Cast:
Dwayne Johnson, Michael Caine, Josh Hutcherson, Vanessa Hudgens, Luis Guzmán, Kristin Davis
Writing Credits:
Brian Gunn (and story), Mark Gunn (and story), Richard Outten (story), Jules Verne (novel)

Tagline:
Believe the Impossible. Discover the Incredible.

Synopsis:
The follow-up to the 2008 hit! The new journey begins when young adventurer Sean (Josh Hutcherson) receives a coded distress signal from a mysterious island where no island should exist ... a place of strange life forms, mountains of gold, deadly volcanoes, and more than one astonishing secret. Unable to stop him from going, Sean's new stepfather (Dwayne Johnson) joins the quest. Together with a helicopter pilot (Luis Guzman) and his beautiful, strong-willed daughter (Vanessa Hudgens), they set out to find the island, rescue its lone inhabitant and escape before seismic shockwaves force the island under the sea and bury its treasures forever.

Box Office:
Budget
$79 million.
Opening Weekend
$27.335 million on 3470 screens.
Domestic Gross
$102.859 million.

MPAA:
Rated PG

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
Thai Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
French
Portuguese
Thai
Chinese
Korean
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
French

Runtime: 94 min.
Price: $35.99
Release Date: 6/5/2012

Bonus:
• “Are You Strong Enough to Survive Mysterious Island?” Interactive Map
• Gag Reel
• Deleted Scenes
• DVD Copy


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Journey 2: The Mysterious Island [Blu-Ray] (2012)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (May 29, 2012)

Some films make loud money – ie, they hit multiplexes and earn big bucks fast in a way that attracts a lot of attention. Some others creep up on the box office. They bring in good business but do so in a way that never quite makes them stand out as clear hits.

That’s the case for both of the modern Journey to the Center of the Earth flicks. The 2008 movie raked in a decent $101 million; with a low budget of $45 million, it turned a bit of a profit. 2012’s Journey 2: The Mysterious Island brought in a near-identical $102 million, but as a more expensive flick – budgeted at $79 million – it did less for the bean counters.

So I doubt we’ll get a third Journey, and I can’t say that prospect disappoints me. Both films deliver competent entertainment but not much more.

17-year-old Sean Anderson (Josh Hutcherson) gets into trouble when he breaks into a satellite facility. However, Sean – who experienced wild adventures during the first movie – acts up for a reason: he got a coded message that uses the works of Jules Verne to send information. With the help of his stepfather Hank (Dwayne Johnson), he figures out its meaning and learns the location of a legendary “mysterious island”.

To add to the intrigue, Sean believes that the message comes from his grandfather Alexander (Michael Caine). Sean immediately declares that he needs to head to this “mysterious island”, and Hank – who believes they’ll find nothing special – escorts him. Hank’s wrong, so adventure ensues as the guys head to the mystical spot with the assistance of helicopter pilot Gabato (Luis Guzmán) and his teen daughter Kailani (Vanessa Hudgens).

In terms of continuity with the first film, all of it comes from Sean; Hutcherson becomes the sole actor to carry over from the original. This connection feels nearly superfluous, as Island fails to do much to connect the two stories. Early on, Sean makes a reference to experience with this kind of adventure, but that’s where the link ends; this is really a standalone story, so no prior knowledge about the series seems necessary.

Compared to the first Journey, I think Island provides the slightly stronger film, probably because it worries less about its 3D. When Journey hit the screens in 2008, we were fairly early in the modern era of 3D movies. Four years later, they’re more common, but back then, they weren’t as “everyday”.

When I watched the 2008 Journey, I got the impression that the filmmakers figured out the various 3D action effects first and then built the story around them. While Island can’t be called narrative-intensive, at least it feels more story/character-based than its predecessor.

Not that it emphasizes those to a considerable degree. Indeed, Island barely bothers with introductions and character set-ups; it basically launches into the action right off the bat and lets us play a little catch-up later.

Which is fine for a movie like this, especially one so heavily aimed at kids. Both Journey flicks are “PG”-rated, so they’re clearly shooting for the pre-teen crowd. That means less emphasis on development and more on goofy fun, which tends to be the orientation here.

Island works on a definite formula. It goes from action scene to short character piece to action scene and back again. Along the way, we get tidbits about the participants but not enough to make them three-dimensional. They’re not fleshed out enough to allow us to get much feel for them, but then again, I don’t really expect much in that realm from a film of this sort. While the character segments lack depth, they’re sufficient.

And the action scenes can be pretty good. At times, Island relies too much on Matrix-style slow-motion, but for the most part, the film delivers a decent sense of adventure. It embraces the exotic/magical side of the island and can be reasonably fun.

But not more than that. Island works better than its predecessor, and it offers just enough entertainment to make it a painless 94 minutes, but it’s a moderately anonymous adventure. Still, it’s decent family fare, so I can’t complain too much.


The Blu-ray Grades: Picture A/ Audio A-/ Bonus C

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. I found a consistently terrific transfer here.

Sharpness was always excellent. All shots came across as tight and concise, without any softness to mar them. I saw no issues with moiré effects or jaggies, and edge haloes failed to appear. Source flaws were non-existent.

In terms of palette, Island veered toward a somewhat amber tint. However, the scenes on the island allowed for a variety of hues, and these came across as bold and dynamic when necessary. Blacks were dark and dense, while shadows were good. All in all, the movie looked great.

I felt impressed by the lively DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Island, as it offered enough pizzazz to merit “A”-level consideration. The soundfield created a terrific sense of place and threw out fine action when appropriate. The movie’s various action sequences boasted vivid material that showed up around the spectrum in a lively manner.

Other aspects of the track satisfied as well. Music always offered good stereo imaging, and quieter scenes were convincing, too. These showed a clear sense of place and meshed together in a pleasing way.

Audio quality always excelled. Effects were dynamic and clear, with deep bass and good punch. Music showed similar strengths, as the score was lively and full. Speech came across as natural and concise. I liked this track and thought it added a lot to the movie.

A few extras round out the package. An “interactive map” called Are You Strong Enough to Survive Mysterious Island? comes with two options: “Interactive” and “Junior Explorer”. What’s the difference? “Interactive” forces you to select individual featurettes, while “Explorer” bundles them into a 21-minute, six-second package.

Across these, we get notes from biology teacher Zovig Minassian, special effects supervisor Peter Chesney, production designer Bill Boes, North American Jules Verne Society member John Goodwin, director Brad Peyton, Jules Verne expert George Slusser, geologist Linda Tandy, supervising art director Bruce Hill, construction coordinator Gary Krakoff, producers Tripp Vinson and Beau Flynn, Catalina Adventure Tours president Jeffrey Stickler, visual effects supervisor Boyd Shermis, scuba instructor Katie Rowe, and actors Dwayne Johnson, Vanessa Hudgens, Michael Caine, and Josh Hutcherson.

In “Survive”, we learn about story influences and the world of Jules Verne, production/creature design, sets and locations, visual effects, the science behind various elements, story/character areas, and general thoughts about the shoot. These tend to be fluffy but they’re usually pretty informative. While oriented toward the younger audience, they deliver enough good facts to be worth a look for adults as well.

A Gag Reel runs one minute, 16 seconds. As expected, it provides the usual compilation of silliness and mistakes. Although it’s unspectacular, at least it’s brief.

Five Deleted Scenes fill a total of five minutes, 53 seconds. Most of these provide brief extensions, but we get a couple of longer ones. We see a clumsy exposition sequence in which Hank tries to get parenting advice from a friend, and we watch a confrontation between Hank and Alexander. None of these seem particularly interesting, though, and it was definitely a good idea to cut the advice segment; it’s “Bad Exposition 101”.

A second disc provides a DVD Copy of Island. Prior Warner Bros. Blu-rays came with neutered bonus DVDs, but that’s not the case, as the Island DVD is a standard retail copy.

Though it surpasses its predecessor, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island never becomes better than average. It throws some decent action and adventure at us but lacks the inspiration to rise to a higher level. The Blu-ray boasts excellent picture and audio as well as a few decent supplements. You can do worse in terms of family entertainment, but I can’t give Island a true recommendation.

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