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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
PG
Cast
Dwayne Johnson
Josh Hutcherson
Michael Caine
Vanessa Hudgens
Luis Guzman.
Directors
Brad Peyton.
Screenwriters
Running Time
94 minutes

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Journey 2: The Mysterious Island
Contains mild thrills but huge bees


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Plot
Teenager Sean Anderson (Hutcherson) heads off on another quest, this time to a magical island with a gold volcano and tiny elephants. And his buff stepdad (Johnson) and kooky grandad (Caine) are along for the ride.


Review
Journey 2: The Mysterious Island
At one point in awful ’70s disaster movie The Swarm, reacting to the news that buzzy insects have managed to down two military helicopters, Michael Caine turns solemnly towards a co-star and utters the immortal words, “I never dreamed it would turn out to be the bees. They’ve always been our friend.” It seemed certain that this would be the weirdest bee-based scene Caine would ever have to perform. But now along comes Journey 2, boasting an aerial chase in which the knighted actor – yes – rides a giant version of his ancient foes.

Happily, unlike The Swarm, this affable adventure is in on the joke. Directed by Brad Peyton, the man behind Cats & Dogs: The Revenge Of Kitty Galore, and so clearly Hollywood’s go-to guy for very silly sequels, Journey 2 gleefully piles on the implausibilities. So we get a comedy double-act between Caine and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson — as effectively bizarre a match-up as Arnie and DeVito — which sees them antagonistically call each other “Mary Poppins” and “Sasquatch”. A campfire sing-along recapping the movie’s plot to the tune of What A Wonderful World. And at least three moments in which Johnson reveals himself to be an expert in the exact puzzle they’re facing. Including, rather brilliantly, soil liquefaction.

It’s no-one’s definition of great cinema, but when a scene that starts with Johnson offering courting advice to his stepson degenerates into everyone bouncing berries off his chest, it’s tough not to smile. Inevitably, the on-message plot stuff is less fun. The one holdover from Journey To The Center Of The Earth — Brendan Fraser’s character barely gets a mention, but it’s implied he’s bailed on his nephew — Josh Hutcherson remains a fairly unengaging screen presence, though he’s not helped by having to constantly sulk at Johnson, one of the world’s most engaging stars. And the various character arcs (will the heroic boy and hot girl hook up? Will doofus helicopter pilot Luis Guzmán find some way to pay his daughter’s college fees?) won’t keep anyone on the edge of their seat.

So don’t expect Avatar (though there are giant lizards), rather a mild adventure that makes no sense at all but is eccentric enough to win through on charm. Not every big-budget fantasy, after all, sees the hero ball his fist and threaten to unleash the “thunder-cookie”…


Verdict
Massively throwaway, but funnier and more likable than the first entry. Mainly that’s due to an A-list pairing that’s as inspired as it is demented.


Reviewed by Nick de Semlyen

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Journey 2: The Mysterious Island
Empire Star Rating

"We are literally walking on egg shells."

Admittedly, the movie does have its moments, and there are funny bits here and there, but when the most amusing thing about a family adventure is Dwayne Johnson bouncing large berries off of his pecks, well, there's just not a whole lot more to be said. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by movienut707 at 19:57, 03 December 2013 | Report This Post


RE: Journey 2: The Mysterious Island

Slightly silly title but if your unaware this is the sequel to the 'Journey to the Centre of the Earth' remake starring Brendan Fraser. Pretty much the same thing accept swap Fraser with Dwayne Johnson playing Hutcherson's stepfather for this adventure. Lots of the expected really, you can't really fail to know what your gonna see here, big bugs, volcanoes, sea beasties, lost gold, deep thick jungles and Michael Caine playing your typical bearded oldboy intrepid adventurer...think along th... More

Posted by Phubbs at 07:54, 04 April 2012 | Report This Post


RE: PLANET.RORY's review

Spoilers. You have to accept some far fetched plot ideas (four people survive a helicopter crash and just how long can you hold your breath?) but the cast is likeable (The Rock, Michael Caine), the 3D and the special effects are decent, and more importantly it’s really good fun. Vanessa Hudgens was rocking those shorts! I couldn't keep my eyes off her. Three stars. ... More

Posted by S. C. Lee at 18:36, 24 March 2012 | Report This Post


PLANET.RORY's review

"Journey 2: The Mysterious Island" — There's little mystery to this island. This 3-D sort-of sequel wears its formula-for-dollars purpose with pride, delivering a dash of cinematic nonsense that represents Hollywood calculation at its shrewdest and most shameless. Again poking Jules Verne's remains with a sharp stick, the producers of the 2008 hit "Journey to the Center of the Earth" present their second modern take on the 19th-century fantasist's wild stories. And &quo... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by PLANET.RORY at 15:25, 29 February 2012 | Report This Post


PLANET.RORY's review

"Journey 2: The Mysterious Island" — There's little mystery to this island. This 3-D sort-of sequel wears its formula-for-dollars purpose with pride, delivering a dash of cinematic nonsense that represents Hollywood calculation at its shrewdest and most shameless. Again poking Jules Verne's remains with a sharp stick, the producers of the 2008 hit "Journey to the Center of the Earth" present their second modern take on the 19th-century fantasist's wild stories. And &quo... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by PLANET.RORY at 15:24, 29 February 2012 | Report This Post


the Rock saves another franchise

very entertaining 94mins of a movie. It had everything you'd want from a family adventure film: humour, thrills, good special effects. I think they got the plot points spot on. It's the perfect Sunday afternoon film. I'm in for the sequel! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by lelandmeeks at 08:24, 18 February 2012 | Report This Post


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