Thursday, December 04, 2008

Journey to the Center of the Earth

The last time I saw this film, I thought it was a thrilling story with engaging characters. The 1959 version had Pat Boone in it, which I found to be a distracting cast choice, but otherwise was a fine, exciting film. Unfortunately, the 2008 version has simplified the story and dumbed it down for us.

This Journey does have the added help of modern special effects, and that gives you a moment or two of ah! I have to add that I was watching the movie with its special 3D glasses, from a blu-ray DVD. It takes some getting used to wearing the glasses, and I just don't think it was worth the result, which was second-rate 3D and washed out colors. I don't recommend seeing this version of the film.

Brendan Fraser (as Trevor, a scientist) is his usual goofy-but-heroic self here, a character he's honed from his Mummy days. He's likeable but not terribly good. I recognize young actor Josh Hutcherson (who plays Trevor's nephew) from Bridge to Terabithia, and he's a fine young actor who does well in this part.

The script takes awhile to get going. I must admit that I'm usually the person who's screaming for set-up time, time to get to know the characters. But in this case, it's mostly dead time, exposition, and will put any kids watching this to sleep. (We wish we could join them.) It's just plain boring. As a consequence, the time we spend in the middle of the earth is much more exciting but shortened by the set-up time.

The second half of the film, therefore, is much better than the first half, as things really get rolling. But on a whole, it's still pretty much a dud.

Thumb's down.

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