Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (Blu-ray)

May 29, 2012 7 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

Evidently there was a movie in 2008 called Journey to the Center of the Earth, based on the novel by Jules Verne.  And as I found out last week, there was a sequel to this movie called  Journey 2: The Mysterious Island.  Being a fan of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, I decided I’d give it a try.  Sometimes it’s these little things that stand out, but seeing Michael Caine in the cast as well as Josh Hutcherson (the sole remaining cast member from the first film) and Vanessa Hudgens – it’s not as bad as the cover makes it out to be.  Yes, I’m sure that 2012 will be a year in which we remember Hutcherson in The Hunger Games as opposed to this film and I’m sure that if there is a third part it’ll either cost Warner Brothers a lot more to cast him, though the feeling is that he won’t be a part of it at all.  Still, we’re getting ahead of ourselves here.  I’m still in disbelief that a two time Academy Award winner in Michael Caine is partnering with a former football star – turned professional wrestler – turned actor, but hey…stranger things have happened.

After Sean Anderson (Josh Hutcherson) receives a coded message, he’s not sure what to think.  He traces the message to an island where one shouldn’t exist and is hell-bent on finding the source of it.  His stepfather, Henry (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson), and he don’t have the best relationship so we take it with a grain of salt when two tickets are purchased to Palau.  If that name sounds familiar, it was the location for the tenth season of Survivor, by the way.  Once there, they seek out a ride to the coordinates and of course no one in Palau will take them where they want to go…except Gabato (Luis Guzman in full comic relief mode) whose helicopter may or may not make the trip.  And as fate would have it, he’s got a 17 year-old daughter that looks like Vanessa Hudgens.  How nice!  Of course they do find the island and Sean’s grandfather (Michael Caine), but now that they’re there how in the world do they get back?

Ok, on paper, the movie really wouldn’t seem to work but there’s just something about the entire scenario that really seems to click (or at least it did with me).  The film doesn’t take itself too seriously and from opening to closing credits is in full tongue-in-cheek mode.  I think that’s what makes it work.  Essentially every cliche is explored and although we know what’ll happen pretty much before the opening credits roll.  As I’ve mentioned earlier, the real treat of the movie is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously.  Yes, they ride bees and yes they’re in a place where elephants are the size of a dog, but it’s all in good fun.  The movie was obviously made for 3D and with me watching the 2D version (I’ll comment more on this in the Video section), I actually made somewhat of a game by yelling out “3D” when there was a blatant scene that showcased the technology.  I’m weird like that.

Video: How does it look?

As I just mentioned, the movie was shot with 3D in mind. The 1.78: AVC HD image looks pretty much flawless throughout. The “mysterious island” is loaded with plants and animals that cover every color imaginable and looks pretty impressive. Detail is top notch as well and this is mandatory when you see Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s peck dance (or whatever he calls it). The entire film is so effects-laden that it’s hard to tell where the effects end and the real things begin. However for those clamoring for a look at Vanessa Hudgens in a skin tight tank top, you’ll appreciate how top notch this transfer really is. It’s what we’d expect from a day and date title and it delivers, for sure.

Audio: How does it sound?

As impressive as the video is, the DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack is right up there as well. Vocals are clear and strong with Johnson’s booming voice coming across loud and clear. Surrounds are used often and to great effect. The LFE are also heavily used in the latter half of the movie (as they venture under water). The entire film seemed to have a “presence” about it that really made for a nice soundtrack. Then again it’s an action movie so we knew what we were getting into in the first place. Warner’s done a fine job with this lossless mix though and it shows.

Supplements: What are the extras?

After checking this movie out on IMDB, it appears that it made over $100 million at the box office. I wouldn’t have thought that, but you’d also think that Warner would have given us some more robust supplements. There’s an interactive map of sorts that gives us some behind the scenes looks at the various sets, how they were created and some details about the shooting locations. There’s also a gag reel and some deleted scenes. A standard DVD is also included as is the UV copy.

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