The good thing about this film, is that the action begins straight away.
Thankfully, the exposition at the start is minimal, yet still important, and before you know it, we are off on the journey to the Mysterious Island.
Infact there are a lot of things worth seeing about this film.
Although containing the star power of Dwayne Johnson, Michael Caine, Vanessa Hudgens and Josh Hutcherson , it is Luis Guzman who steals the scene as the money-hungry pilot, who has all the great one-liners and sight gags of the film.
Sean Anderson (Josh Hutcherson) is on the search for his grandfather, believed to be missing on a mythical island. His step-father, Hank Parsons (Dwayne Johnson) sees this as an opportunity to try and connect more with his step-son, who is rebellious and resistant to Hank’s parental style.
Hutcherson holds his own in several scenes where Dwayne Johnson’s character borders on daffiness. We know he is a strong actor, as attested to in ‘The Kids Are All Right’ and he shows he can play the straight man to several comedic characters quite well.
Vanessa Hudgens’s character occassionally seemed to be forgotten in the screenplay, yet a ‘love-interest’ component , plus a nice Indiana Jones homage shows that she can deliver clever convincing performances in an action film.Michael Caine somehow manages, amongst the zaniness of the film, to bring a sense of melancholy to his role as the wise exploring Grandfather, and portrays a genuine warmth with the role.
Journey 2 is a perfect mix of humour and action – and fills its 90 minute running time with clever sight gags and quite exceptional special effects. Invasions with large island creatures seem convincing enough, panaromic shots and historical artefacts believable.
It is only when we encounter a scene involving bees that it diverts into silliness and feels like a veiled attempt at a homage to a Star Wars fight scene.
The potential confrontation with giant spiders is also, disappointly, unfulfilled.
But Journey 2 delivers a flashy and eye opening adventure product, with each cast member stepping forward to steal particular scenes. Occassionally even, there are some scary moment, and younger audience goers may feel at times a little frightened of both image and sound.
It is worth noting the screening I was at, was the ‘World Premiere’ held in Melbourne , Australia on January 15 2012.
The screening, scheduled for 4pm, began 1 hour and 15 minutes late, due to both Vanessa Hudgens and Josh Hutcherson signing autographs on the red carpet.
For those in the cinema, it was a disappointing experience, but that must be balanced out knowing that a significant number of people (several hundred) were given ample opportunity to meet and greet the stars of the film on the red carpet.
Both Hudgens and Hutcherson sat through the entire film, which is a credit to them. Often, special guests don’t watch their own screenings and leave after a few words to the crowd.
They stayed and genuinely seemed to enjoy the surroundings and 3D aspect of their film.
My interview with Vanessa Hudgens and Josh Hutcherson is located here:
Director: Brad Peyton
Score: 2.5 stars