GENRE: Family adventure
THE PITCH: The sequel to Journey to the Center of the Earth, Sean Anderson (Josh Hutcherson) is now a teenager and he and his mom Liz (Kristin Davis) have settled in Ohio with her new beau Hank (Dwayne Johnson). Sean picks up a cryptic signal originating from the mysterious island Jules Vernes describes in many of his works. Hank helps Sean decrypt the code and they set off along with the help of their tour guides, Gabato (Luiz Guzman) and Kailani (Vanessa Hudgens) they set off on an amazing journey in 3D.
MONEY SHOT: Sean and Hank devise a way to jumpstart the Nautilus - Captain Nemo's famous submarine from 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea. Without giving too much away, its an underwater man-versus-beast scenario to get the ship started in time to save the others and flee the island. This CGI-intense scene has tense moments and amazing graphics to take you along for an impressive thrill ride.
BEST LINE: Hank leads the group into a cave after fleeing a giant lizard. As they begin to walk through, shrieks and howls greet them from within. Kailani stops and asks, "What's that?" Her father pushes her onward and replies, "It's a scary noise in a dark cave keep moving."
WORST LINE: Whenever Sean's lost grandfather Alexander (Michael Caine) would make an entrance he'd say, "Don't just stand there, applaud!"
PRODUCT PLACEMENT: After a run-in with the law, Sean arrives back home where he gets a stern talk from Hank. Reminding him he's not really his father, he grabs a Coca Cola from the fridge and walks away. To finance their hunt for the island, Hank asks Kailani, "Do you take Visa?"
KNOW YOUR VERNES: The mysterious island in the film is actually an amalgamated locale based on several islands mentioned in Verne's works but two of the islands mentioned were not created by the celebrated author. Lilliput, the island featured in Gulliver's Travels was created by Jonathan Swift, Treasure Island was created by Robert Louis Stevenson.
VERNIANS? Sean describes himself and other men in his family as Vernians believers in the adventures of author Jules Vernes. While people don't actually believe Vernes traveled to the center of the earth or to the moon in the 19th century, Vernian societies around the world promote interest in his works and stimulate research into technology mentioned in his stories. http://www.najvs.org
BOTTOM LINE: Writer's Brian and Mark Gunn crafted a funny, heartwarming family adventure that takes very little from its predecessor aside from the Anderson family obsession and its young, fatherless adventurer Sean.
Taking full advantage of the technologies at his disposal, director Brad Peyton places his cast upon a fantastic tropical paradise full of amazing creatures and fantastic landscapes. Full of baseline humor, teen angst, and family bonding moments there's an equal amount of intense chases and thrill rides on both ships and beasts to balance it out. Journey 2 is a definite improvement in the franchise and definitely worth seeing.