Monday, September 21, 2009

Incredible Journey

Journey to the Center of the Earth is a much beloved tale in many incarnations: Jules Verne's original novel, many movies, a 1960s animated tv series, comicbooks, and so on. This latest version stars Brendan Fraser, a kid and a girl.

Fraser is an inept geologist, carrying on the work of his brilliant brother, lost on a field expedition. His brother's widow drops his nephew off to stay with him for a while, and a sullen little youngster he is. But a signal from an Icelandic seismic sensor sends Fraser and kid on a quest. They find the daughter of brilliant brother's mentor, and hire her as a mountain guide. In short order, they are trapped underground and headed deeper.

Their journey is fraught with perils, many of which seem calculated to become thrill rides at an theme park. At least two were "inspired" by Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom: a wild ride on a mine railway and a long slide down a mountain (but not on a liferaft). Some of the underground scenes are very beautiful, but I never got a sense of wonder. Maybe we should have seen this on the big screen in 3D.

Still, it was fun, in a forgettable way. We like Brendan Fraser, for some reason - we even liked George of the Jungle. So, no complaints except that it could have been a lot better.

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