Movie Review: "Journey to the Center of the Earth" falls flat without 3-D

Thursday, July 17, 2008

"Journey to the Center of The Earth 3-D" is the full title of the film that I saw this weekend. Being a resident of Cape Girardeau, a city apparently so far from the cultural center of the world that it is impossible to see a movie in 3-D, I had to see the 2-D version. The theater display actually had the number 3 and the letter D covered by a cut out piece of black plastic, hiding the fact that the movie was supposed to be shown in 3-D, but I knew better.

"Journey" walks a fine line between being a good movie and being absolutely absurd. It also walks a fine line between being a real action movie and a theme-park ride.

In this adaptation, our hero, played by Brendan "The Mummy Returns: Yet Again" Fraser, has a brother who has gone missing trying to prove that the works of Jules Verne, especially "Journey to the Centre of the Earth," are the truth, and not just a bunch of fiction, like the rest of the world believes. He has sent his brother his copy of the book, including all of his special notes and theories on where the portal to the center of the earth is located (hint, its in Iceland, just like in the book!).

So our hero and his nephew set off on an expedition to find their long lost relative. The fact that they referenced the source material in the actual plot of the film is, I think, what killed this movie for me. It's not "Journey to the Centre of the Earth," as Jules Verne envisioned. It's something entirely different, and yet oddly similar. "Journey to the Center of the Earth 3-D" is a regurgitated mess of a film that starts out bad and gets worse from there.

If you must see this film, I would say see it in a theater that is equipped with a 3-D projection system. There are so many effects to remind you that you should be watching it in 3-D, that it kind of takes away from the story, making it seem like you are on some crappy theme park ride. I guess if you saw it in 3-D, it would still feel like you were on a crappy theme park ride, but at least it would be in 3-D.

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