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'Journey 2' fun but cheesy

By Shawn O'Neill

For the Deseret News

Published: Friday, Feb. 10 2012 12:00 a.m. MST

In this image released by Warner Bros. Pictures, from left, Luis Guzman, Vanessa Hudgens, Josh Hutcherson, Dwayne Johnson and Michael Caine are shown in a scene from "Journey 2: The Mysterious Island."

Warner Bros. Pictures, Ron Phillips, Associated Press

Enlarge photo»

Fantasy is fun, and as stated by Dr. Seuss, it is needed in life.

“I like nonsense," he said. "It wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living; it's a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope.”

There are times when we all need to pick up that telescope and look through the wrong end. One way to do that would be to go see “Journey 2: the Mysterious Island.”

You may remember the 2008 film “Journey to the Center of the Earth,” starring Josh Hutcherson and Brandon Fraser. "Journey 2" is the sequel and another film using Jules Verne’s work as inspiration. Hutcherson returns as Sean Anderson, a little older but still a teenager. His mother (Kristin Davis) has remarried and Sean now has a stepfather, Hank (Dwayne Johnson), who he does not accept as part of his family.

Sean has received a message from another “Vernian,” those who believe Verne’s stories to be factual. Hank helps him decode the message and find the location of the mysterious island. Sean realizes that the message must have come from his grandfather, Alexander Anderson (Michael Caine), and wants to search for him. Hank sees this as an opportunity to finally bond with Sean, and so they leave to find the island and Alexander.

No one wishes to take them to the coordinates they have because they all say there is no island at that location. Until they find Gabato (Luis Guzman). Gabato says he will take them for $1,000 but his daughter Kailani (Vanessa Hudgens) talks the price up to $3,000. As they fly toward their destination, a storm engulfs the helicopter and they go down.

This film, like the first, does not tell the story of the book. Instead, it uses the book as a setting and background for its own story. This new story is good but not great. Children will like this film because of all the animals that are shown with different characteristics than the ones they are used to seeing.

One problem in this film was predictability. There were also portions of the film that looked a little low budget. In one instance, there was footage that was repeated during a chase scene. As you may have seen in the trailer, there is also the cheesy “Pec-Pop of Love” in this film — a trick to allow the filmmakers to prove the film is in 3-D. That is not the only 3-D gimmick, by the way. Admittedly, these are small things that some, especially kids, will be able to overlook and enjoy the film.

As for taking kids, here are some things to consider. This film does have some language but it is mild. There is violence when the actors confront different wild animals on the island. The characters also find themselves in many perilous situations, including with spiders. Then there is the cleavage question. Vanessa Hudgens is wearing a tank top through the majority of the film.

Don’t expect a Jules Verne story, and if you enjoyed the first “Journey,” you will probably like this one.

Title 'Journey 2: the Mysterious Island'

Star Rating 2 1/2 out of 4

Shawn O'Neill is the Family Man Movie Reviewer on BYU Radio. His reviews can be heard on BYURadio.org and on SiriusXM Channel 143.

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