Most movies based on popular books buckle under the pressure and end up disappointing. But “Journey To The Centre Of the Earth” wears lightly the pressure of being built on the Jules Verne classic and delivers in a very understated way.
Brendan Fraser, who has cemented his reputation as the action star with “The Mummy” series, leads the cast as they set out to the journey to the centre of the earth to uncover the mystery of the disappearance of his brother.
He is accompanied by his nephew Sean (Josh Hutcherson) who soon after going to Iceland meets a tour guide named Hanna (Anita Briem). Together they find themselves lost in the magical ‘world within a world’ but must soon find a way to escape before the place heats up to melting point.
The movie’s plot line is incredibly simple. The are no unnecessary twists and turns to annoy the viewer. The pacing doesn’t lag and is punctuated timely with some nifty action sequences. The only disappointment is that once they get to this magical world they don’t spend enough time there. We don’t get to soak in the magic. As soon as they reach this place, they have to begin to escape. But while there, we are introduced to some glowing birds, menacing fish and even a predatory dinosaur. It is clear that the film makers took full liberty with the computer generated imagery.
Fraser is a fine actor and he does well here. His comic timing is impeccable. But he suffers from a poor script. The one-liners are limp and fall flat occasionally. Josh Hutcherson does a commendable job. Anita Briem complements the men well by playing a no-nonsense woman who is independent and brave.
The director Eric Brevig allows too much dialogue in the initial parts of the film but manages to transition well when it comes to the action. A lot of space is given for the viewer to construct in their own imagination as they enter this magical world.
Adults may not find enough to admire in this movie since it seems to be designed for 10-year-old boys. But for children who are familiar with the Jules Verne book, this movie should meet their expectations. For those not introduced to Verne, this movie might just whet the appetite.
For clean wholesome family fun, and a few scares, this movie is a nice experience even as it strives to not blow us away, but just thrill.
Cast: Brendan Fraser, Josh Hutcherson, Anita Briem
Director: Eric Brevig