Journey To The Centre Of The Earth (PG)



Action (2008)
92mins US

Starring: Brendan Fraser, Josh Hutcherson, Anita Briem
Director: Eric Brevig
Writer(s): Michael Weiss, Jennifer Flackett, Marc Levin
Listings: London | Rest of UK and Ireland

Scientist Trevor Anderson is regarded as an eccentric by his contemporaries, forced to work on the fringes of the academic community because of his unconventional approach to research. During an expedition to Iceland with his teenage nephew Sean and local guide Hannah, Trevor makes the discovery of a lifetime that could change the course of history. But first, these three plucky souls must venture deep beneath the surface of the Earth, exploring fantastical worlds beyond their wildest imagination, battling ferocious creatures which regard the human interlopers as a walking buffet. The film also screens in a digital 3D version at selected cinemas.

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LondonNet Film Review
Journey To The Centre Of The Earth

The fantastical storyline which underpins the remake of Journey To The Centre Of The Earth may continually hark back to Jules Verne's mid-19th century novel, but Eric Brevig's film is unquestionably a 21st century beast...

Journey To The Center Of The Earth. Photo by: Sebastien Raymond. Released by: Entertainment Films. Marrying state-of-the-art special effects with old-fashioned family morals, this rollicking romp is the first live-action picture of its kind to be shot in digital 3D. Sadly, only selected cinemas around the UK are able to screen Brevig's adventure in its full eye-popping glory, including a school of flying piranhas that instinctively causes the audience to duck for cover. Most cinemagoers will have to make do with the traditional 2D version and while there's plentiful thrills and spills in Michael Weiss, Jennifer Flackett and Mark Levin's script, the gimmick is those unflattering, plastic spectacles and what appears to leap out of the screen.

Journey To The Center Of The Earth. Photo by: Sebastien Raymond. Released by: Entertainment Films.American college professor Trevor Anderson (Brendan Fraser) is regarded as an eccentric by the scientific community for his unconventional theories on geology. Working alone for more than 10 years since the disappearance of his brother Max (Jean Michel Pare) on a field trip to Iceland, Trevor is resigned to being shut down by university rival, Professor Kitzens (Seth Meyers). During a surprise visit from his truculent nephew Sean (Josh Hutcherson), Trevor discovers Max's handwritten notes inside a copy of Verne's novel and he reluctantly agrees to take the teenager to the frozen north. With local guide Hannah Asgeirsson (Anita Briem) leading the way, the scientist and his nephew stumble upon a cave system that leads deep beneath the surface of the Earth, to a world beyond their wildest imagination. "These things have been extinct for over 150 million years!" gasps Trevor as a flock of luminescent birds takes flight overhead. With the temperature rising steadily, Trevor, Sean and Hannah follow Max's notes to escape the subterranean furnace, battling ferocious flora and fauna, which regard the human interlopers as lunch.

Journey To The Center Of The Earth. Photo by: Sebastien Raymond. Released by: Entertainment Films.Journey To The Centre Of The Earth takes a good 30 minutes to move into second gear, introducing the characters and particularly the surrogate father-son relationship between Trevor and Sean. Once the trio makes the descent to the "world within a world" via runaway mine cars (a sequence that resembles a theme park ride), the narrative reverts to a series of polished set pieces, punctuated by an outpouring of grief from Hutcherson's tyke that leaves a lump in the throat. Fraser plies the same brand of joviality and machismo, which served him so well in The Mummy films, while Briem fans the flames of the obligatory romantic subplot. Characters never appear in grave danger, not even when they encounter an ill-tempered relative of Tyrannosaurus Rex. "Haven't you seen a dinosaur before?" shouts Sean. "Not with skin on it," blusters Trevor as the hulking carnivore gives chase. A feel-good coda leaves the door ajar for a sequel and an expedition to the lost city of Atlantis.

- Sam Cannon


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