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This action adventure aims for the 9 to 12 age group and nails it on the head.  Fueled with wondrous scenes of a quest filled journey and combined with a LOT of 3D special effects, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island should do okay at the box-office. Having Josh Hutcherson and Vanessa Hudgens doesn’t hurt either, as they are both very popular with the Tweens and Teens.

Sean Anderson (Josh Hutcherson) has not yet recovered from his last trip to the center of the Earth and the many disasters that confronted him. One day he gets an encrypted message from this grandfather Alexander (Michael Caine), a famous explorer who went missing some time ago.  Never loosing faith that his grandfather is alive, the note has peaked his interest in finding him.  With the help of his new father Hank (Dwayne Johnson) and armed with a map with special coordinates they fly to the South Pacific.  There they meet up with a guide Gabato (Luis Guzmán) and his pretty yet uncompromising daughter Kailani (Vanessa Hudgens) who agree to take them to the mysterious island.

Josh Hutcherson, Luis Guzman, Vanessa Hudgens, Michael Caine and Dwayne Johnson

The film has a lot of fun scenes, some very comical, others goofy and the best ones exciting.  I did like the suspense when the group has to get Captain Nemo’s Nautilus going with danger from underwater creatures all around them.  Here is where the 3D works best with diving electric eels and electricity striking the Nautilus during a struggle with Sean.  I must admit, this film does provide a lot of special effects that come at the audience regularly thought out the film.

Reprising his role as Sean Anderson of Journey to the Center of the Earth, Josh Hucherson gives a good performance for his Tweens followers.  Surly a Tweens and Teens heartthrob, Josh has a lot of screen presence here even with the likes of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Michael Caine cluttering it up a bit.  As the lead and center of attraction he gets positioned to attract the audience for which the movie was made.

Vanessa Hudgens as Kailani in JOURNEY 2: THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND

In support, the budding Hudgens puts on a good show as the feisty, strong willed Kailani who lives in a remote village on a remote island in the South Pacific.  Being under the thumb of her wacky father Gabato, madcap laughable by Guzman, she finds herself in some very testy situations including being chased by a monstrous lizard.

Journey 2 by no means has a meaningful plot and the story is very predictable, trite and sometimes foolish.  But, that’s what kids like these days.  Give them something silly to laugh at and you’ll have a winner. I really can’t recommend the film for adults, as it may be a waste of money, surely not for anyone over 14.

The film has been rated PG by the MPAA for some adventure action, and brief mild language, but should be suitable for anyone as long as they like a lot of 3D special effects and a scary animal or two.  This film plays well to children 9 to 12, but their parents that accompany them may like being amused by things popping out at them. The film is also available in the IMAX format where available.


FINAL ANALYSIS: A kid flick with some very good 3D. (C )



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