Dwayne Johnson shifts out of the action and violence in favor of a more family-oriented action adventure film that offers up plenty of laughs and plenty of fun. Journey 2: The Mysterious Island is a harmless film that will please all audiences. Kids will enjoy the visuals and easy-going thrills, while adults will appreciate the film for its sense of humor and charming cast.
Sean (Josh Hutcherson) is a slightly rebellious teenager that receives a transmission from his missing grandfather Alexander (Michael Caine). He hopes to go on a wild adventure to find his grandfather, so Sean and his mother’s new husband Hank (Dwayne Johnson) pack up and prepare for a journey of a lifetime.
They get paired with a pilot (Luis Guzmán) and his daughter (Vanessa Hudgens) and from that point the gang gets thrown in the middle of a dangerous storm, which leads them directly to The Mysterious Island. On this island things appear like never before, with big creatures looking tiny and small creatures appearing as giants. Everything is different and more dangerous.
It’s not long before the group runs into Alexander and soon after they realize the island is a ticking time bomb waiting to disappear. They must now journey home, which requires teamwork, speed and the ability to not get eaten by giant dinosaur or lizard creatures.
Journey 2: The Mysterious Island is exactly the right kind of child-friendly fun that needs to be occupying more theaters. It’s very hard to balance PG humor and make it appeal to both kids and adults. Most of the time you’ll have to sacrifice one age group for the other, but Journey 2 doesn’t have to do that because it knows just how serious to take itself.
Brad Peyton directs this family fun flick with enough danger and excitement to thrill the kids and a hefty surplus of jokes and gags to make even the adults laugh. It’s a refreshingly fun film that I absolutely adored.
Dwayne Johnson continues his hot streak, bouncing from the action-packed Fast Five to this and he has not a single problem with the transition. Johnson had a bit of a slump earlier in his career where he specifically acted only in flicks like this, but it’s great to see him stretching his acting muscles and switching it up between something like Fast Five and then moving onto Journey 2, because he has no problem playing comedic roles or action-heavy ones that require a more serious approach.
Josh Hutcherson and Vanessa Hudgens offer up the young talent and both do what’s expected. Hutcherson is kind of whiny and hard to connect with at first, but he opens up and becomes much more tolerable as the film progresses. Hudgens is essentially eye-candy and she has no problem convincing you that she can pull it off.
I’m not ashamed to admit that I actually enjoyed Journey 2: The Mysterious Island. It successfully achieves the goal of being a family fun film that works for all ages. Everyone can find something to smile about while watching Journey 2 and that’s a rare thing in a day and age where kid’s movies are dumbed down beyond belief and adult movies are so oriented on grit and reality.
It’s nice to know that some movies can still find an enjoyable balance and make for an entertaining way to kill an hour or two. Journey 2: The Mysterious Island is full of action, adventure and comedy and that should be more than enough to satisfy anyone that though the trailer looked mildly entertaining.
Journey 2 was filmed and promoted for 3D, so it shouldn’t come as any surprise when I tell you the film looks kind of flat in 2D. Colors are bright and beautiful and detail is fine, but as much as it looks great on 2D you’ll notice more than one scene that just begs to be watched in the full-3D experience. As is Journey 2 looks terrific on 2D Blu-Ray, but if you have the proper setup for 3D I’d suggest securing the 3D combo pack for your collection.
Fun is translated well on this 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track. It’s loud and over-the-top, which equates to a rewarding experience that’ll take your surround setup to full capacity. There’s rarely a soft or dull moment, making this yet another impressive Warner Bros. title.
Journey 2: The Mysterious Island comes with the following bonus content:
- Are You Strong Enough to Survive Mysterious Island? (HD): An interactive map that journeys across the island, providing you a look at various making-of features like practical effects, visual effects and location shooting.
- Deleted Scenes (HD): 6 minutes of unfinished deleted scenes that thankfully were cut.
- Gag Reel (HD): A very brief gag reel that offers up a few more chuckles.
- DVD Copy
- UltraViolet Digital Copy
Journey 2: The Mysterious Island is without a doubt one of the better family adventure films of the year. I think most will be surprised by just how much fun can be found in this film and that’s mostly because of its cast and director Brad Peyton‘s ability to use such a cast so effectively. He knows exactly how to get the right performances out of people like Dwayne Johnson and Michael Caine and Peyton also knows how to find something that brings out the inner-adventurer in all of us.
The Blu-Ray is another impressive one from Warner Bros., despite the short list of special features. Families will want to pick up a copy of this for future road trips and family adventures, while Blu-Ray junkies will want to seek out the 3D combo pack to impress the guests. If 3D isn’t your thing then the 2D combo should suffice.
This review is based on a copy of the Blu-Ray that we received for reviewing purposes.
Journey 2: The Mysterious Island is an enjoyable film that will surely please the little ones without feeling like a chore for parents. It's harmless entertainment.