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The Cinematic Katzenjammer: June 29: Journey 2: The Mysterious Island


June 29: Journey 2: The Mysterious Island

"Sean Anderson partners with his mom's husband on a mission to find his grandfather, who is thought to be missing on a mythical island."
Directed by: Brad Peyton, Rated: PG, 94 minutes

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island is a confusing movie, in that I really have no idea what audience it's made for. One moment will be filled with terribly childish jokes (even of the poop variety) and the next will have giant lizards chasing the group through a jungle. Some parts are for kids, some parts for adults, and some parts for everything in between but never truly finds its audience. Not to mention, everything happens way too fast to even realize what's going on, and I think the movie just tries to stuff in as much as it can in as little of time possible. Quite frankly, Journey 2 would have been much better as one of those interactive rides at an amusement park, where the seats shake and air puffs in your face, than an actual full length motion picture. 

Journey 2 follows Sean Anderson (Josh Hutcherson), the boy from the first film, who after getting quite the taste for adventure, decides to track down his long lost grandfather (Michael Caine), who he believes to be stranded on a mysterious island. After finding the coordinates in a cryptic message/plot device, Sean and his stepfather, Hank (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson), take a plane to Palau, a small nation in the Pacific, and the gateway to the mysterious island. They hire Gabato (the hilariously weird Luis Guzman) and his daughter, Kailani (the very plain Vanessa Hudgens) as guides to the island. Of course, on their way, they crash land on the island and for the rest of the film, they adventure through its jungles, searching for a way home. And what's the best way to go on a journey? With hit and miss special effects, piss poor dialogue, and more slow motion than a highlight reel. 

It also has giant bumble bees you ride like... flying horses? Pegasuses? Pegasi?

As I just admitted, the special effects are all over the place. However, for the most part, they are pretty good. Sure, most of the movie is green screen, but it does utilize a handful of "live" effects that are pretty impressive. Obviously the movie is aimed to be a visual feast, and the fact it's in 3D has plenty of shit flying out at you (I'd only assume, I watched in 2D), but I believe a some of that money spent on the "pretty parts" should have been spent on the script. It's the crappy dialogue that brings down a handful of pretty good actors (Michael Caine of course, looking for an easy paycheck). The script is the victim of the film and if the movie could just be a bunch of action sequences strung together without a plot, I'm sure it would. It is worth mentioning, however, that The Rock does sing a rather interesting rendition of "What a Wonderful World" with a ukulele. 

Nothing like a nice campfire, some s'mores, and The Rock singing a cover of a Louis Armstrong classic. 

I would not immediately recommend skipping Journey 2. It's bad, but still watchable. It looks nice and it would be quite the adventure if you were the one partaking it (thus the ride reference). But it's just still too childish and messy to care about it too much. The Rock, as always, is engaging and fun to watch, but dammit the man has to get his career back on track. Kid's movies have nice paychecks, sure, but I don't want to see another movie with him running around with a bunch of teenagers. Michael Caine's presence is baffling, because he really adds very little to the film, in a role that any older actor could have played. But I guess in the end, any of the actors could have been swapped out for others, and you'd still have pretty much the same movie- a big, overambitious attempt at being some epic adventure that's waterlogged by a terrible script. 

The Good:
the special effects that, minus a handful of moments, carry the film past the line of unwatchable and into the "meh" realm 
The Bad:
a story that rushes every aspect, telling a tale of adventure, squeezing in a love story, and forcing in a step-daddy issues subplot
The Ugly:
that same rushed story told with terrible dialogue that thinks it is much smarter than it really is, and weighing down, otherwise good actors

Overall: 5.1/10


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