Journey 2: The Mysterious Island
Mary Dieng

Directed By: Brad Peyton

Starring: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Michael Caine, Josh Hutcherson, Vanessa Hudgens, and Kristin Davis

I encountered the best part of Journey 2: The Mysterious Island days before its release.  In the Twitterverse, actor Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol) commented on the Journey 2 movie poster, saying “Every morning on the way to work I see a big poster of The Rock riding a bee with terminal intensity and it brings me great joy.”  Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson then responded that “Terminal Intensity” was his porn name in college.  Ha!  If only that wit and humor could have extended to the film.   Alas, that is where the fun ended.

Journey is the story of Sean Anderson (Josh Hutcherson), a smart, but rebellious teen who is following in his family’s tradition of adventure seeking.   Sean’s grandfather, Alexander (Michael Caine), sends him a coded message via satellite, and Sean is anxious to head to Palau to try to find his grandfather and a mysterious lost island.  His stepfather Hank (The Rock) insists on going with Sean on his trip. Although Sean does not like Hank, he agrees to allow him to accompany him on the trip.  Hank and Sean head off to Palau and chart a helicopter with local guide Gabato (Luis Guzman) and his daughter Kailani (Vanessa Hudgens).  This ragtag team finds the island and Alexander.  From there, adventure ensues.

Journey simply does not make the cut.  As an initial matter, I was a little disappointed with the special effects.  There were definitely some cool 3D moments and great imagery.  But for many scenes, the action and the setting just looked “fake.”  Many times, it was clear the actors were just walking in front of a blue screen in a film studio somewhere.  I can suspend my disbelief as much as the next moviegoer, but at times I felt like I was watching an episode of the 70’s television show Land of the Lost.  With the strides made in special effects since the 70’s, that is just unacceptable.  In addition, the overall plot was fairly predictable and even for a kids/family movie, the dialogue was a bit cheesy.  For instance, in a scene where Hank is taking on a gigantic electric eel, he says, “[s]how me that thousand watt smile.”  (Insert my blank stare here).  I wonder if that was the exact moment where the Rock’s terminal intensity died and he felt like the biggest jabroni who ever rode a bee?

With all of that being said, Journey is not a complete failure.  The concept of an island where normally large animals are tiny and traditionally small animals are large was fun to watch (think tiny elephant and gigantic bees).  In addition, I personally can watch The Rock run around all day long—he has movie star swagger.  However, I wish I had a tropical martini to help me get through this movie and its Land of the Lost adventure.