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Journey to the Center of the Earth


Although I typically can't stand Brendan Fraser, his turn as adventurer Rick O'Connell in the Mummy movies was always fun for me. Fraser's role here feels a hair like O'Connell, but in a movie set in modern times, it feels much more like a rip-off.

University vulcanology professor Trevor Anderson (Fraser) is still dealing with his explorer brother's death a decade later when his fatherless 13-year-old nephew, Sean (Josh Hutcherson, A Bridge to Terabithia), comes to visit. After 10 years of dormancy, a beacon in Iceland reactivates, so the pair goes to investigate. And as it turns out, they may be on the exact same journey Jules Verne described in his 1864 novel.

This movie was made to be shown in IMAX theaters, and I'm sure that the Indiana Jones- and Jurassic Park-like mine-cart rides and dinosaur chases would be ideally suited for the 3-D experience. However, left to home theater, the effects are lacking and the concepts seem stolen from other films.

Journey was produced by Walden Media, the same company that brought other children's novels such as The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Charlotte's Web to the screen. As such, this movie successfully fills the square of "family film," despite its few sexist and mock-profane moments.

For anyone expecting a real adventure film, however, look elsewhere—perhaps even to Verne's original text, where the special effects would only be limited by one's own imagination.

This video courtesy of Hollywood Video, 590 Broadway Ave., 208-342-6117. Come down to meet the new Hollywood Video manager and get amnesty from half of all prior late fees through Wednesday, Nov. 26.