Review: Journey 2: The Mysterious Island

The cast of  Journey 2  struggle against giant lizards, volcanoes, and a bad script.
The cast of Journey 2 struggle against giant lizards, volcanoes, and a bad script.

(PG) **

Director: Brad Peyton.

Cast: Josh Hutcherson, Dwayne Johnson, Vanessa Hudgens, Luis Guzman, Michael Caine.

IF you've ever wanted to see The Former Wrestler Formerly Known As The Rock and two-time Oscar-winner Michael Caine share the screen, here's your chance.

The only other reason to recommend this slim excuse for a sequel to 2008's Journey To The Centre Of The Earth is as a slick-but-slight family time-waster.

Sean Anderson (Hutcherson, the only returning cast member), having discovered Jules Verne's legendary subterranean world with his uncle in the first film, has grown up to be an annoying brat who considers his upper-middle class home to be "a prison".

All he wants to do his find his grandfather, who he believes is on Verne's Mysterious Island, located in the South Pacific near Palau.

Accompanied by his thankless stepdad (Johnson), as well as a tour guide father-daughter team (Guzman and Hudgens), he sets out on a journey filled with giant lizards, tornadoes, volcanoes and miniature elephants, eventually learning not to be spoilt jerk along the way.

Not so much an adaptation of Verne's novel, Journey 2 instead takes the book as fact and loosely incorporates elements of 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, Jonathon Swift's Gulliver's Travels and Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island.

It's all wrapped up in an effects-heavy 3D package that's short on script and big on chase-and-race sequences that are exciting for a little while but soon drag on. As the heroes bumble from one adventure to the next, there is little in between except a token attempt to look at the relationship between Sean and his step-dad. There are even a couple of scenes that feel like padding - one involves an unfunny joke about Johnson's pecs and the other features Johnson playing ukelele, and both serve as nap time for the bored.

All the characters are mildly annoying, even Caine as the explorer granddad, who is meant to be eccentric and freespirited but kinda comes off as an old jackass. It's difficult to side with anyone or care much - one character dislocates his ankle and you'll merely shrug and say 'meh'.

On the plus side, the effects are better than in the first Journey, as is the 3D, and Johnson and Caine are always watchable even when they've got bad scripts to work with. Plus Verne's source material is nicely used in places, but overall it feels like one to watch on DVD.