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  Journey to the Center of the Earth Deep Deep Down
Year: 2008
Director: Eric Brevig
Stars: Brendan Fraser, Josh Hutcherson, Anita Breim, Seth Myers, Jean Michel Paré, Jane Wheeler
Genre: Action, Science Fiction, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Trevor Anderson (Brendan Fraser) is a scientist who works at a university, but he has been suffering nightmares since the disappearance of his brother on an expedition. He had been convinced that there was a world beneath the surface of the planet and had gone to great lengths to prove it in his investigations into volcanic behaviour, and there is part of the university dedicated to him which Trevor is dismayed to hear is about to be closed down. All this has made him forget his nephew Sean (Josh Hutcherson) is heading over to stay for a while...

Well, this sounds like the beginnings of an adventure, which is what you got should you have handed over your dosh in 2008 to watch this remake and modernisation of Jules Verne's classic sci-fi tale Journey to the Centre of the Earth. But along with your ticket, you would have been handed a pair of glasses, because this was one of the first of the reborn craze for 3D movies which proved so divisive in the twenty-first century, a way of bringing audiences into cinemas and showing them something they would not ordinarily get in their home viewing experience.

Not only that but it was hoped it would tackle piracy as well, but quite soon after efforts such as this appeared there was a group of moviegoers grumbling that surely the best way to do that would be to make better movies. It's safe to say that even in comparison with the underwhelming fifties version, considered as close to definitive as it got to that stage, this incarnation was more of a theme park ride than a living, breathing narrative work and the special effects reflected that approach. That was to say, if you were not watching this in 3D, then bang went the reason for catching it.

Fraser clearly enjoyed making these big, effects-filled adventures considering how many he starred in, which meant his fanbase was mainly resting with the under tens, not that anyone was especially clamouring for his return to proper grown-up productions, but by this stage it was looking as if he was lacking any kind of range. That said, he was still a likeable and engaging performer, showing that personality here with his accustomed ease, so when Trevor journeys to Iceland with Sean in tow to see if he can prove his brother's theories we can tell what we're being offered from the outset: simple fun.

All that depended on your idea of fun, naturally, but it did include the third member of their party, Hannah (Anita Breim), who acts as their guide after her late father had been pioneering the missing scientist's theories; it's the least she can do, particularly as she insists on being paid for her troubles. Off they go into some pretty basic sets and set-ups in a noticeably undercooked and underpopulated story, merely resembling a computer game that happened to have escaped onto the big screen. There's only two dinosaurs in it, against expectations, one a sea monster and the other a T. Rex, neither of them terrifically animated and with a "will this do?" quality to them which spreads to the rest of the film. You also got some luminous birds and man-eating plants, but this Journey to the Center of the Earth was so perfunctory in its thrills that it needed the third dimension to have any kind of point at all. Music by Andrew Lockington.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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