Journey to the Center of the Earth

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Rating: PG

Starring:
Brendan Fraser as Prof. Trevor Anderson
Josh Hutcherson as Sean Anderson
Anita Briem as Hannah Ásgeirsson
Seth Meyers as Professor Alan Kitzens
Jean Michel Paré as Max Anderson
Jane Wheeler as Elizabeth Anderson
Frank Fontaine as Old Man
Giancarlo Caltabiano as Leonard
Kaniehtiio Horn as Gum-Chewing Girl
Garth Gilker as Sigurbjörn Ásgeirsson

Special Features:
Commentary by Brendan Fraser and Director Eric Brevig
A World Within Our World: Various Historical “Hollow Earth Theories” About What Lies Beneath Our Planet’s Crust
Being Josh: Profiling 12-Year-Old Costar Josh Hutcherson
How to Make Dinosaur Drool
Adventure at the Center of the Earth Challenge

Other Info:
Widescreen (1.85:1) and Fullscreen (1.33:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
Spanish Language
Running Time: 92 Minutes

Synopsis:
The following is from the official DVD description:

“Brendan Fraser stars in this action packed adventure based on the Jules Verne classic that is sure to deliver fun for the whole family! On a hunch to find the center of the Earth, Trevor Anderson (Fraser), his nephew and their tour guide make a breakthrough discovery that launches them on a thrilling journey into the unknown. On a scramble to find their way back, the group travels through a never before seen world, encountering creatures and objects never imagined.

Whether in 3-D with glasses or in 2-D, get close to the action, engage your sense of wonder and take your own journey to the center of the Earth. ”

“Journey to the Center of the Earth” is rated PG.

Mini-Review:
I was sent “Journey to the Center of the Earth” on Blu-Ray. I was hoping, because it was in HD, that it might have the 3-D version of the film for use with the polarized lenses that you see in theaters now. I was a bit disappointed to discover that it was the same old crummy red and blue ones that have been in use since the ’50s. (There were only 4 pairs, too, so the whole family couldn’t watch it all at once.) It’s an inferior way to watch a film in 3-D, but I suppose it’s better than nothing. In fact, without the 3-D effect, “Journey to the Center of the Earth” doesn’t have much going for it.

I’m a big Jules Verne fan, but this film didn’t really do his story justice. It has a Tyrannosaurus Rex in 3-D which is always cool, but it’s pretty crude compared to a lot of CG dinosaurs. It has a cool underground environment, but without the 3-D effect it just looks like a pretty matte painting. Some nasty prehistoric fishes end up being the coolest part of the film because of their amazing design and the impressive attack they take part in. But even this cool scene is marred by a moment where Sean’s cell phone rings in the center of the earth (huh?!) in the middle of an attack and he conveniently forgets to mention that he’s in danger. Why not ask for help?? I guess realism isn’t a major point of this film, but still…

The cast is pretty good and manages to work with what’s available in the script. Brendan Fraser handles the action and humor well as Prof. Trevor Anderson. Josh Hutcherson gives a character children can identify with as Sean Anderson. Anita Briem is beautiful and handles herself well in the action scenes as Hannah Ásgeirsson.

The fact is that “Journey to the Center of the Earth” was a movie made for the big screen. If you didn’t see it there in 3-D, you missed the boat. This DVD will entertain kids, but adults will find themselves getting a headache watching 92 minutes of this film in blue and red 3-D.

There are a minimum number of bonus features on this DVD. There’s a commentary with Brendan Fraser and a featurette following Hutcherson on a day of filming. There’s another featurette on how they made the dinosaur drool. But the highlight is a historical feature on the Hollow Earth legends. Some of the crackpot theories are pretty imaginative.

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