Friday, July 11, 2008
JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH -3D
This is one of those movies that I would normally have passed on, but I wanted to see if there is anything new in the 3D front of movie technology. I should have passed. Not to waste time on trying to point out the good points of this movie (I'm sure there must be some), I’ll get right to the point and give the best word I can think of to describe this film …. BORING!
When I say boring, I mean it was 92 minutes of me sitting in the theater evaluating CGI and 3D. The story line and plot are really so stupid ... and the acting ... well, it’s Brendon Fraser folks, you don’t get Richard III here ya know.
So we start out with our leading character (I refuse to call him a hero), looking like he’s playing the grown up ENCINO MAN character (if he can play anything else, I’d be surprised), losing his job (yawn) because his work at the university isn’t being fruitful. Mr. stereo typed absent minded professor Fraser now inherits his nephew, Sean, played adequately by Josh Hutcherson, for a 10 day stint while Sean’s mother goes who knows (cares) where. Sean’s father was our leading character’s brother who, oh my gosh!! … disappeared a few years back doing his scientific exploration which just so happens to be the same line of work our leading character is in!! Holy Script Writers, Batman! Who could of thought up such a plot line!!!
This is too painful to go into any great detail. Let’s just say events lead the duo to fly to Iceland (yeah, right and they make a point of telling us that Sean just happens to have his passport with him) and there they pick up the female interest and the trio find this hole in the earth and in a VERY short time, and a lot of 3D special effects, most of which aren’t even original, and end up deep inside the earth. The say they are at the center of the earth, but no way they could have made it that fast even if they were flying F-22s! Not to mention that they even say they only have a couple of energy bars for food.
They putz around down there, finding stuff including the remains of the missing brother/father (now what are the chances of that!), which I find strange since in the beginning of the film we see him falling into a pit of magma. Well, that’s show biz. Eventually they get out by implausible means and are now rich and famous. This story follows the 1959 version of the story, which starred James Mason and Pat Boone and and very loosely followed the Jules Verne original story. At least the 1959 version had a good plot, good characters, and the special effects were new to the viewers. This one had stolen material from everywhere including a mining car ride from Indiana Jones, and a T-Rex chase scene (T-Rex, why is it always a T-Rex?) from tons of other films. Why can't they use a triceratops or something? Of course there is the minor "love interest" between Fraser and the female character (Anita Briem) which makes zero sense especially since I could care less about either of these characters. The end.
That WAS painful. After looking at the credits I understand a lot of what is going on because Brendan Fraser is also the executive producer.
Now I can spend a few minutes on the 3D aspect of the film. Living in Orlando, I have had the opportunity to see the 3D shows that they have at the Disney and Universal theme parks to compare to this movie. My vote … there is nothing new here in this movie. There are some cute things they do that will give you a laugh, and a few startles, but nothing worth the extra $2 you have to pay for the 3D glasses you have to get to watch the film. I had some problems in the beginning that I attributed to my mega brain trying to adjust to the new environment. But, after a while, I noticed that one’s brain couldn’t keep up with the 3D effects when the subjects move quickly; it all tended to blur. This became annoying and distracting for me. I will say that the 3D stuff was fun … the only redeeming part of this movie, but still, nothing really new here. The other bad thing was I had trouble hearing the dialog because the sound effects and music were so loud that it overpowered the speech.
I remember when I saw HOUSE OF WAX (Vincent Price, 1953), the first 3D movie made by a major studio (Warner Bros.). That film had some great stuff in it. I remember, as will anyone else who ever saw the film in 3D, the man with the paddle ball hitting the ball so it came right out at the viewer; and there was the scene in the morgue when a corpse sits up in the foreground of a dark scene and scares the daylights out of everyone. Now those were new effects and this film reuses the same stuff, in some cases, to good affect. To me, in order to make 3D really work, you need some new material. It’s all been done before in dozens of other 3D films.
After all that, I’ll say if you can’t see this move in 3D, DON’T GO! It’s the kind of movie you would go to when you are trying to hide from someone and won’t care if you don’t really pay attention to the story. If you can see it in 3D take into account that it will cost you an extra $2 to see it and don’t expect anything but a cutesy little movie showing off some 3D. I warned you. On my ever so humble rating scale, I can’t give it more than a 4 out of 10. Why does it always have to be a T-Rex?