Cast: Dwayne Johnson,Michael Caine,Josh Hutcherson,Vanessa Hudgens
Director: Brad Peyton
Indian Express rating: **
THE official language of Polynesian island Palau is English,spiders make their webs facing south,the lost city of Atlantis has a “140-year cycle” and so comes out of water every so often,girls falling off skies can be scooped up on the back of bees no wider than 2 feet,and cherries can bounce off Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s shimmying (literally) pectorals. These are the four facts you will take away from ‘Journey 2: The Mysterious Island’. The island itself is just a backdrop against which to stage monstrous creatures and some 3D effects,crazy fights and narrow escapes,a bickerish father-in-law and a budding romance.
The film doesn’t take a moment’s breath for the wonders of the island,so intent it is on piling on the dangers of it,which include everything from “liquefication” resulting in a sinking island to moving of the tectonic plates resulting in a bursting volcano. Big butterflies and tiny elephants,giant bees and ferocious birds,godzilla-esque lizards and glittery snakes just come and go,with the characters trying to either escape them or fight them. The “explanation” is restricted to “biogeography” and “Lilliputianism”.
It is entertaining in parts,particularly because of the easy charm of Johnson and the crusty crankiness of Caine. However,this is Hollywoodisation at its best in the name of honouring a classic. For all those who inhabit Verne’s world for the sheer imagination of it will cringe at how much time humans take up in it.
They include Sean (Hutcherson,reprising his role from another Vernanian take-off ‘Journey to the Centre of the Earth’) and his step-dad Hank (Johnson),Gabato (Luis Guzman) and his daughter Kailani (Hudgens),and Sean’s paternal grand-dad Alex (Caine). After Alex sends a cryptic message over the radio that only Sean catches the import of,he and Hank hire Gabato and Kailani’s chopper for a ride to coordinates that Sean is convinced will lead them to Verne’s mysterious island,where he is sure Alex is holed out.
The landing is through the eye of a hurricane and once all have crashlanded on a beach,ran into the Godzilla lizard,and met Alex,they all insist it is time to go back,”immediately”. The “immediately”,of course,is subjective,to how much bang you can extract for the buck. Journey 2 doesn’t believe in economising.