If Journey 2: The Mysterious Island is to be considered an exciting journey through the depths of a new land, then my walk to school through the subdued suburbs should be considered an extravagant expedition. Because to be perfectly candid, Brad Peyton’s sophomore directorial effort is a tactless, aggravating, and superficial adventure that’s clumsily written and wholly uneventful.
Our narrative spends little time fiddling around. Within the first ten minutes are characters are immersed into the crux of the plot. Sean (Josh Hutcherson) and his Mom’s boyfriend (Hank played Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) embark on mission to find a secret island in the middle of the Pacific.
After being taken by Gabato (Luis Guzman) and his daughter Kailani (Vanessa Hudgens), the four discover the desired, magical location.
Upon arrival, the four meet Alexander (Michael Caine), the grandfather of Sean who has been searching for the mysterious location his entire life (it should be noted that “The Rock’s” character solved the enigma within 2 minutes).
However, what the five characters don’t know is that their beloved, newly discovered (though ancient) island is soon to go underwater. Now battling to escape before high tides of water do them part, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island tests the fortitude of its character with malicious creatures and devious natural disasters.
All of the build up sounds (at the very minimum) interesting. Unfortunately, it’s not.
The films first sin is in its characters. All of which are stereotypical individuals. Hank is the adventurous stepfather that flexes his pecks at every opportunity. Gabato doesn’t utter a sound unless it’s to make a lowly and obvious joke (which occurs all too often). Kailani has no real definition. Not because she’s that distinguished, but because it appears that screenwriter Brian Gunn forgot to provide her character with any emotional traits. She looks good and has an initial (though unwarranted) disdain for our protagonist, but that’s about it.
And then there’s Sean. I’m not quite positive what’s more saddening: that our central character is an annoying, sporadically intelligent, but mostly airless character or that he’s played so poorly by Josh Hutcherson (who was great in Lisa Cholodenko’s 2010 film The Kids Are All Right).
As our journey through the mysterious island transpires, our narrative continues to grate. Michael Caine as the grandfather seems to be the only ray of hope in this heap of trash.
The 3D isn’t intolerable, but isn’t necessary (then again, is it ever?). Though, all those faults come second tier in comparison to Journey 2: The Mysterious Island’s biggest foible: it simply isn’t enjoyable.
There’s a scene in Brad Peyton’s film that was an epiphany for me – in the sense that I knew exactly how I felt. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s character sits down with a ukulele. Sean injured his knee and is in need of healing, so Henry (being the loving step dad he is) decides to sing him a song, to you know relinquish him of the pain.
The Rock begins to sing Louis Armstrong’s beautiful What a Wonderful World and all I could think to myself, what a terrible film.