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Capone found nothing mysterious or good about JOURNEY 2: THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND!!!

Published at: Feb. 10, 2012, 1:02 a.m. CST by Capone

Hey everyone. Capone in Chicago here.

Alright, let me make sure I've got this right, because god knows I wouldn't want to mislead you. Since the Jules Verne novel "Journey to the Center of the Earth" (which was made into a bad movie a couple years ago starring Brendan Fraiser and Josh Hutcherson as nephew and uncle) didn't have a sequel, the makers of the movie sequel, JOURNEY 2: THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND, have pilfered Verne's "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" follow-up, "The Mysterious Island," as kinda-sorta source material for this new movie, starring Hutcherson and Dwayne Johnson as the boy's stepfather. To make sure the sequel was a quality product, the studio hired Brad Peyton, whose only other feature film credit is CATS & DOGS: THE REVENGE OF KITTY GALORE. So, we're up to date, yes?

This movie is appealing enough as a visual spectacle, I'll give you that. But everybody in it is so damn dumb that it just made me mad. And the biggest dummy is Michael Caine for taking the role as Josh's grandfather in the first place. In JOURNEY 2, Hutcherson's Sean gets a message from his long-missing grandfather that has clues guiding him to a secret island in the Pacific. Sean and his stepdad don't get along, but Sean's mom (Kristen Davis) believes sending the boys on this trip will help them bond, or ensure that they die. On their trip, the rest a seaplane from Luis Guzman's Gabato and his daughter Kailani (Vanessa Hudgens), and that's pretty much your setup.

Mistake Number 1 is casting Johnson in the film as Hank. There are moments when this effects-heavy adventure film actually breaks for comedy. There should be a starter pistol that shoots out one of those little flags that unfurls to read "HUMOR," because the breaks are that jarring. And shockingly enough, Johnson ain't that funny. Watching a muscle-bound tough guy ride on the back of a giant bee isn't as funny as it sounds, and watching Hank give his stepson advice on wooing Kailani is both ill-timed (they are literally watching the island sink around them) and king of gross, since Hank is basically telling Sean how to get in the girl's pants. Real classy, folks. Kitty Galore, indeed. Did I mention there's a song break too, as Johnson sings "What A Wonderful World"? It made me sad.

Plus, the little verbal spats between Johnson and Caine are so childish, you almost have to turn your head away in embarrassment. And as much as I love me some Guzman, his portrayal of the smelly, lazy, bumbling pilot borders on stereotyping. To be completely honest, the part of me that was most offended by JOURNEY 2 was my sense of dignity. I was embarrassed for everyone connected with this movie, especially whatever members of the Verne family are still kicking. I can only imagine young kids watching this movie and somehow thinking that this somehow represents Verne's writing. The possibilities are staggering and upsetting.

And if you get there before the movie starts, you'll be "treated" to a weird, CG cartoon of Daffy Duck vs. Elmer Fudd called "Daffy's Rhapsody," which somehow features the voice of the late Mel Blanc (I guess these are unused recordings or something). I probably would have liked this cartoon were it not for the overly slick animation. This is my way of saying there is almost nothing to like in either the short or feature if you decide to attend JOURNEY 2. I'd rather you take them to THE PHANTOM MENACE 3D, and I mean that sincerely. This isn't a very good week for new movies, but I guess that's typical when most people are attempting to catch up on their Oscar-related films. Yes, do that instead.

-- Steve Prokopy
"Capone"
capone@aintitcool.com
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