Journey to the Center of the Earth (2008)
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Critic Reviews for Journey to the Center of the Earth
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Audience Reviews for Journey to the Center of the Earth
Lazy, hazy Jules Verne adaptation - this should seem like grand adventure, not a weekend outing. They had no budget so the actual trip down and especially the trip back up are absurdly short, the bulk of the movie takes form in the planning stages (excitement!) or among a clan of natives who found their way to the earth's core from the surface - seems the writer got this story confused with Conan Doyle's The Lost World. But that's the one major departure, besides the character names most of the other events stay true to the book. Certainly comes a lot closer than Disney's latest release with Brendan Fraser. But faithful adaptation alone does not a thrilling film make. The actors don't give any more effort than the director. And why should they? Victoria Pratt is the heiress financier of the journey to find her husband (another similarity with The Lost World). She looks good as ever, although her chiseled physique, out of place amongst ladies of the Victorian era, is well hidden beneath rugged clothing, and sadly she only throws one punch. The big chuckle comes when Peter Fonda as Pratt's husband enters wearing a stack of fur pelts giving him the appearance of a mangy Wookiee. I think he got the part only because first choice David Carradine was dead, so he somnambulates in his place. Oh Peter, how low can you go - about 10 miles under the earth's surface, it turns out! (I thought of that joke the minute he showed up and couldn't wait to stick it in this review.) I recently watched Shannen Doherty in a similar made-for-crap special in Lost Treasure of the Grand Canyon, and while this movie might be slightly technically superior, at least that one's indefatigable boneheadedness kept things partially entertaining. This Journey is about as exciting as a trip to the grocery store.
This take of Jules Verne's Journey to the Center of the Earth novel falls short of a sci-fi adventure that one should expect from a movie like this.
The story moves fast and fast in a bad way. I guess what I mean is that the story zips along with not enough explanations or buildups, yet certain parts drag on. The first half of the film is fairly decent as you get to meet the characters and move along with them on their expedition. Unfortunately, once they reach "the center of the Earth", the story becomes a mess and is rather uninteresting.
The science fiction aspect of the story is non-existent with the exception of two different creatures. That's right, only two. They only have little airtime as well, which means they are not a big part of the story. The CG isn't all that great and that may be the reason for having only a couple of creatures. It's too bad since those creatures are more entertaining than the rest of the movie.
The whole second half of the film is taken up by native American type people. So this is the center of the Earth eh? At this point the movie begins to have a western feel to it. A western with crappy action and not enough shootings.
The acting is OK at best. Rick Schroder barely pulls off the lead and Peter Fonda is just horrible. Steven Grayhm is tolerable early on, but gets annoying by the end with all the "Uncle" shouts. Not all is bad though, since Victoria Pratt and Mike Dopud give decent performances.
There are many versions of Journey to the Center of the Earth, so give those a try before checking out this one.
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