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Member's Reviews

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, a review by GSyren

TitleJourney 2: The Mysterious Island (5-051895-219577)
DirectorBrad Peyton
ActorsDwayne Johnson, Michael Caine, Josh Hutcherson, Luis Guzman, Vanessa Hudgens
Produced2012 in United States
Runtime94 minutes
AudioEnglish DTS 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, German Dolby Digital 5.1, Italian Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
SubtitlesDanish, French, Finnish, Norwegian, Spanish, Dutch, Swedish
OverviewThe new family adventure Journey 2: The Mysterious Island begins when seventeen-year-old Sean Anderson (Josh Hutcherson) receives a coded distress signal from a mysterious island where no island should exist.

Unable to stop him from tracking the signal to its source, Sean's new stepfather, Hank (Dwayne Johnson), joins the quest that will take them first to the South Pacific, and then to a place few people have ever seen. Or lived to tell about. It's a place of stunning beauty, strange and threatening life forms, volcanoes, mountains of gold and more than one astonishing secret.

Together with Gabato (Luis Guzmán), the only helicopter pilot willing to risk the trip, and Gabato's beautiful, strong-willed daughter Kailani (Vanessa Hudgens), they set out to find the island, rescue its lone human inhabitant and escape before seismic shockwaves force the island underwater and bury its treasures forever, in this follow-up to the 2008 worldwide hit Journey to the Center of the Earth.
My thoughtsThis is another of those movies that I wasn’t sure about, so I waited until I could get it relatively cheap. This is also a case of setting my expectations low. I like Jules Verne. I have read The Mysterious Island, although it was long ago. I also read the Illustrated Classic when I was a kid, and I have seen the 1961 Harryhausen film, the 2005 Hallmark TV version and the 1995 TV series. None of them follow Verne’s book very closely, and this one certainly doesn’t either.

Being quite recent, it’s no big surprise that this movie has the better special effects. But good special effects does not equal a good movie. We have seen this over and over. Is Josh Hutcherson a good actor? If he is, he certainly doesn’t show it in this movie. Dwayne Johnson can be good in action movies, but isn’t good here. And Michael Caine is pretty much wasted. The less said about Luis Guzmán, the better. And you know something must be wrong in a movie when Vanessa Hudgens comes off as the least irritating character...

The script varies between silly and ludicrous, but at least it seldom gets boring. So, if you can put your brain in neutral for an hour and a half (at least it’s not overly long), then it can be an acceptable time killer. But hardly anything more than that.

If you want a good Mysterious Island, go with Harryhausen. It’s not Verne’s Mysterious Island, but in spite of Harryhausen’s creatures it’s probably the closest you get. The TV series is also quite entertaining, but it certainly isn’t Verne. Still, either of them is better than this mess. Definitely avoid the Hallmark version, though!
My rating2.5 out of 5

(From Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar on September 26th, 2013)

Member's Reviews

It Happened One Night, a review by Jon

It Happened One Night
5 out of 5

Ellie (Claudette Colbert) jumps from her father's boat to join her recently eloped-with-husband. He soon sets detectives looking her while she tried to cross country to New York, grudgingly helped by down on his luck newspaper man Peter Warne (Clark Gable).

This is the earliest Best Picture winner I have, but it’s a great starting point as it was the first year they were awarded annually and this film the first to win the big five: Picture, Actor, Actress, Script and Director. It’s a wonderful film and I can understand the attention it got. And like all the truly great films, it needed more than it’s fair share of magic to get made. I’ll come back to this later, but put simply for now, and pardon my French, but Claudette Colbert sounds like a bit of a cow.

Not that you can tell on screen. The chemistry between her and Clark Gable is an essential ingredient, making the sophisticated witty script even smoother. This is definitely Capra’s sentimental phase and you should have nothing but a huge grin from start to finish. Gable’s character and style is essential to keep it grounded with a little grit. I think Preston Sturges would have a little more substance to his films a decade or so later, but for pure optimism straight from the bottle, Capra's your man.

They certainly don’t make them like this anymore, although the story does have more than a hint of Overboard about it, mixed a little with Sullivan’s Travels, and Planes Trains and Automobiles of all things. Of course it predates all those, though it holds up wonderfully well. Despite the fast pace, Best Director Capra finds time for several gorgeous shots, especially a motel sequence with moonlight through rainy windows. The only thing I find hard to swallow as I do with a lot of films from this era -regardless of genre- is the ridiculous way women’s emotions can flip from hard-nosed to simpering love-sick fool in mere seconds. The script handles it better than most though and Colbert does convince from start to finish though.

Ah, yes. Colbert. She’s probably the heart and drive of this film in more ways than just her character. Capra set his heart on her, but she demanded twice her normal salary and gave them a four week shoot to do it. A road movie like this in four weeks is astonishing and accounts for much of the quick-fire style. She may even have started a sub-genre, forcing them to work so quick. This might be the first screwball and soon, Howard Hawks would pick up that ball and see just how fast he could make it go with Bringing Up Baby, then His Girl Friday. Colbert almost sabotaged the whole production, yet it sweeps the awards and then everyone’s trying to do the same style! True movie magic.

(From Jon's Best Picture Oscar Marathon on February 5th, 2009)

Member's TV Reviews

"Due South" marathon, a review by Tom

4.04 Odds (1998-11-11)
Writer: Paul Haggis (Created By), Rob Forsyth (Writer)
Director: Steve DiMarco
Cast: Paul Gross (Constable Benton Fraser), Callum Keith Rennie (Stanley "Ray" Kowalski), Beau Starr (Lt. Harding Welsh), Camilla Scott (Inspector Margaret Thatcher), Tony Craig (Detective Jack Huey), Tom Melissis (Detective Dewey), Ramona Milano (Francesca Vecchio), Gordon Pinsent (Fraser Sr.), Stephanie Romanov (Denny Scarpa), Andrew Tarbet (Agent Exley), Paul Miller (Agent White), Jack Nicholsen (Joey), Terry Harford (Alex Farah), Michael Millar (Andy), Sheldon Davis (Carson), Kay Valley (Civilian Aid), Jean Daigle (Doorman), David Boyce (Tommy)

This one was more fun than the last few episodes. Also a familiar face guest-stars: Stephanie Romanov (Lilah from "Angel")


(From "Due South" marathon on December 30th, 2010)