Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (3D Blu-ray+Blu-ray)
The follow-up to the 2008 hit! The new journey begins when young adventurer Sean (Josh Hutcherson) receives a coded distress signal from a mysterious island where no island should exist-a place of strange life forms, mountains of gold, deadly volcanoes, and more than one astonishing secret. Unable to stop him from going, Sean's new stepfather (Dwayne Johnson) joins the quest. Together with a helicopter pilot (Luis Guzman) and his beautiful, strong-willed daughter (Vanessa Hudgens), they set out to find the island, rescue its lone inhabitant and escape before seismic shockwaves force the island under the sea and bury its treasures forever.
It's tough being a teenage boy, especially when your mom's just remarried, you've moved to a new town and school, and your grandfather's gone missing. Sean (Josh Hutcherson) is angry and resentful, especially toward his mom's new husband Hank (Dwayne Johnson), and he's acting out in ways that just might land him in jail. Hank has been patiently trying to establish a rapport with Sean, even smoothing things over with local law enforcement officials. But Sean rebukes his every attempt at friendship, until he discovers that Hank might be useful in decoding a satellite message he's recently intercepted. The two learn that the message alludes to a mystery Jules Verne wrote about in his 1874 science fiction novel The Mysterious Island
, a story that's fascinated Sean and his missing grandfather for years. Suddenly Sean and Hank find themselves in an uneasy alliance, and the two somehow convince Sean's mom that they need to head to Palau in pursuit of an island that, in all probability, doesn't exist. The two survive a stormy trip on a decrepit helicopter piloted by Gabato (Luis Guzmán) and his daughter Kailani (Vanessa Hudgens) to land on a mysterious Lilliputian island where big creatures are small, small creatures are big, and surprises lurk around every corner. It turns out that Sean's grandfather Alexander (Michael Caine) was the one who summoned them to the island, but his plans to announce their discovery to the world go awry when the group notices that the island is in danger of sinking--with all of them on it. So begins a desperate scramble to find a way off the island. This film is part adventure and part rite of passage, and it's full of juvenile humor and absurd coincidence. While all films require viewers to suspend some sense of disbelief, it's an almost Herculean effort in this movie: Hank can translate Morse code, is familiar with the same Jules Verne books as his new wife's son, knows how to interpret the tectonic signs of continental displacement and soil liquefaction, and can set a dislocated ankle in the middle of nowhere. As for the juvenile humor, it ranges from Hank's unlikely talent of washing away pain with a song and a ukulele to his advice that impressing women is as easy as performing the pectoral "Pec Pop of Love." While Dwayne Johnson has a history of pulling off the fantastical and ridiculous in films like Race to Witch Mountain
, Tooth Fairy
, and The Game Plan
, this time it all feels just a bit too shallow and far-fetched. (Ages 7 and older) --Tami Horiuchi