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STEPHEN'S MOVIE GUIDE

Journey To The Centre Of The Earth

Review: written Jan 2009

Artificially constructed and derivative

Journey To The Centre Of The Earth

Jules Verne! Classic Story! Brendan Frazer! Stunning effects! Can't lose, right..?

Wrong.

The relation to the original story is weak, with only the `idea' preserved, none of the richness of character, imagination and depth of detail of the book (or the original James Mason film, for that matter..).

The script is geared to kids, and is all about moving quickly through the motions in the same way those short movies that introduce amusement park attractions do. No-one cares about character development or building tension etc... it's just - when can we get to our next `moment'! And if it's moments you are after, there are certainly some ‘ok’ effects on display, and younger viewers might have their interest held temporarily, .. but I for one was grateful it only lasted 90 minutes.

So much for the film - what about the 3D! Well, the movie has been available in both 3D and 2D. In 2D the movie is flat, lighting looks abnormally bright, and colours washed out. On the 3D version - yes, you really do get to watch in 3D. However, the effect is rather erratic, the glasses uncomfortable, and the images in dark and weird colours thanks to the green / red glasses provided with the last 3D release. I think watching in 3D is an exciting novelty - but based on this, it's a cinema experience, not a home theatre one, no matter if you do have a large projector screen. And clearly directors have not yet figured out how to make a movie that happens to be 3D, rather than an amusement park ride drawn out to feature length in order to get a release. It's all just too self conscious.

Shame, I love Jules Verne, and even beneath the shallowness of this effort I enjoyed some of it in the way younger kids will. But my advice - save the pennies, and next time a movie like this comes along, try and see it at the cinema if you want to see it in 3D.





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