“Journey 2: The Mysterious Island”, the sequel to 2008’s “Journey to the Center of the Earth”, is all about spectacle, and cramming in as many set pieces as you can into one movie. Josh Hutcherson returns as the franchise’s young lead, with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson stepping in to replace Brendan Fraser as the teen adventurer’s father figure. If you missed it when the film journeyed (ahem) its way into theaters earlier this year, here’s your chance to rectify that at home. “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island” will be available on DVD, Blu-ray Combo Pack, and Digital Download courtesy of Warner Home Video on June 5, 2012.
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.
“Journey 2” has it all: 3D adventure, a hot-to-trot Vanessa Hudgens in midriff-baring clothes (not to mention those short-shorts, am I right, boys?), and The Rock literally flexing his muscles. All of them. Plus, Josh Hutcherson, the rising star of “The Hunger Games”, playing a character every kid would love to be in real life — the smart, risk-taking adventurer. Who didn’t fantasize about exploring mysterious islands filled with wild wonders when they were kids? “Journey 2” is basically a kid’s fantasy come true in that respects. Unless, of course, you grew up in, you know, Siberia or something.
Story-wise, “Journey 2” isn’t going to blow you away. Even if you’ve never read all (or any of) the fantasy books that the movie references, it’s not like you’ll be lost. The film goes through them all so quickly anyway in service of the plot and its constantly in motion adventure that you probably won’t linger too much on this Nemo guy or those dudes who used to live in that place called Atlantis. “Journey 2” movies pretty quickly, and no sooner does the gang arrive at the titular mysterious island, locate Sean’s missing grandfather (Michael Caine), then they’re running for their lives from imminent doom. Directed by Brad Peyton, “Journey 2” is the type of expensive Hollywood moviemaking that will probably end up as a Disney team park ride.
The biggest knock on “Journey 2” is that it’s probably not all that memorable, but it is decent fun times if you’re not too demanding of your Sunday movie viewing. I would have liked to see more focus on Josh Hutcherson’s character Sean as the franchise’s new go-to main character, since he seems to be playing second fiddle to The Rock. Sean is a good character, and I think a franchise that focuses more on him, with the adults in the background, would have made for a better film. As it stands, the film’s attention on The Rock feels a bit forced. Maybe by the time “Journey 3” begins production (as it surely must — “Journey 2” was a hit with $324 million worldwide), Hutcherson will be famous enough (thanks, “Hunger Games”) to warrant being front and center of the movie posters/Blu-ray box cover art.
The Blu-ray Combo Pack is light on extras, with only three special features to choose from. The first and most extensive is something called “Are you Strong Enough to Survive Mysterious Island?”, which comes in Interactive and Junior Explorer mode. Featuring a short introduction by star Josh Hutcherson, it’s basically an interactive map of the mysterious island that pops up behind-the-scenes featurettes about different sections of the island/movie. There’s a lot here if you have an hour to go through the whole thing.
You also get a very short minute-and-change gag reel, and almost 6 minutes worth of deleted scenes in case, you know, you haven’t gotten enough of Vanessa Hudgens in short-shorts and tight tank top. Thanks again, Brad Peyton? Other than that, the “Journey 2” disc is best purchased for the movie, because the extras are not going to blow you away. You get two discs, one with the movie in standard DVD and the other on Blu-ray. Plus, UltraViolet option for streaming purposes.