Journey 2: They Mysterious Island
Review by Dave Herbelin
“I hope it doesn’t like food with poop in its pants.”
– Luis Guzman as Gabato in “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island”
Yes, Michael Caine chose to be in a movie that included this line. It used to be that you could tell the quality of movies by the actors who chose to be in them. I should have been warned by the stars such as Dwayne Johnson, who probably learned comedy from watching ’90s episodes of “Full House”, or Vanessa Hudgens who seems to think she’s still filming sequels of “High School Musical”. But I thought if Michael Caine chose to do this, then there has to be a gem hidden somewhere in there between the overacting and the video game special effects. Afterall, the first one was so horrible, how could he not know already? Mr. Caine, you lead me astray, you dirty rotten scoundrel!
“Journey 2”, which was a big piece of Number 2 (yeah, I watched “Full House” too), takes place a short time after the first “Journey”, with Sean, played by Josh Hutcherson, as the only returning cast member (perhaps the first wise choice of Brendon Fraser’s career in a long time). No one really says what happened to Sean’s dad, except that he left and now his mom has a new boyfriend, Hank (Dwayne Johnson). Sean recieves an encoded message from his granfather, Alexander (Michael Caine) and the journey begins to the mysterious island.
One gaping hole in the relationships of this story is the history of these people. Sean’s mother and Hank are reluctant to let Sean search for the mysterious island, and Kailani, Sean’s love interest (Vanessa Hudgens), doesn’t think much of him. And once on this island (that was for you theatre nuts), Sean’s judgement is questioned. Why are we questioning the one person in the party who has been to, oh well… THE CENTER OF THE EARTH?! I think after journeying there, you pretty much have a backstage pass to the universe. “Sorry you can’t go in the White House.” “Oh, can’t I? I’ve been to The Center Of The Earth!” “What do you mean, I can’t have dessert? I’ve been to The Center Of The Earth!” “Hey baby, earth’s center… that’s me.” Did the writers really forget this small detail?
If the movie was a turd, Luis Guzman was the smell. Every line he delivered was either a girlish whine or a homo-erotic come on to Dwayne Johnson. I think he was using the script to “The Birdcage.” Each time he opened his mouth, I cringed. If you want to make a movie that would end all movies, just film Guzman having lunch with Rosie Perez, Fran Drescher, and Gilbert Gottfried. It would replace waterboarding.
Guzman’s character was one of many bad directoral choices; another being “popping pecks.” It’s in all the ads. You see Dwayne Johnson flexing his pecks while Hutcherson bounces berries off them. Johnson has done this move before. I couldn’t believe that they did it again and tried to pass it off as original. I didn’t understrand how it made it into the movie until I saw the end credits with Johnson as a co-producer. This, along with other moments, had to be Johnson saying, “You know what would be funny….” And those waiting to get paid saying, “Oh yes, Mr. Johnson. You are the god of comedy. The Carrot Top of Film” “You know what would be funny: giant bird poop.” Yes, that’s what Jules Verne would have wanted, Mr. Johnson. “You know what would be good: 3D effects for no reason.” Yes! You’re right: We learned nothing about 3D in the past decade. “You know what would be cool: filming everything green screen so the audience doesn’t buy anything they see.” Yes, Mr. Lucas Johnson.
This movie must have been made using a check list.
Over acting: check.
Pointless special effects: check.
Needless action sequences: check.
High school love interests: check.
Teen heart throbe removing shirt: check.
Main character injured for no plot reason: check.
No real investment in story: check.
It’s the same list used in many teen vampire movies. But they added one item…
Respectable actor which those who don’t know better may go to see: check ….and I fell for it.
To use a term a proud touting Christian told me, Mr. Caine, you are a “whore.” (Yes, she told me many times she was a Christian, then called my dog a whore.) Well, to use another Christian phrase. DAMN! Damn! Damn! Never again, Mr. Caine. You are off the list of reliable actors. You have lost your credit. I thought you were above doing it for the money. I questioned your choice when you joined “Miss Congeniality”, but after seeing it, you and William Shatner proved me wrong and gave short term credibility to Sandra Bullock. Short Term!! Now I’ve gone back and looked at your roster of movies and I see more money choices. “Gnomeo and Juliet”?!! You couldn’t have actually thought this was the ideal adaptation Shakespeare saw in his mind.
We look to A-list actors because we want to make a wise investment with our $12 ticket price. No name actors are a risk to the viewer, while an A-lister is to not lead them astray. A-listers are the bonds, while the no names are the stocks. We exepect the A-listers to do the research, know their fund completely before endorsing it for others to spend their hard-earned cash. The rewards may not be as high as the they can be when taking a risk on the no-name stock, but they are consistent. Michael Caine, you went Bernanke on me. You focused on your paycheck and not on how I spent mine. I’m not asking that you play the same consistent character. Explore and play all you want. But I do expect you to research the script and the production on which you are putting your name. And you can’t use the editor or any post-production as a scapegoat. “Food with poop in it’s pants” was delivered in a scene you were in, you… you (excuse my Christianity) whore!!!
Directed by: Brad Peyton
Release Date: February 10, 2012
Run Time: 94 Minutes
Distributor: New Line Cinema