Friday, April 13, 2012

Movie Review: Journey to the Center of the Earth (2008)

As a kid the 1959 version of Journey to the Center of the Earth, with James Mason, was one of my favorite movies. So it was with some trepidation that I approached this remake (remaquel?). How could they possibly live up to my expectations. Granted, the original had some cheesy special effects (e.g. putting a sail on an iguana and pretending it's a rampaging Dimetrodon). This film, which definitely had superior special effects, turned out to be more like a sequel to Jules Verne's A Journey to the Center of the Earth—they even go so far as to reference the book repeatedly.

My verdict: This movie was okay, but I still like the 1959 movie better—even though its special effects aren't as impressive. Brendan Fraser manages to ham up any role he's given, but in the context of this movie and what it was trying to be (as is the case with many of his movies) that wasn't a big deal. There were a few funny lines, but most of the jokes fell flat for me. The main actress' lisp was a little annoying (I'll cut her a little slack, though, since it could just be her Icelandic accent, in which case it would be authentic). Trevor's ability to identify a bird (at a distance and without binoculars) based on millions-year-old fossils he'd seen was entirely unbelievable.[1] The Gigantosaurus was cool (and certainly more realistic than the original film's Dimetrodon), but I'm not sure why its slobber was grey and goopy. The mine cart scene (lifted wholesale from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom) was obviously intended to translate into a theme park ride (which it did [2]). Such a tortuous track would never be used in a real mine.


[1] Read about some of our birding trips (which weren't so effortless) here, here, here, and here.

[2] See to the Center of the Earth (2008 film)#Theme parks.

Image attributions:

The Summit of Snæfellsjökull Volcano is by Gred Kruk, available at

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