Movie Review – Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D

If you have listened to our podcast you might know that I am a fan of Jules Verne’s books.  My favorites are Journey to the Center of Earth and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.  Well it’s been about 30 years, but yesterday I got to see a new version of Journey and this time in 3D.  Pretty cool, huh?  Well at least I thought so.  So here’s my impressions of this movie compared with the 1959 movie and the book.  Warning:  Many spoilers.

The book seemed more realistic to me in some ways (yeah I know, a journey to the center of the earth is probably not too realistic to start with), but in the book they use ropes and tunnels to get to the center of the earth.  And they do the same in the ’59 version.  But in this one they end up “falling” into the center of the earth.  They don’t die because the deep hole becomes a massive “water slide”.  Clever device by the writers, I say.  It also leads to a funny line.. After the main characters scream for a minute they realize their fall down the hole is not over yet, they look at each other and one says… We’re still falling… And then they scream some more.

In the ’59 version they find remnants of a lost civilization and then push a huge cup into the volcanic vent which then shoots them to the surface.  In the 3D version it’s a dinosaur’s head that gets lodged into a “geyser” that has stopped working.  The hero uses a flare to light the geyser wall which just so happens to made of magnesium and is highly combustible.  The wall explodes sending water down to the magma below creating an instant release of steam sending them all to the surface.  In the ’59 version they had to ride the hot lava out.

Now the 3D movie had totally contemporary characters with scientists who study volcano-logy who are looking for a man named Max who disappeared years ago, but who also studied the work of Jules Verne.  His brother and son find written side bar clues (ala National Treasure in a way) to find themselves in Iceland.  They meet a pretty mountain guide who is the daughter of another volcanolgist who leads them to the mountain of Snaeffels the same mountain where Jules Verne said a journey to the center of the earth would begin.

In the book and the ’59 movie Professor Oliver Lindenbrook follows the trail of Arne Saknussem an explorer who left coded messages behind from a journey 300 years earlier.  The events then take place around Jules Vernes lifetime in the 1800’s.  The 3D movie hints that all of these events did take place and that Lindenbrook told the story to Verne and that Max and Hannah’s father picked up the pieces from there.

So what about the 3D?  Well the effects were pretty cool.  Especially the “jump” scenes with the prehistoric fish.  The dinosaur and the man eating plants were scary but since I just saw Peter Jackson’s King Kong it took a bit away from the novelty of these scary monsters.

Overall I liked the movie.  It could have been more detailed with more history about the exploration and the clues left behind but for a PG movie (meaning young kids need to follow along) it was pretty good.

Now is there a connection to the Lost Island disappearing in one part of the world and showing up in another to this story?  I don’t know but maybe we will find out.

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