“Journey to the Center of the Earth”

In your face. In more ways than one.

That’s the twist — and the appeal — of "Journey to the Center of the Earth."

The latest adaptation of Jules Verne’s durable 1864 fantasy (there have been nine other movie and TV versions, dating back to 1910) hits theaters as the first live-action feature shot in digital 3-D.

It’s not showing in digital 3-D at every theater, of course. But it should be. (The information box accompanying this review lists local multiplexes featuring the 3-D version.)

Without the 3-D effects, "Journey to the Center of the Earth" is just another cinematic theme park ride, bursting with empty big-screen calories.

With 3-D, "Journey to the Center of the Earth" is still a cinematic theme park ride, but at least it’s a relatively fun one — and chock full of reach-out-and-touch images guaranteed to make you giggle (how about a spinning yo-yo in the face?), squirm (ravenous beasties about to put the bite on you!) or maybe both at the same time (ewww … dinosaur drool!).

During the movies’ first flirtation with 3-D, in the 1950s, Hollywood studios applied the clunky technology to everything from thrillers ("Dial M for Murder") to musicals ("Kiss Me Kate"). Even without 3-D, those movies still entertain. (So does the Vincent Price creepshow "House of Wax," directed by the venerable André De Toth — who was blind in one eye and therefore couldn’t appreciate the movie’s three-dimensional shocks.)

All of them were designed to lure moviegoers away from the television sets that had recently taken up residence in living rooms across America.

Those black-and-white TVs have become wide-screen, high-definition entertainment centers where stay-at-home audiences can catch movies mere months after their theatrical runs.

But "Journey to the Center of the Earth’s" 3-D effects perform the same function "House of Wax’s" did, giving moviegoers something special — something they can’t get at home.

And while those 3-D effects are almost the whole show, "Journey to the Center of the Earth" boasts a few other qualities that make it, as they say, fun for the whole family. (Although the kids are likely to have a lot more fun that their parents.)

Chief among the movie’s attributes: hunky hero Brendan Fraser.

From time to time, Fraser’s demonstrated definite dramatic chops, as anyone who’s seen "The Quiet American" or "Gods and Monsters" will attest.

But in movies as different as "George of the Jungle" and "The Mummy," his expert comic timing and goofy, game-for-anything gusto can help transform the truly ridiculous into the ridiculously entertaining.

The same thing happens throughout "Journey to the Center of the Earth," which updates Verne’s classic tale of Prof. Lidenbrock of Hamburg, Germany, who drags his nephew off to Iceland after discovering an ancient manuscript referring to a portal leading to the very innards of the planet.

This time around, it’s absent-minded American professor Trevor Anderson (Fraser) who’s obsessed with the Earth’s core — because his brother Max disappeared while searching for it.

Now, Trevor’s university lab is about to be shut down by a smirky rival ("Saturday Night Live’s" Seth Myers). And Trevor’s sister-in-law has just dumped her surly 13-year-old son Sean ("Bridge to Terabithia’s" Josh Hutcherson) on his doorstep for 10 days of nephew-uncle bonding.

Their strained reunion takes an unexpected geographical detour when, while perusing Max’s copy of Verne’s "Journey to the Center of the Earth," Trevor discovers his brother’s predictions of unusual seismic activity seem to be coming true.

Which means Trevor and Sean are off to Iceland, where a comely mountain guide (Anita Briem, as frosty as the glacial surroundings ), daughter of a famed volcanologist, leads them to an ancient volcano where Trevor’s scientific sensors have been recording some very strange readings.

But that strangeness is nothing compared to what lies beneath as the trio takes refuge from a lightning storm inside a convenient cave — the first step in a fantastical, and possibly fatal, journey to the otherworldly (innerworldly?) title realm.

The serviceable screenplay (credited to Michael Weiss and the "Nim’s Island" team of Jennifer Flackett and Mark Levin) doesn’t exactly overflow with the kind of sly yet irrepressible wit that energizes the likes of this summer’s "Indiana Jones" and "Iron Man" adventures.

But it provides a sturdy-enough structure to support the parade of perils that endanger our intrepid threesome, from a runaway roller coaster (oops, I mean a runaway mine-car) to a sea of razor-toothed flying fish.

In his feature directorial debut, veteran visual-effects supervisor Eric Brevig (an Oscar nominee for "Pearl Harbor" and "Hook") reveals a brisk sense of let’s-get-on-with-it efficiency.

Every time a glimmer of emotion or character development threatens to slow the movie’s hurtling momentum, Brevig tosses out another in-your-face 3-D effect — and serves up another reminder of what "Journey to the Center of the Earth" is really all about.

Contact movie critic Carol Cling at ccling@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0272.

ad-high_impact_4
Entertainment
Get a sneak peak of Palace Station's newest renovations
Station Casinos spokesperson Lori Nelson gives a first look at what Palace Station's $192 million renovation will bring. Some areas will begin opening to the public next week according to Nelson. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
You Can Only Get The 11-pound 8-person Burger In Las Vegas
You Can Only Get The 11-pound 8-person Burger In Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Paul McCartney is worth over $1 billion
Sir Paul McCartney is one of the most celebrated and accomplished musicians in history. He just turned 76 on June 18. McCartney grew to international fame with the Beatles and went on to become a wildly successful solo musician. Paul McCartney’s net worth is estimated at $1.2 billion, according to Celebrity Net Worth. In 2017, McCartney landed the No. 13 spot on Forbes’ list of the world’s highest-paid musicians, earning $54 million for the year. On Thursday, June 20, McCartney will release a double A-side single featuring two new songs, "I Don't Know" and "Come On to Me." McCartney has yet to announce a title of his new album or when it will be released. Th album is expected to be released before he headlines the Austin City Limits Music fest in October.
Bellagio's New Conservatory Brings Italian Summer To Las Vegas
Bellagio's New Conservatory Brings Italian Summer To Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Kari Curletto of Las Vegas put over 500 hours into making her toilet paper wedding dress. (Courtesy Kari Curletto)
Kari Curletto of Las Vegas put over 500 hours into making her toilet paper wedding dress. (Courtesy Kari Curletto)
The Real Crepe In Las Vegas Serves Authentic Crepes In The Style Of Brittany, France
The Real Crepe In Las Vegas Serves Authentic Crepes In The Style Of Brittany, France. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-journal)
New Marilyn Musical Brings Screen Icons Life To Strip
Paris Las Vegas hosts musical bio featuring new, old tunes. (Carol Cling Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vegas' hottest concerts of the summer
Vegas' hottest concerts of the summer
We Taste-tested The Best Doughnut Shops In Las Vegas
We Taste-tested The Best Doughnut Shops In Las Vegas. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
5 must-see bands at Punk Rock Bowling 2018
5 must-see bands at Punk Rock Bowling 2018
Gabi Coffee & Bakery Is Like A Korean Speakeasy From The 1920s
Gabi Coffee & Bakery Is Like A Korean Speakeasy From The 1920s (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Five must-see acts at the Electric Daisy Carnival 2018
Five must-see acts at the Electric Daisy Carnival 2018
The "13 Reasons Why" mustang cruises down the Las Vegas Strip (Courtesy Netflix)
4 fun and fascinating museums in Las Vegas
U2 in Vegas through the years
U2 in Vegas through the years
Dirt Dog In Las Vegas Makes Crazy L.A. Street Food
Dirt Dog In Las Vegas Makes Crazy L.A. Street Food (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-journal)
Black Tap In Las Vegas Makes This Instagram-ready Golden Knights Shake (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-journal)
Nevada Ballet Theatre Premieres Until December
‘Until December’ debuts at ‘Ballet & Broadway’ season finale (Carol Cling Las Vegas
Celebrate The Golden Knights With Knights-inpired Latte Art (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Yodeling Boy Mason Ramsey Signs With Atlantic Records, Debuts First Single
Yodeling Boy Mason Ramsey Signs With Atlantic Records, Debuts First Single Ramsey, who shot to fame after a viral video of him yodeling at an Illinois Walmart surfaced, just debuted “Famous.” “If I'm gonna be famous for somethin'/I wanna be famous for lovin' you/If I'm gonna be known around the world/I wanna because of you, girl” Mason Ramsey, “Famous” It’s been quite the rush to stardom for the 11-year-old, who appeared on The Ellen Show and performed at Coachella earlier this month. “I’d been to Nashville a few times before, but never thought something like this would happen. It’s a dream to sign with Atlantic and Big Loud.” Mason Ramsey “I loved recording ‘Famous’ and can’t wait for everyone to hear it.”
Steve Aoki, Pitbull And Other Stars Make An Apperance At The "Keep Memory Alive" Gala
Steve Aoki, Pitbull And Other Stars Make An Apperance At The "Keep Memory Alive" Gala. (Janna Karel Las Vegas review-Journal)
"Hamilton" Fans Line Up Overnight At Smith Center To Get Tickets
"Hamilton" fans line up overnight at Smith Center to get tickets. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
5 concerts to see in Las Vegas this week
You can visit the speakeasy in The Mob Museum's basement... if you know the password
6 new foods hitting movie theaters in 2018
Lip Smacking Foodie Tours takes you where the locals go
Donald Contursi talks about Lip Smacking Foodie Tours, which offers walking tours of restaurants on and off Las Vegas Boulevard with food samples and tidbits of history about the places they visit.
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson Welcomes New Baby Girl!
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson Welcomes New Baby Girl! The 45-year-old actor posted an adorable photo on Instagram, celebrating his newborn baby girl, Tiana Gia Johnson. Dwayne Johnson, via Instagram Dwayne Johnson, via Instagram Dwayne Johnson, via Instagram This is Johnson’s second daughter with his girlfriend, Lauren Hashian. His oldest daughter, Simone Garcia Johnson, came from his previous marriage. Johnson and Hashian first announced they were expecting another child back in January. Congratulations!!
Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend Car Show celebrates 21st year
The Stray Cats, Jerry Lee Lewis, Duane Eddy, Elvira and Mitch Polzak make appearances the 21st Annual Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend car show at the Orleans hotel and casino on Saturday, April 21, 2018.
This "Alice in Wonderland" cocktail changes colors and flavors while you sip
Take a tour of The Underground at The Mob Museum
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
ad-infeed_1
ads_infeed_2
Local Spotlight
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like