Journey 2: The Mysterious Island
An old adage (OK, I just made it up) says that if you’re going to make a movie in 3D, you’d better give the audience something interesting to look at. The Mysterious Island does just that, dazzling the eyes with nonstop wonders held together by a wholly adequate plot. Young Sean (Josh Hutcherson) is having trouble living the suburban life of a normal teen after the excitement of his journey to the center of the earth. And soon enough, a cryptic message from his missing grandfather sets him off on a new adventure halfway around the globe, this time chaperoned by his supercool stepdad (Dwayne Johnson).
They do indeed find the puzzling land mass Jules Verne wrote of, which might be the same locale as Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island or Jonathan Swift’s Lilliput from Gulliver’s Travels. There they encounter spectacles beyond belief, both natural and manmade, but an impending cataclysm forces the group to face impossible dangers in its quest to find a way home, double-quick. Honestly, director Brad Peyton and his writers put some clever stuff into this brisk sequel. Too bad they shot themselves in the foot with a bit too much outright silliness.
Nothing is silly about the squeaky-clean 1.85:1 HD image, however, wherein even the finest details are effortlessly rendered. Colors are bold and beautiful, particularly the lush tropical greens, while blacks are stable and realistic. The movie was shot in 3D on digital video, and this authentic stereoscopic effect is exercised with flash and a sense of fun, often relying on the ambitious computer-generated special effects. It doesn’t offer the greatest sense of depth I’ve ever seen, but neither did I note any ghosting or cross talk on the disc.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1-channel soundtrack frequently extends significantly into the surrounds to enhance the three- dimensional illusion, with a convincing directionality across the soundstage. Creepy caves, living jungles, and other exotic environments sonically envelop us along our journey, while the action is underscored with hits of sharp bass.
Most memorable among the supplements on the 2D Blu-ray is an interactive island map that takes us to video discussions of the fact and fiction behind the weird science we’ve just witnessed, often in kid-friendly terms. A brief gag reel is also included, along with 6 minutes of deleted and extended scenes, a DVD of the movie, and an UltraViolet Digital Copy.
Studio: Warner Bros., 2012
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio Format: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Length: 94 mins.
MPAA Rating: PG
Director: Brad Peyton
Starring: Josh Hutcherson, Dwayne Johnson, Michael Caine