Sometimes the phrase ‘a kid’s film’ is just a nice way of categorising a film that’s badly put together. Hey, it’s only for kids, why bother making it any good?
Journey to the Center of the Earth, is a ‘kid’s film’ conceived with such a sentiment. Accompanying adults might be ruing their decision whilst they’re enduring this glorified themepark attraction (with worse computer graphics than a Te Papa simulator), clutching their temples, grimacing at the forthcoming headache that will result from ninety minutes of characters screaming at them (when these guys fall to their doom, they yell ‘Waaaaaaaaaaaaaah!’ and shout things like ‘We’re still falling!’)
But let’s forget plot and characters for a moment. This is a film that was devised in three dimensions, and you’d be foolish to see it any other way. Mostly though, the 3D effect is only mildly interesting, and never wholly convincing. The best bit here is when Sean (Josh Hutcherson) jumps between magnetically floating rocks above a bottomless chasm. 3D-equipped cinemas, out of interest, are in Auckland (Manukau, Albany, Sylvia Park), Wellington (Reading Courtenay Central) and Christchurch (Riccarton).
My main feeling afterwards was that Jules Verne’s classic novel has the potential to be given a really interesting contemporary treatment, and that this junior ‘theme park’ version doesn’t even come close. My secondary feeling was that 3D projection is fast becoming a gimmick when utilised by second rate flicks like this one.