5 January 2012 | hitchcockthelegend
Jules Verne's novel, it's true you know?
Originally released in 3D (I've not seen it in that format, sadly), Eric Brevig's take on the Jules Verne novel updates it to modern day and sends Brendan Fraser, his nephew (Josh Hutcherson) and Icelandic babe Anita Briem down to, well, the centre of the Earth. Where of course peril and wonderment await in equal measure. As adventure films go it's entertaining stuff as the intrepid trio run, dive, jump and fight their way through the hazards of a hot land that's getting hotter by the hour. The kicker in the story here is that they are saying Verne's novel is true, giving birth to a collective of people known as Vernians who believe this to be so. Therefore for plot drive the book is used as a sort of tourist guide to aid them in their attempts to escape from the Centre of the Earth. Cool or what? The production design is excellent, marking the film out as being very visually appealing, while a number of the set pieces are genuinely entertaining and suspenseful. It moves along at a good clip, too, and the three actors carrying the film engage firmly on the good side of good, especially Fraser, who can do the heroic kooky act with ease.
It's far from being a truly great film, but the makers have at least tried to put their own stamp on the story, making it a sort of modern day sequel to the wonderful novel. But even with that in mind, narratively speaking it's very predictable for the most part, but speeding along as a family friendly adventure the film never once outstays its welcome. Of worth as well is that Briem's character, Hannah Ásgeirsson, is not a token female put in simply to look hot and give Fraser the push to prove his masculinity. Ásgeirsson is tough, intelligent and resourceful, working on a par with Fraser's Professor Anderson, this also sets up a running joke involving the two of them as to who saves each others lives the most times! In 2D some of the impact of certain scenes is invariably lost, though we can easily imagine what the 3D sight of Fraser unleashing a mouthful of toothpaste and water on us is like! But as it is it's a film that is unlikely to garner much love from sci-fi buffs and haters of popcorn pleasures, but kids will love it, as will the adults who don't mind letting their guard down once in a while for a bit of good clean family friendly fun. 6/10