2008 film Journey to the Center of the Earth starts out – as I unfortunately already expected due to IMDb as your standard kid-and-divorced-dad-don’t-agree-yet-are-forced-to-be-together-for-a-weekend-and-suddenly-agree-after-all-and-then-they-live-happily-ever-after. 13-year-old Sean (Josh Hutscherson) is forced to live with his uncle Trevor (Brendan Fraser) for ten days, while neither likes the idea one bit. It is soon revealed that Sean’s father and Trevor’s brother, Max, had disappeared ten years earlier while on and Icelandian solo expedition on search after the center of the earth, after reading Jules Verne’s famous novel. As Trevor starts looking through Max’s old copy of the book, filled with notes, he soon realises that Max maybe weren’t that wrong about the idea of the center of the earth as he first thought, and together with Sean he travels from America to Iceland. In Iceland they seek for a volcanologist Max were in touch with before his disappearance, only to find that he died several years ago, leaving his only daughter Hannah Ásgeirsson (Anita Briem), who voluntairs to follow them as a guide. While climbing a mountain, a sudden lightning storm strikes, forcing them to seek protection in a cave. As the lightning shuts the cave entrance, they are forced to look for another way out. Though they soon realise this cave is actually a natural entrance to the center of the Earth.
The film first seemed like yet another boring filming of the classic Jules Verne novel, but I was surprised. This film is, I dare to utter, one of the best adventure films created so far in the 21th century. It wasn’t since the first times I saw classic adventure epics like The Raiders of the Lost Arc or Jurassic Park I – II (not as epic, yet great films) my heart pumped this fast. The film held me a fascinated prisoner, constantly jumping in my chair, yelling ”no, don’t go that way!” ”Don’t fall!” ”No, run faster, the dinosaur’s after you!”
The film was originally produced as a 3D release, and this was extremely obvious even though I downloaded it. The sound effects and the filming was… fenomenal. It takes a genious to create a scene such as the one with Sean and the ”floating” rocks (caused by a magnetic field). I barely moved during the entire scene, simply because it felt as if I was there.
The film also surprised me by actually semi-masking the obvious inspiration of Jules Verne, making it not a filming of the book but more of a sequel, or a film with constant reference to it. In the film, they constantly talk about the book and it also suggests that the book actually is non-fiction by seeing the corpse of the main character in the center of the earth as they reach it.
I know it’s normal for me to write such things about all films I review, but I can say that ”Journey to the Center of the Earth” actually is one of the best films of 2008, as well as of the 21st century.