Hutcherson (left), Guzmán, Hudgens and Johnson pop out in Journey 2.
JOURNEY 2: THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND (Brad Peyton). For venues and times, see Movies. Rating: NNN
This Journey To The Center Of The Earth sequel swaps out Brendan Fraser for Dwayne Johnson and rushes off in search of a somewhat looser adventure.
With Fraser's character out of the picture, his nephew Sean (Josh Hutcherson) takes the hero role, dragging his new stepdad (Johnson) to the South Pacific to look for his grandfather (Michael Caine), who disappeared while searching for Jules Verne's impossible island.
It's no spoiler to say they find him, or that Verne's island is entirely real; that's all established in the first 20 minutes. What's surprising is how easily the premise can be used as the framework for absurdist concepts like an impromptu ukulele serenade by Johnson or Luis Guzmán's feature-length Tracy Morgan impression.
There are a couple of decent action sequences, and the 3-D is nicely handled - though the additional depth does make one oddly aware of Vanessa Hudgens's hyper-sexualized wardrobe. But, really, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island is an anything-goes funhouse disguised as an adventure movie. That's not a bad thing at all.