Tuesday, December 2, 2008

We Think It's Worth the Trip

While purchasing the Blu-Ray player I mentioned in the previous post, we were told to select a Blu-Ray disc which we could have included gratis. A much simpler task than it sounds. For Bart and I could not necessarily agree on any one movie. Or else the movies weren’t appealing to us. We could have gone with something we already owned – just to see it presented “that much” better. Not exactly the most tempting idea. We wanted something fresh to us. We eventually came to our choice: Journey to the Center of the Earth, the recent version with Brendan Fraser.

I know what you might be thinking…why? Well, we figured it would at least be eye candy. Especially in High Definition. For free. Even if the story and acting left everything to be desired, it would at least look damn cool. And – it’s in 3-D. Oh…did I mention that Bart as a crush on Brendan Fraser? (Can't say I don't agree with him.)

I’m a fan of the Jules Verne book, so I’d become curious as to how they handled it. Going into it (in fact many, many moons before the film’s theatrical release) I knew the premise. I certainly did not expect it to follow the book. Nor did I plan to scoff at the “additions.” I just wanted to have fun with it.

And you know what? I really did. I quite enjoyed it. Is it a great movie? No. But it’s well done and quite the ride. The acting is great. The effects are marvelous. The adventure walks the line between fantastic and plausible. (Okay, mostly fantastic…but hey, it’s a “summer action flick,” it’s supposed to stretch the truth.)

One of the more refreshing aspects is the character of Hannah Ásgeirsson played skillfully by Anita Briem. Refreshing in that she is not a complaining bimbo. However, she is not a bookish annoyance, either. She’s a delight. How wonderful to have a strong female character in a such a film. And yet, she didn’t overdo the “macho” either. Quite the wily feminine side as well. See for yourself – you will like Hannah the Mountain Guide.

As for the premise, quickly: Brendan Fraiser plays a professor who is saddled with his nephew. The professor continues his brother’s work, who disappeared looking into seismic activity. He left a copy of Journey to the Center of the Earth for his son (the nephew). Notes in the book reveal that book that it may not be fiction after all. The conditions for entering the Earth are about to occur. Naturally, they investigate. Adventure abounds.

I particularly liked when they came to the elaborate mine car track which prompted the lines, Is this in the book? – Sean, the nephew. No, I don’t think so. - Prof. Trevor Anderson. [It’s not ;) ] They had a sense of humor about their own over-fabrication. Nice to see.

Even by the time we reached the end, it had not made me roll my eyes. It remained entertaining. I recall Bart saying a third of the way through, “Ok, I’m not hating this…”

So, there you have it. Sure, it’s a little campy. But you would figure that going into, right? It’s just plain fun.

Sadly the 3-D glasses use the blue/red method rather than polarized, so a ghosting is involved. But WHOA! It matters little. 'Tis truly amazing to have otherwise crisp 3-D manifestations right there in the living room. Even single strands of hair popped out.

I just wish it had another title. For technically, it is not the book, so it "can't" be called as such. Alas, I cannot think of a better one. I mean, Our Journey to the Center of the Earth is stupid. Or New Journey. I don’t want to spend too much time thinking about it. My point is just that it's a charming play off the book while referencing it within the movie. That deserves a more descriptive and clever name. Any ideas?

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