An outlandish plot and location inspired by another Jules Verne novel are delivered in this follow-up to the 2008 action packed Journey to the Center of the Earth. Though little rings true in this fantasy adventure, the barrage of impressive special effects and gratuitous use of 3D mean it's a rollicking ride anyway.
Much like its predecessor, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island combines 3D, CGI and live action to create a light-hearted Indiana Jones-style adventure in which its cast isn't afraid to have fun. There's an underlying theme about kids being abandoned by their fathers, but substance isn't this film's strong point and little time or energy is wasted before getting into the action.
Josh Hutcherson returns as Sean Anderson, a teenager with an inherent adventurous streak who, with his stepfather Hank Parsons (Johnson), decodes a message from his grandfather (Michael Caine). The message gives them instructions for how to find Verne's island, made famous in his 1874 novel The Mysterious Island.
Believing his grandfather is in trouble, Sean and his father, with the help of dodgy helicopter pilot Gabato (Luis Guzman) and his hot daughter Kailani (Vanessa Hudgens), try to find the island and Sean's grandfather.
As it turns out finding the island is the easy part, the hard bit is getting off what is an exotic volcanic island filled with unusually sized animals.
Like its predecessor, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island is a race against time to survive, but the inclusion of new characters adds a little more interest. Vanessa Hudgens is obviously a love interest for Sean and Luis Guzman is there to provide the laughs (which he does); but it's Dwayne Johnson - taking over the lead role from Brendan Fraser - who is the most interesting addition.
Capable of sparring successfully with the ever-charming Michael Caine, Johnson steals the show by firing berries off his flexing pecs. It's a unnecessary and random scene, and you have to see it to believe it, but it's a good example of how this film doesn't take itself too seriously, and neither should we.
Cast: Josh Hutcherson, Dwayne Johnson
Director: Brad Peyton
Running time: 94 mins
Rating: PG (some scenes may scare very young children)
Verdict: Tween boys will love this light-hearted, special effects-driven adventure