© Warner Bros. Pictures Germany

Die Reise zum Mittelpunkt der Erde (Journey to the Center of the Earth)
U.S.A. 2008

Opening 5 Mar 2009

Directed by: Eric Brevig
Writing credits: Michael D. Weiss, Jennifer Flackett, Mark Levin, Jules Verne
Principal actors: Brendan Fraser, Josh Hutcherson, Anita Briem, Seth Meyers, Jane Wheeler

Directed by Eric Brevig and starring Brendan Fraser, Josh Hutcherson and Anita Briem, it follows the plot of the Jules Verne classic, though set in our contemporary world. The script is by Michael Weiss.

A day after geology professor Trevor Anderson (Fraser) reluctantly accepts to babysit his nephew, Sean (Hutchinson), events unexpectedly take over and send them on an expedition into the bowels of the earth, accompanied by the Icelandic mountain guide, Hannah (Briem). With the road behind them cut off by a rock fall, the only way forward is... down, down, down into the unknown. Not quite the unknown, however: a battered, penciled-in copy of Jules Vernes' famous novel turns out to be an accurate diary rather than a fantasy. As the wonder and mystery of the underground world are revealed to the three adventurers, the book also serves to warn them of the dangers they will have to face if they want to return to the surface alive and in one piece.

Journey is a roller-coaster (literally in some cases) adventure for kids old enough to deal with a good number of shocks and scares. While hardly a classic and certainly full of elements that stretch credulity (and I'm not talking about the monsters), the 90-minute movie is pretty entertaining, with a cast of three that works very well together. (Osanna Vaughn)

Second Opinion

Professor Trevor Anderson (Fraser) and his 13-year-old nephew Sean (Hutcherson) as well as Icelandic guide Hannah Åsgeirsson (Briem) travel to the center of the earth to seek the professor’s long-lost brother Maxwell, a noted scientist. They throw around words like seismic activity, a world within a world, thin rock formation, techno-physics, etc., Naturally, they manage to slide down to the center of the world, easy as falling off a log, or in this case down a volcanic tube. They meet prehistoric animals. My favorites were the glowing Tinker-Bell-kind-of-flying-thing-ies. The characters become separated and, all alone, must defend themselves. Very scary!

Some people will be able to see the film in 3-D, which will be interesting since then you, too, can slide down a volcanic tube. Maybe you’ll even check out Jules Verne’s original book: A Journey into the Interior of the Earth, which was the inspiration for the film. Why does Brendan Fraser insist on these pre-adolescent action films (The Mummy, Encino Man, George of the Jungle, etc.)? He is a good actor (Crash), but seems to be remembered only for being silly. (Becky Tan)

The theaters below show films in their original language; click on the links for showtimes and ticket information.
Interviews with the stars, general film articles, and reports on press conferences and film festivals.
Subscribe to the free KinoCritics monthly email newsletter here.