Volcanologist, Trevor Anderson, is still following his brother, Max’s, work after he disappeared ten years previously and is presumed dead. Although he is sceptical of Max’s conviction that the classic Jules Verne novel ‘Journey to the Centre of the Earth’ is actually based on a real place, he does believe it’s possible. When he and his nephew, thirteen year old Sean, find new evidence, they visit Iceland and meet Hannah who agrees to help them. Finding Max was right and that the Earth’s centre has its own ecosystem which is quickly heating up, the three realise that they only have a short time to find a way out before it’s too late.
Journey to the Center of the Earth (2008) – Director: Eric Brevig
Running Length: 93 mins
Starring: Brendan Fraser, Josh Hutcherson, Anita Briem
Genre: Action/Adventure, Science Fiction
Rather than being based solely on the classic novel by Jules Verne or indeed, a sequel or remake to the 1959 movie, this version of ‘Journey to the Center of the Earth’ seeks to run a believable story line alongside the fantastical science fiction of Jules Verne’s story, which thankfully works very well. Brendan Fraser plays the movie’s protagonist, Trevor Anderson, a scientist and professor who is disillusioned with his job and, when his nephew, Sean (Josh Hutcherson) arrives for a visit, the pair find themselves jumping at the chance for adventure. While scientific discovery is a major motivator for Trevor, the chance to find out the what really happened to his brother/Sean’s father, helps push them to face their fears and push on to find the truth.
Thirteen-year-old Sean starts out as a moody teenager but fortunately his attitude falls away once the adventure begins, his personality becomes much more well-rounded once he discovers some truths about his father so that the story can focus on the action. Fraser does what he does best, play a vulnerable but strong man who doesn’t seek out excitement but embraces it when it finds him; his light-hearted, likeable and sensitive nature works perfectly within this kind of role, appealing to kids and adults alike. Anita Briem, who plays Hannah, is strong, independent and feminine, her gender doesn’t define her character but neither is it ignored, she is simply one of the group who is as intelligent, brave and capable as the others.
‘Journey to the Center of the Earth’ is firmly targeted towards a younger audience and therefore some members of the audience may be a little disappointed that the action errs more towards child-friendly, however, it is definitely exciting, entertaining and thoroughly enjoyable.
IS ‘JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH (2008)’ SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN?
The movie opens with a man running fearfully away from a huge dinosaur, the ground beneath him begins to crack open and he is forced to leap over a big fissure and cling onto the other side. He is unable to hold on and he falls, there appears to be molten lava below him and although no death is shown on-screen, it would appear that this man has been killed.
Not long after meeting their guide, Hannah, Sean tells his dad that he calls ‘dibs’ on her (implying that he gets the first attempt at some form of relationship with her), Trevor is bemused but doesn’t chastise him. Later, Hannah hears the pair discussing this and indignantly tells them ‘no-one gets dibs on the mountain guide’.
An emotional scene involves a makeshift funeral, the loved one of the deceased mourn the death – embracing and crying together. One of the characters reads out a passage from the dead person’s diary which talks about their regrets, especially regarding their family.
A huge plant attacks, snapping its ‘jaws’ at some of the characters. Despite fighting them off, one of the characters is caught by a vine around their neck and lifted into the air. The struggle for breath, gasping and their eyes plead for help from another.
There are a number of instances throughout the movie where a scene is very exciting and established characters seem to have been killed or are in extreme danger. These scenes do not go so far as to be distressing but could be concerning for children.
CAN I SEE A CLIP?
‘Journey to the Center of the Earth’ is a great family movie with lots of exciting action, light-hearted comedy and likeable, well-rounded characters. Due to some quite intense, albeit child-friendly action scenes, we feel this movie should be appropriate for kids aged six and over.
- Violence: 2/5
- Emotional Distress: 1/5
- Fear Factor: 2/5 (there are a number of ‘jump scares’ that could be very scary for young children)
- Sexual Content: 1/5 (in a few scenes, a woman wears tight-fitting clothes, her top shows a small amount of cleavage and there are a couple of close-ups. In one scene, a large, piranha-like fish opens its jaws attempting to bite her bottom, this results in a close up of it.
- Bad Language: 1/5 (when in danger, a character says that they are in ‘deep schist’)
- Dialogue: 1/5 (a characters tells of an accident a number of years before in which 81 miners were killed)
- Other Notes: Deals with themes of science fiction/science fact, family, trust, self-sacrifice, danger, loss of a family member, the pursuit of scientific discovery and not giving up.
Words by Laura Record