‘Journey 2: The Mysterious Island’ Review

Published 3 years ago by , Updated November 27th, 2014 at 3:43 pm,

Journey 2 The Mysterious Island starring Josh Hutcherson Dwayne Johnson and Michael Caine Review Journey 2: The Mysterious Island Review

On the whole, Journey 2 is just a fun ride from beginning to end.

In this sequel to Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D, we catch up with young Sean Anderson (Josh Hutcherson), now a bit older and getting into all kinds of mischief. Sean’s mom (Kristin Davis) and step-dad Hank (Dwayne Johnson) try to pry the reason for his bad behavior out of the recalcitrant teen, and Hank finally manages to get the answer: Sean is trying to piece together the mystery of his missing grandfather, Alexander Anderson (Michael Caine), who went searching for a mysterious island of legend.

Working together, Sean and Hank decode a message from Alexander based on the famous adventure tales of Jules Verne, Robert Lewis Stevenson and Jonathan Swift. Sean immediately sets his sights on the island of Palau, the next step to locating his grandfather, and Hank – trying to bond with the boy and/or exhaust his curiosity – decides to chaperone the journey.

In Palau, Hank and Sean meet Helicopter tour guide Gabato (Luis Guzmán) and his daughter Kailani (Vanessa Hudgens) – who is pretty enough to make Sean risk a flight on her rusted copter into the eye of a hurricane that just so happens to hide the entrance to the mysterious island. Once they are (crash-)landed on the island, the party sets out to find Alexander – and then, find passage off of the mystical land mass before it sinks back into the sea, taking them with it.

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island is one of those “good for what it is” films – and what it is, is a light-hearted, family-friendly adventure film in the vein of Goonies or Honey I Shrunk the Kids (only not that good). The film is filled with cheesy dialogue and jokes, one-dimensional characters and an overdone plot that offers just a few notes of genuine heart or drama – but none of that really matters in this context. Kids will have fun with the material, and the adults accompanying them will be reasonably entertained as well.

Giant Lizard in Journey 2 The Mysterious Island Journey 2: The Mysterious Island Review

Director Brad Peyton (Cats & Dogs 2) crafts a suitable visual experience via some nice tropical locales and striking (but obvious) green-screen and CGI effects. Journey 2 is not likely to win any technical awards – but again, in the context of a kids’ film, the visuals are sufficient. The 3D certainly adds to the fun – though it’s more often than not used in that pop-out, ‘in-your-face’ manner meant to capture the fleeting attention of youngsters. But, to be fair, any movie that spends time showcasing The Rock bouncing CGI berries off of his pecs is just out to have a good time, rather than impress with its technical prowess.

Of course, all the silliness would be too much if not for the cast of actors who manage to ground it, and Dwayne Johnson and Michael Caine are two of the main reasons why this film works as effectively as it does. Both are great leading men in their own right, and the contentious relationship between Hank and Alexander (as Sean’s competing paternal figures) creates some great banter, which are probably the movie’s best moments.

Josh Hutcherson has become something of a bigger name since his first Journey film, but he does a good job holding the screen and potraying a somewhat layered protagonist – good qualities in a young lead. Hutcherson’s chemistry with Johnson is also strong, and certain moments between Sean and Hank even manage to be somewhat moving as the film progresses.

Josh Hutcherson Michael Caine and Dwayne Johnson in Journey 2 The Mysterious Island Journey 2: The Mysterious Island Review

Hutcherson, Caine and Johnson in ‘Journey 2: The Mysterious Island’

Hudgens doesn’t offer much except her pretty face (not that she’s required to) and Guzmán gets the task of playing the irritating comic relief character – which he is certainly successful(?) in doing.

On the whole, Journey 2 is just a fun ride from beginning to end. It’s not a piece of classic cinema by any means, but between some great set pieces, a healthy mix of non-threatening action, (chessy) kid-friendly comedy, and some likable leading performers, you can easily set this Journey above the one that proceeded it.

BONUS: Journey 2 also includes a new 3D CGI Looney Tunes short featuring Daffy Duck and Elmer Fudd. It’s a different look for Looney Tunes, featuring some new voices behind the iconic characters and a spastic, hyper-kinetic pace – but the young’uns should enjoy. Although, it is a little unsettling to end an animated short on an image of a 3D shotgun pointed in the face of a young audience. But I digress.

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island is now playing in 2D and 3D theaters.

Our Rating:

3.5 out of 5
(Very Good)

Get our free email alerts on the topics and author of this article:


Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to Gravatar.com and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.

If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it. Keep in mind that we do not allow external links in the comments.

  1. wait, really?
    is this really better than safe house?

    • It’s more enjoyable in my opinion. And it does what it sought out to do better than Safe House did.

    • It doesn’t really make sense to compare the two, bro.

  2. Kofi

    Great review man. I really agree with u in every point. The wife and I saw it at midnight last night and it was a great funny really just a enjoyable film. I enjoy watching the witty banter between the rock and josh hurcherson. Who are also both great actors and continue to suprise me. Even Vanessa hudgens was good in this. Anyway just a fun movie that made for a great date night.

  3. This review is spot on. My girlfriend and I (both in our mid-20s) went to the midnight show last night and we both enjoyed it. It is a fun movie. Family-friendly, kid-oriented adventure flick with a good amount of comedy. The 3D was done well and there were a few moments where we were dodging debris.

  4. My wife and I are both in our 50′s and we just got back from seeing it in 3D. It was fun. The children in the audience were having a ball. A fun filled family movie.

  5. Still wish Brendan Fraser would have been it, if only for continuity reasons. But like the first journey I also enjoyed this one. Can’t wait to go to the moon.

  6. Okay, there’s no way this has a 3.5 rating. As a fan of Jules Verne, I’m sure the poor guy is spinning in his grave right about now. Why do they keep effing up his movies? As an English teacher and a lover of science fiction and steampunk, this is an insult to people’s intelligence, and an insult to our literary culture. I understand Hollywood doesn’t care about that, but at least the Harryhausen version was marginally more entertaining (even though that deviated a lot from the source material). If you’re going to adapt a film from a book, do it right. As far as I’m concerned, there have only been a handful of movies that have remained faithful (enough) to the source material without going overboard. This is garbage, and I would never take my own kid to see it. I’d make him read the original book instead, as well as its predecessor, the amazing 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA.

    • At least somebody has some common sense here

  7. Read some other sites reviews and wasn’t going to see it. But then I realized UI never liked any of these other sites or agreed with their reviews. So whenit was playing for $4.00 at a second hand local movie parlor , we said why not. Our kids 15, 17 & 20 would never be caaught dead seeing it ( even more so the 15 year old than the 20 -too cool). But my husband and I both mid fourties, din’t care. Some snobs should know that this movie was going to be silly and only once in a whuiole you have a good quality ET, Stand by Me, The Black Stallion Arond the World Under the Sea or evn Jurassica Park, or other classics. But Perhaps on par with Spy kids or similar as stated not as good as goonies or shrunk the kids . However, we both enjoyed it for what it was, we would of payed $6-7 but not 8 or 10 or more for 3D. At 4 maybe it was 4 for kids 5 for adults at the noon showing, it was decent. I guess we are not the type of movie goers that– if its not worth making an epic time tested classic movie, then don’t make it. For kid and family films, I never particulary liked the Muppet films, but acknowledge the earlier talents and contribution of Jim Henson, but just look at the box office numbers for them, it’s what kids liked and what parents wanted to share with generations. I do think this movie was OK for most Kids , definitely much lighter and less intense then Jurassic Park and even Py Kids. I mean the animals don’t exist and lot of silliness to buffer. However younger kids -you may need to guage their threshold of these type of things if a bit sqeemish. So if you like the Rock, or one of the other characters and to enjoy a relaxing enjoyable and some nice scenery in the middle of winter, you might enjoy it.

    • For those who are hardcore sci-fi or only watch classic family films– you may want to stay home, although after seeing any of the previews- I mean come on Bouncing berries off the rock– don’t know why you would . Not to mention Their was the earlier Journey film you could watch for free on internet or if subcripption to Netflix or similar or your local Library. Its made for kids and family as a silly fun eye candy type adventure. Like the screen rant critic said Take it (good) for what its for. I want to take my family out to see a family type movie this week,my choices are limited so maybe not my cup of tea, but guess what if I put things aside, it was fairly entertaining and fun to watch and hear my kids laugh and smile, made me laugh and smile all the more– priceless.

  8. Can’t believe you just rated this movie higher than Safe House. I’m not reading reviews in here anymore lol. I hope they don’t pay you man, ’cause that’s just silly.

  9. which movie is better safe house or journy…?

  10. I wanna watch one movie tonight…I am an action adventure junkie…can anyone please tell me which movie is better safe house or journey….???

  11. This is not a movie I would pay to see in a theater but I want to watch it when it comes out on blu-ray.

  12. I Just would like to take hs time and say im proud to say im From Palau, and i live in Arizona USA, when ifirst heard that part of this movie was taken from my Island of Palau i was very move,,, so i just wanna say than you and God Bless.. I miss my beautiful Island Palau… thank you…

  13. I would just like to say – You people that are criticizing this movie to be so bad are a little bit ridiculous. My wife and I went see this movie in IMAX Last night for a valentine date night. It was a good movie. The visuals were actually pretty good and 3D was nice. I mean, yes the movie cold have been better, but it’s not as bad as most of you are putting it out there to be. It is worth seeing in 3D at the theater. It is more of a kid movie than I really expected it to be, but none the less, I find the Rock to be a good actor and Michael Caine is extraordinary as well. The CGI may be a little easier to depict if you are to watch it in 2D, but in 3D it looked good. BTW, to add a couple more of my 2 cents, I find a lot of this sites reviews to be misleading. I have watched quite a few movies that you guys said were very bad, that I found to be either decent or good (or vise versa)…

    • @Chris

      I think it’s more of a case of you having different tastes than the reivewers here, rather than our reviews being “misleading.”

      Reviews are opinions, not facts.

    • first of all any thing with the rock is worth seeing the reason u might not like it is because its not a bang bang shootem up action movie because i love those tipes of movies but too much gore sometimes i just want to watch one that is kid oriented

  14. Parents beware: this is one nonsensical movie. Of course Hollywood believes, with unfortunate correctness, that people will go to movies just to see effects. This movie is a good example of that approach. The plot makes no sense. The script is horrendous. The acting entirely one-dimensional. Although Vanessa looks good – her acting is so-so, but who cares – the young male actor is awful and even The Rock falls short, and hard. The comic-relief character (Peggy) also doesn’t cut it, despite his effort. I’m glad Jules Verne isn’t alive to see this. Although kids will probably enjoy this, as adults we’re asked to sit through a kid’s journey to an island where grandpa is somehow living fine surrounded by creatures that had something to do with Gulliver’s Travels. Oops, the island that features the lost city of Atlantis, by the way, is about to go under. Time to find Captain Nemo and the Nautilus which we will jump-start with a gigantic electric eel … the ship that is. No, I’m not making this up, the “producers” did. If only these guys focused on the real challenges our children will be facing in their future…


  16. I have to agree with the criticizing side of this of the reviewers.


    I guess the only place this movie will give you any sort of satisfaction is a 3D theater where it actually may give you a fright when objects fly towards you on the silver screen….. that’s it….. God bless Vern and his visions (not this movie)…

  17. My family and I really enjoyed it. We weren’t looking for anything but an enjoyable movie and a few laughs together.

  18. My family and I really enjoyed it. We weren’t looking for anything but an enjoyable movie and a few laughs together.

  19. Obviously the name Palau was mentioned a lot and supposedly they went there in the movie, but there was NOTHING PALAUAN about it. Stating at one point Gabato the pilot is a Palauan but is Polynesian? Palauans are Pacific Islanders in the region of Micronesia, they are Micronesian not Polynesian. They are NOT part of the Asian island of Philippines either. The dock of Palau and the people in it were not even close. As for the official languages in Palau, English and Palauan are the official language on the rest of the 15 states of Palau while the State of Angaur has 3 languages Palauan, English and Japanese. Its a movie but portrays false info. The movie was OK,

  20. Y’all are stupid it is the atlantic ocean

  21. this movie is great but they should hace filmed it in palau because i am palauan and the language is indeed palauan and english, it would have been awsome but its rating should be much more than that instead i wold say 4 out of five. overall great movie and i luved it

    sulang for reading e meral mle ungil el movie

    thanks for reading and the movie was great

    btw my name : chad era belau means guy from palau

  22. coco i am palauan

    the movie had nothing right about palau
    but i liked it for mentioning it