Making the Grades
People seem to have a habit of getting lost in the Anderson family. Four years ago, Sean Anderson (Josh Hutcherson) tagged along with his uncle (Brendan Fraser) on a Journey to the Center of the Earth in search of the boy’s missing father.
Now, Sean’s grandfather (Michael Caine) has disappeared. When the police-dodging adolescent receives a mysterious radio dispatch suggesting the family patriarch is on a mystical island, he reluctantly teams up with his code-breaking stepfather Hank (Dwayne Johnson). It’s not a happy union but one that Sean is compelled to be part of in order to get funding for the trip. On the island of Palau, Sean and Hank employ a run-down helicopter flown by Gabato (Luis Guzmán) and his daughter Kailani (Vanessa Hudgens).
Based on a novel by Jules Verne, this science fiction story introduces audiences to a curious world where elephants are the size of small dogs and bees loom as large as single engine airplanes. After narrowly escaping death by lizard, Sean, Hank and the others stumble upon Grandpa Anderson.
But getting off the island proves to be a problem. During the travelers’ approach, the helicopter was torn apart in a ferocious tropical storm. The group is left with only days to come up with an alternate form of transportation to escape the sinking landmass.
High on adventure, the film exposes castaways to regular bouts of peril that may be too intense for younger viewers, especially in the theatrical 3D format. However the film never takes itself too seriously and the script’s humor far outweighs the made-you-jump scenes. (And who knew, The Rock sings!) While moments of tension occur between characters, the story includes a positive father (in this case stepfather) figure, a trend that is thankfully gaining momentum.
If you’re squeamish about giant centipedes or embryonic reptiles, this larger than life caper may not be for you. But for older children looking for some mildly scary thrills, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island may translate into the perfect cinematic adventure.
Note:A Warner Brother’s short film featuring Daffy Duck as a singer on stage precedes this movie in theaters. During his performance, Daffy is repeatedly fired on by Elmer Fudd who attempts to kill the duck.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Journey 2: The Mysterious Island.
Several years ago, Dwayne Johnson made the move from what was then the World Wrestling Federation into acting. And he seems to have come with a natural sense of comedic timing. Do you think Johnson is more suitable for roles in family-friendly films, like this one, or action flicks? Would your significant other be impressed or repulsed by the pec pops of love? What does Sean think about his stepfather’s relationship advice?
Do movies like this encourage children to read Jules Verne’s books? If you are familiar with the stories, how accurately does this film portray the novel’s description of the island?
What attempts does Hank make to connect with his stepson? Why is Sean hesitant to trust Hank’s overtures? What does Grandpa Anderson learn from Hank? Why are Hank and Grandpa so testy with one another when they first meet? Why do you think we are seeing more positive portrayals of father figures in the movies?
Learn more about Jules Verne, the sci-fi author on whose work this movie is based, at this website: href=“http://www.unmuseum.org/verne.htm.