Making the Grades
Journey to the Center of the Earth is an eye-popping experience. As the first full-length, live-action film shot in digital 3D, it offers in-your-face entertainment for those able to view it in this new format. Gnashing prehistoric fish and drooling dinosaurs seem to jump off the screen and into the seat beside you. Luckily, during the passage of Jules Verne's novel into a new era of computer animation, the classic story manages to maintain it's good, old-fashioned monster movie appeal.
Brendan Fraser stars as scientist Trevor Anderson, whose brother Max (Jean Michel Par) went missing a decade earlier while conducting fieldwork during a spree of unusual seismic activity. Now the lab, set up in honor of the lost explorer, is being shut down due to lack of funds. To make things worse, Trevor's unhappy and disinterested nephew, Sean (Josh Hutcherson), is arriving for a 10-day visit while his mother (Jane Wheeler) is out of town.
The two relatives initially agree to a shared, but aloof, living arrangement in the same apartment. However when Trevor discovers resurgences in volcanic activity in the area where his brother vanished, he and Sean pack up their bags and passports, and head for the remote Icelandic location. There they hire a mountaineering guide, Hannah çsgeirsson (Anita Briem), to lead them to a nearby opening in the Earth's crust in hopes of finding any clues to Max's disappearance. Coming upon Max's seismic recorder, they attempt to recover the information inside. But a violent lightening storm sends them scampering into a cave that collapses around them. Forced to find an alternative way out, the trio delves deeper and deeper into the earth's core.
Moments of peril and several jump scenes (that may scare very young viewers) accompany them as they encounter carnivorous plants, petrified mushrooms and magnesium explosions. Relying on a copy of Jules Verne's novel and notes scribbled in it by another scientist, the threesome navigate across a underground ocean, through magnetic fields and over bubbling lava in an attempt to return to the surface.
Donning a pair of 3D glasses and settling down with a big bag of popcorn, audiences will have to suspend all scientific reality and to put up with some points of the story that dawdle along at a ponderous pace. Yet overall, Journey to the Center of the Earth is a voyage with plenty of action adventure and limited concerns for almost all family viewers, as they are whisked away on a subterranean venture to the center of the earth
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Journey to the Center of the Earth.
What events in Sean’s life may contribute to his attitude when he arrives at his uncle’s house? What experiences change his outlook?
What impact can sci-fi writing have on real science? What inventions do we enjoy now that might have been considered science fiction years ago?
Jules Verne wrote a number of novels during his lifetime. To learn more about his author and his work, visit: http://www.online-literature.com/verne/