Blu-Ray Review: Journey 2: The Mysterious Island

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island Blu-ray Combo Pack

When Sean (Josh Hutcherson) receives a coded message from his grandfather (Michael Caine), he wants to leave immediately for the fabled “Mysterious Island.” Sean’s mother allows him to go – on the condition that his new step father (Dwayne Johnson) accompanies him. But on the way to this island that shouldn’t exist, their helicopter hits a storm and crashes. Now Sean, his step father, the helicopter pilot (Luis Guzman), and the pilot’s daughter (Vanessa Hudgens) need to find a way off the island. Though it’s full of unexplored wonders, they’re in a race against time to find a way off before the whole island sinks to the ocean floor.

While this is a sequel to Journey to the Center of the Earth, it’s not necessary to have seen the first installment. Journey 2 is a standalone story, with Sean going on an entirely separate adventure. As before, this adventure is immersed in classic science fiction. Fans of classic scifi, young and old, will enjoy the numerous references and Jules Verne’s Mysterious Island brought to new heights. With creatures of humorous sizes, a volcano full of gold, and other bizarre secrets – this island unfortunately can’t be fully explored because of an unfortunate timetable. Of course, suspension of belief must be held for most science fiction movies (especially geared towards children), but the sinking of the island really pushes it.

But for the most part, this was a surprisingly enjoyable, if mostly corny and predictable, movie for young families. While a fast-paced adventure, there is no violence or profanity, so even very young children can enjoy (as long as they don’t mind the occasional giant bug). The acting is good for a heart-warming family film. Hutcherson (“Hunger Games”) and Dwane “The Rock” Johnson of course steer the story. And the supporting cast provides comedy relief and a cute romantic interest for Sean. Johnson has been doing a lot of family movies lately, and this may be one of his more watchable ones. I love that he can laugh at himself and still be a strong character. All-in-all Journey 2 is a cute, clean, family movie that won’t make you think too much and will entertain the kids.

Own it on Blu-ray Combo Pack or Digital Download 6.5.12

Special Features Include:
Interactive Adventure guided by Josh Hutcherson: Discover the skills it takes to ride Giant Bees, outsmart a Hungry Mama Lizard, and ultimately prove you have what it takes to survive on the Mysterious Island! Can be experienced as an interactive adventure or a passive linear piece.

Introduction with Josh Hutcherson
Alexander’s Treehouse
Lost City of Atlantis
The Giant Flowers
The Mushroom Forest
The Golden Volcano
The Lizard’s Nest
The Gigantic Bumble Bee
Nemo’s Tomb
Nemo’s Cave
Nemo’s Submarine
Map Payoff
Gag Reel
Deleted Scenes

Fantasy Movie Review: Dorothy and the Witches of Oz

Also titled the Witches of Oz, the director’s cut was renamed Dorothy and the Witches of Oz for the film’s release in select theaters. The story follows Dorothy Gale (Paulie Rojas), a children’s author continuing the Oz series. After her uncles death back in Kansas, Dorothy discovers that her stories were not from her imagination but from her own experiences in Oz. Now, the evil witches are in New York and looking for a key that Dorothy hid as a child. Only Dorothy and her friends can stop the Wicked Witch of the West from destroying both Oz and this reality.

Based on L. Frank Baum’s books not the popular film starring Judy Garland, fans will notice the additional characters right away. And Dorothy’s slippers are silver not Garland’s ruby red. Christopher Lloyd as the Wizard was my biggest reason for seeing the film. He was fantastic. But I was happy to see other known faces as well such as Sean Astin and Ethan Embry as the cute, funny, and miniature Frick and Frack. And Jeffrey Combs has a brief but memorable performance as Dorothy’s heartbroken father. Paulie Rojas as Dorothy is a bit wooden, but her sweetness and innocence is believable. And Eliza Swenson as Billie Westbrook was pure fun to watch in her complex role.

At first I was confused about the target audience. The mood seemed darker and suddenly violent, until I realized all of the action and fight scenes were stylized. Some of the monstrous creatures might be a bit scary for young children, but it’s still only rated PG and is certainly a family movie. The (director’s cut) special effects are clever and most of the evil creatures look like something out of a campy 70’s or 80’s film, which I think adds to the charming storybook feel. At times the movie reminded me of a favorite show ABC’s Once Upon a Time – with the campy feel meets the real world. Yet Dorothy and the Witches of Oz is much more family friendly and light-hearted. Full of adventure, magic, mystery, and colorful characters – this film was unexpectedly heartwarming and a bright homage to the classic Oz books.

The official site can be found here:

And the official trailer can be viewed here:

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