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Journey 2: The Mysterious Island

There was a time when Michael Caine was making so many movies with so little regard to quality that his name on the credits usually indicated that you should look again to see if there wasn’t something else you could be watching. Journey 2: The Mysterious Island isn’t quite that bad, but neither is it terribly good, aimed squarely at a market of eight- to 12-year-olds and, of course, the parents who will sit next to them at the theater. It’s a sequel to 2008’s Journey to the Center of the Earth, which starred Josh Hutcherson as a lad convinced that the novels of Jules Verne were based on actual events. Now in full rebellious adolescent mode, he’s off to the Pacific in search of his grandfather (Caine), who seems to have discovered the island which not only inspired Verne’s tale but Gulliver’s Travels and Treasure Island as well. In tow are his anxious-to-be-buds stepfather Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson, an incompetent helicopter pilot (Luis Guzmán) and his daughter, played by Vanessa Hudgens in outfits that may be appropriate to a 23-year-old actress but not to this 17-year-old character. The Rock, as he will probably forever be known, gets to sing and play the ukelele and participates in a bizarre comic moment involving his pectoral muscles that will probably make some divorced fathers squirm. Special effects involving giant insects and the climactic sinking of the island will entertain young viewers, though adults will more likely be bothered by such implausibilities as waterfalls that cascade off of free-standing mountains.

The film is preceded by “Daffy’s Rhapsody,” a cartoon built around a song recorded in the 1950s by Mel Blanc as Daffy Duck. That makes it a must-see for Looney Tunes aficionados, but it’s no “What’s Opera Doc.” The high definition 3D only deletes from the charm of the characters: it’s wonderful that computers can produce believable fur on animals, but didn’t anyone on the animation team stop to realize that ducks have feathers?

Watch the trailer for Journey 2: The Mysterious Island

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