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Review: 'Journey to the Center of the Earth'

Remake of the Jules Verne classic lacks some of the sense of wonder of earlier version despite its splashy special effects.

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I'm old enough to fondly remember watching the 1959 "Journey to the Center of the Earth" as a little kid, so I should start out by saying that the new version, in 3-D no less, will never take its place in my heart. But I'd be very surprised if this latest incarnation is a favorite of all the new little kids out there, either.

Not that it's terrible. It has its modicum of suspense, and Brendon Fraser, who stars as intrepid professor Trevor Anderson – who does indeed journey to the center of the Earth – is his usual heroically affable self. (If this movie turns out to deliver another "Mummy"-like franchise for him, he's going to turn into a human action figure.)

But shouldn't there be more of a sense of wonder to this project, or else why attempt to once again reimagine the fabulous Jules Verne book? The 3-D angle seems almost an afterthought. As is so often the case in our movies now, the special effects represent the substitution of technology for true imagination. The 3-D isn't all that stupendous, and I'm one of those people who love the process even when it's subpar. The director Eric Brevig settles for fairly low-grade tricks, like having Trevor gargle in his bathroom and then rinse out right into the camera. Whoa!


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