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</script></div>{/googleAds}So, here's the thing... as excited as I am for the crop of summer blockbusters hitting the multiplexes this year, I have to admit that the subject matter is looking pretty dour and grim indeed. You've got dark comedies (Tropic Thunder), dark superhero films (Hulk, The Dark Knight, etc.)... heck even dark sequels to light fantasy/family films (Prince Caspian).

So, how excited was I to get a press screening in the mail for Journey to the Center of the Earth in 3-D w/ Brendan Fraser? Not at all excited, actually. But, it was free, I like Fraser on a whole and think he has a great physicality that makes for a good action hero, and to be honest I was happy to get the chance to see something that I can take my kids to without inducing nightmares (at least, until Wall-E hits later in the summer). So, I scooped up my two kiddos and headed out to the cinema.

I was very surprised to find that we all had an absolute ball watching this film. Truth be told, the whole audience seemed to be having a good time. Is it a good film? Probably not. Is it derivative of Temple of Doom (mine car chase), Jurassic Park (dinos), and a dozen other action/fantasy films. You bet... derivative as all hell. Did we enjoy it? You betcha.

Brendan Fraser played the role surprisingly straight and didn't â"mug" nearly as much as the haters get all over his toucas for. He was lightweight, fun, and a good choice for a film like this. Josh Hutcherson (who has impressed me in the past in films like Bridge to Terabithia) and relative newcomer Anita Briem all proved to be fine casting... and in an essentially three-person film, that's saying something.

The Real 3D employed in the film looked fantastic and gave the whole shebang a great texture, some fun/scary jump out moments, and a fresh colorful look that made for an above average time-passer. I didn't even mind the obligatory â"stuff flying at you" scenes.

I don't expect that this film will do very well amidst the â"titans of cinema" hitting the screens in the coming months, but it sure as hell deserves to. It's fun, silly, thrilling, and everything I look for when I want to take the family out for a night at the movies. I appreciate originality, dark cinematic visions, and depressing Oscar-bait as much as the next cinemaphile, but sometimes you just want to buy the large popcorn, park your ass in the theater, and listen to your kids scream and laugh.


Component Grades
Movie
DVD
1 Star
1 Star
DVD Experience
1 Star

DVD

DVD Details:

Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles: English; French; Spanish; Closed Captioned
Language and Sound: English: Dolby Digital 5.1 French: Dolby Digital 5.1
Other Features: Color; interactive menus; scene access; deleted scenes; audio commentary; video blogs; "Ghost Hunters" bonus episode.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • No commentary track

Featurettes

  • Tokyāgöaria" (9:45)
  • The Curse Continues" (5:55)

Trailers: Nothing But the Truth, The Messengers 2: The Scarecrow and Vinyan play automatically when loading the disc, while the menu also includes: What Doesn't Kill You, Boogeyman 3, [REC], Anaconda: Trail of Blood, Against the Dark, The Lodger, Red Sands, Resident Evil: Degeneration, Passengers, "Breaking Bad", Sarah Landon and the Paranormal Hour and FearNet.com.

Number of Discs: 1 with Keepcase Packaging

{pgomakase}

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