Friday, July 11, 2008
Movie Reviews: JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH 3-D & THE RUINS
JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH 3-D
During a scientific expedition in Iceland, visionary scientist Trevor Anderson (Brendan Fraser), his nephew Sean (Josh Hutcherson) and their beautiful local guide, Hannah (Anita Briem), are unexpectedly trapped in a cave from which their only escape is to go deeper and deeper into the depths of the Earth. Traveling through never-before-seen worlds, the trio comes face-to-face with surreal and unimaginable creatures--including man-eating plants, giant flying piranha, glow birds and terrifying dinosaurs from days past. The adventurers soon realize that as volcanic activity increases around them, they must find a way back to the Earth's surface before it is too late.
Cast: Brendan Fraser, Anita Briem, Josh Hutcherson
Director: Eric Brevig
Opens: July 11, 2008
Runtime: 1 hr. 32 min.
Rated PG for intense adventure action and some scary moments
Genres: Fantasy Adventure, Prehistoric Fantasy, Adventure, Fantasy
Journey to the Center of the Earth 3-D is about as inoffensive escapism as you can find in theaters now. It's goofy yet visually impressive. The story is as about as run of the mill as they come and the dialogue is about as corny as it comes. Brendan Fraser does his typical goofy good guy act, while being the dumbest scientist ever, and the rest of the sparse cast do as well as they can with the script. First time director Eric Brevig seem to accept the conceit that he's not creating anything terribly deep and decides to create as much of a theme park ride as possible. He succeeds on a certain level but it's far from a home run. The film's early segments seem more concerned with showing off the 3-D technology with old tried and true techniques like aiming antennas, throwing yo-yos and other assorted objects directly at the screen. The real world segments don't really take much advantage of the 3-D technology aside from the aforementioned gratuitous attempts. Once the movies moves to the underground it picks up significantly and really have a few moments that stand out. A coal mine cart sequence, lifted right out of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, works fairly well. Another sequence involving a raft, an angry stormy ocean and lots of piranha's on steroid flying about makes for the most stirring use of the 3-D tech. Strangely, the climactic T-Rex sequence falls terribly flat. As a film it's just your typical family adventure flick and never tries to be more than that. I can't possibly imagine sitting through this film without the 3-D because it'd be below ordinary. Journey to the Center of the Earth 3-D is a fun little 3-D technical demo which is fun for one ride but hardly worth repeated views, it does make me wonder what can be done with this technology in the future though.
Bright sun, warm waters and sandy beaches beckon countless Americans every
year, particularly young adults seeking inexpensive fun. Enter Amy and Stacy, two best friends who bring along their very different boyfriends--focused med student Jeff and free-spirited partier Eric. As the group's vacation nears its end, they journey into the lush Mexican jungle in hopes of seeing some ancient Mayan ruins. But when they arrive at the magnificent site, an unexpected event drives the frightened travelers to the top of the crumbling stone structure, where they confront hidden deadly horrors and engage in a brutal battle for survival.
Cast: Jonathan Tucker, Jena Malone, Shawn Ashmore, Laura Ramsey, Joe Anderson
Director: Carter B. Smith
Opened April 4, 2008
Runtime: 1 hr. 31 min.
Rated R for strong violence and gruesome images, language, some sexuality and
Genres: Natural Horror, Jungle Film, Horror
The Ruins is a perfect example of the written word probably being worlds scarier than the visual representations. Based on the bestselling novel by Scott B. Smith, who also penned the screenplay, this film feels like a lot of other gross out horror movies with lots of emphasis on gore and squirm but lacking any real tension or scares. The young and nubile collection of actors and actresses here as given paper thin characters to work with, some of which never rise above pure obvious levels. Needless to say that we as an audience never really care if any of them live or die and to be honest they are all interchangeable so it doesn't really matter. Director Carter B. Smith provides some nice scenic shots using the locale to his advantage but lacks the capable hand necessary to create a real sense dread or tension. Smith also seems to have a perchance for shooting scenes that don't seem to go anywhere or that are utter pointless. As a whole it just feels like countless other cautionary tale horror stories of the terrors abroad. The Ruins is just another horror film that's still trying to capitalize on gore for gore's sake craze. Ultimately that horror trends time has come and gone and not even the worlds largest Venus flytrap can save it.