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Mark Levin Archives - ShowBizCafe.com

Mark Levin Archives - ShowBizCafe.com

Mack Chico

By

2008/10/28 at 12:00am

Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D

10.28.2008 | By |

Rating: 3.0

Rated: PG for intense adventure action and some scary moments.; Rated PG-13 for some bloody sci-fi violence. (special edition)
Release Date: 2008-07-11
Starring: Michael Weiss, Jennifer Flackett, Mark Levin, Jules Verne (novela)
Director(s):
Distributor:
Film Genre:
Country:USA
Official Website: http://www.journey3dmovie.com/

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Journey to the Center of the Earth is the first live-action feature to take advantage of the new digital 3-D technology. However, in generating what amounts to a 90-minute theme park ride, the filmmakers lost track of the need to tell a compelling story to supplement the eye candy. Despite taking its name from one of the most famous science fiction novels of all time, Journey to the Center of the Earth is as weak when it comes to “fiction” as it is when it comes to “science.” This movie is an overlong gimmick, an opportunity for special effects whiz-turned-director Eric Brevig to “wow” an audience with his technical bravura. With 3-D, a little goes a long way and, in the absence of a legitimate script with credible characters, the fun dries up long before the running time has expired.

Brevig’s film, based on a screenplay credited to three writers, is not intended to be a strict adaptation of the Jules Verne novel. Instead, it’s more of a sequel. It postulates that the novel’s hero, Professor Lidenbrock, made the trip described in the book and related the details of that trek to Verne, who recounted them in the novel. The characters in this movie – Professor Trevor Anderson (Brendan Fraser); his nephew, Sean (Josh Hutcherson); and their mountain guide, Hannah (Anita Briem) – follow in Lidenbrock’s path as they travel to the top of a mountain in Iceland that reveals tunnels leading deep beneath the Earth’s surface. Below, they discover a prehistoric world where dinosaurs and man-eating plants exist. But it’s getting hot down there, and the trio must find a way to escape before they are broiled alive.

The absence of a villain means that the only conflict is between our heroes and their environment. Under normal circumstances, this would not be inherently uninteresting, but the film’s grip of physics is so confused that the rules display an alarming lack of consistency and change at the director’s whim, depending on what he needs for a particular scene to work. Normally, I’m tolerant of flaws like this in a movie, but the so-called “science” on display in Journey to the Center of the Earth is so atrocious that it creates towering barriers to the suspension of disbelief for anyone knowledgeable about such things. Fortunately for New Line Cinema, the majority of potential customers won’t care.

The film’s “drama” is as painful as its science. The bonding between Trevor and Sean is trite; neither is developed as more than a toy to play around in the 3-D environment. Hannah’s role is to make Trevor look like an idiot and eventually provide some low-key romantic tension. Brendan Fraser tries to bring some of the charm he exhibited in The Mummy to this project, but it feels forced. Trevor is neither likeable nor dislikeable; he’s there to provide us with a human face as a means of entry into a world that’s a cross between Jurassic Park and Land of the Lost.

Ultimately, Journey to the Center of the Earth is about spectacle, so the characters and storyline are of secondary concern. The movie views them as, if not irrelevant, at least inconsequential. This is all about making the digital world come to life and having things jump out of the screen at us. The 3-D work is admittedly done very nicely but, after 30 minutes (or so) of pretty images, one starts to desire more. And the movie can’t deliver. The experience of watching this film in old-fashioned 2-D, while it would brighten the images a little (polarized glasses darken things), must be a hollow one indeed. Take away the 3-D, and there’s little remaining.

Ten years ago, I can recall standing in line at the Universal Studios theme park in Florida to see Terminator 3-D, a twelve-minute sequel to Terminator 2 that was projected in 3-D. Technology has advanced so that now it’s possible to have essentially the same experience in any theater equipped with a digital projection system. However, as with any visual effects tool, 3-D should be applied in service of the overall production, not vice versa. And that’s where Journey to the Center of the Earth goes wrong. Like the virtual roller coaster ride we go on mid-way through the proceedings, there’s something critical missing. Seeing, even in 3-D, is not the same as feeling. And once a movie has lost the capacity to reach us on more than a trivial level, what’s the point?

Mack Chico

By

2008/07/10 at 12:00am

Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D

07.10.2008 | By |

Rated: PG for intense adventure action and some scary moments.; Rated PG-13 for some bloody sci-fi violence. (special edition)
Release Date: 2008-07-11
Starring: Michael Weiss, Jennifer Flackett, Mark Levin, Jules Verne (novela)
Director(s):
Distributor:
Film Genre:
Country: USA
Official Website: http://www.journey3dmovie.com/

Go to our film page

Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D

‘Journey to the Center of the Earth’ is the first film live action film that uses the new digital three-dimensional technology. The film is an optical tour de force, but lamentably that visual experience does not manage to incorporate the same satisfaction to a story with a duration of an hour and a half. Based on a novel of Jules Bern that captivated the imagination of readers in 1864, ‘JTTCOTE’ feels more like a sequel of the novel and not a direct adaptation of original story.

 

The professor of geology Trevor Anderson (Brendan Fraser), and their 13 year old nephew (Josh Hutcherson), travel to Iceland in search of a volcano that is acting up in a very unusual way. With the aid of Hannah (Anita Briem), an attractive mountain climber, they find their objective, but accidentally fall in a hollow path that leaves them in center of the Earth. What ‘Journey to the Center of the Earth’ accentuates is how the technology ends up dictating the script. In this case, the three-dimensional sequences are the main attraction, and therefore, it debilitates the story. Don’t expect too much from the protagonists either. Usually, these type of films offer high doses of special effects and nothing else. The film’s stars are only a secondary feature to the already charged up VFX.

 

This type of film strictly is done for the entertainment of the public and not  for the Oscar committee. If you’re looking for a delightful time with the family, ‘Journey to the Center of the Earth’ will satisfy all your demands.

Ted Faraone

By

2008/04/04 at 12:00am

Nim’s Island

04.4.2008 | By |

Rated: PG for mild adventure action and brief language.
Release Date: 2008-04-04
Starring: Joseph Kwong, Paula Mazur, Jennifer Flackett, Mark Levin
Director(s):
Distributor:
Film Genre:
Country: NULL
Official Website: http://www.nimsisland.com/

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Nim's Island
Ted Faraone

By

2008/04/04 at 12:00am

Nim’s Island

04.4.2008 | By |

Rating: 3.0

Rated: PG for mild adventure action and brief language.
Release Date: 2008-04-04
Starring: Joseph Kwong, Paula Mazur, Jennifer Flackett, Mark Levin
Director(s):
Distributor:
Film Genre:
Country:NULL
Official Website: http://www.nimsisland.com/

 Go to our film page

First, the good news:  Jodie Foster can play comedy.  As agoraphobic, obsessive compulsive action novelist Alexandra Rover in “Nim’s Island,” an adaptation by Joseph Kwong, Paula Mazur, and co-directors Mark Levin and Jennifer Flackett of Wendy Orr’s eponymous novel, Foster is both funny and convincing.  At physical comedy she approaches Lucille Ball and Carol Burnett.  “Nim’s Island” should earn Foster her fifth Oscar nomination.
 
Now the bad news:  The screenplay does not do justice to the performances.  Rather than show the idyllic love between 11-year-old prodigy Nim Rusoe (Abigail Breslin), her dad Jack (a scientist, the other half of Butler’s dual role), and their menagerie of almost-human animals on an uncharted island, the screenplay hammers it home.  Every scene between Breslin and Butler fairly oozes saccharine.
 
Plot centers on the unlikely convergence of a monsoon, which maroons Jack in mid ocean, the chance discovery of the island by a cruise ship crew who resemble modern day pirates, and Alexandra “Alex” Rover’s writer’s block.  With Jack gone, Nim reads his emails and answers one from Alex, her favorite novelist.  An email relationship develops almost overnight.  There’s a catch.  Nim believes that Alex Rover, the author, is the swashbuckling, Indiana Jones – style adventurer of novels.  Nim does not know that ‘he” is a “she,” let alone a nutcase.  With her island about to be invaded by tourists and her dad in danger, Nim begs Alex to travel half-way around the world to come to her aid.
 
Challenged to overcome her fears, Alexandra’s inner conflict, played out with her alter ego, brings out just about every agoraphobic, obsessive compulsive joke that one can imagine, and Foster plays them to the hilt.
 
When the chips are down, Nim and Jack resort to the Mr. Wizardry that endeared the “MacGyver” TV show to a generation of kids.  His mast broken by the monsoon, his boat leaking, Jack rigs a pump and fashions a propeller, turning his sailboat into an airboat.  Nim enlists Selkie the sea lion to pass noxious gas near the tourists’ launch.  She then catapults lizards onto their faces on the beach.  Finally, she fakes a volcanic eruption – and gets a real one – to scare off the cruise ship crowd.
 
Expect PG-rated “Nim’s Island” to fare well with kids and fans of the novel.

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