Journey to the Centre of the Earth-3D (2008)

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Released 2-Apr-2009

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Audio
Audio Commentary
Featurette-3
Game-2
Alternative Version-3D version
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2008
Running Time 88:45
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (49:56)
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Eric Brevig
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Brendan Fraser
Josh Hutcherson
Anita Briem
Seth Meyers
Jean Michel Paré
Jane Wheeler
Frank Fontaine
Giancarlo Caltabiano
Kaniehtiio Horn
Case ?
RPI ? Music Andrew Lockington


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Journey to the Center of the Earth is the latest in a long line of films, TV movies and TV series to be made based on the famous science fiction novel by Jules Verne. The best known adaptation is probably the 1959 Oscar-nominated film starring Pat Boone & James Mason, however many other versions have been made including one just a year ago starring Rick (Don't call me Ricky) Schroeder. This most recent version has been made to show off the latest 3D technology as opposed to really telling the story of the novel. This 2 disc set contains both the 2D version and the 3D version, both of which were released theatrically. For the purposes of this review I will treat the 2D version as the main feature and the 3D version as an extra. My reasoning is that firstly the set is structured to have the 2D version as Disc 1 and secondly because the review discs did not come with the new style Magenta 3D glasses I could not watch the 3D version properly. I tried using my 3D glasses from Spy Kids 3 but they are the old red/blue style and didn't really work properly.

    Before I get into the meat of the discussion about this film, I must first launch into a bit of a diatribe about this DVD set. For some time now we have been afflicted with anti-piracy warnings which cannot be skipped or fast-forwarded but this set takes this to a new extreme. On BOTH discs of this two disc set the menu is preceded by an anti-piracy warning and three trailers. Well, doesn't sound too bad until you realise that all four of these are unskippable, un fast-forwardable and you cannot jump to the menu. You must wait OVER 6 MINUTES from when you put the disc in until you can play the movie. Ludicrous!

   Anyway, on to the film itself. This new adaptation of the novel very much treats the film as an action/adventure for pre-teens rather than science fiction and accordingly it is quite dumbed down and very focused on stunts and visual effects, especially setting up for 3D effects. For example, there are obviously abandoned underground mine railways under remote mountains in Iceland and of course our heroes must climb on board and careen down and around all the corners. Looks good but doesn't add much to the story which pretty much seems to be the way all the decisions were made during this film's development. Supposedly, the original director left the project due to the studio's desire to turn it into a 3D 'theme park ride'.

    The story as it is told here involves geological scientist, Prof Trevor Anderson (Brendan Fraser who is also credited as an Exec Producer) whose brother, Max disappeared 10 years earlier, presumed dead. He was following a trail of scientific evidence which he felt would lead him to volcanic tubes which were the way to access the center of the Earth. Trevor is wrapped up in his science and has little time in his life for anything else. His sister-in-law, Max's ex-wife, asks Trevor to look after her & Max's son, Sean (Josh Hutcherson) for a few days while she moves them to a new house in Canada. When she drops the reluctant 13 year old off, she also brings a box of Max's stuff including an old copy of Jules Verne's Journey to the Center of the Earth. In this Trevor finds notes and data which lead him to believe that seismic conditions at the time of his brother's disappearance are being repeated currently. This makes him drop everything and take Sean on a field trip to Iceland. Along the way they pick up Hannah (Anita Briem who is actually Icelandic) who is the incredulous daughter of one of Max's scientific buddies and becomes Trevor & Sean's mountain guide. She leads them to a remote mountain and after taking shelter during a storm they find themselves falling down a hole towards the center of the Earth. Their challenge now is to survive and find a way to get back home.

    Overall, this film is very flat (Odd for a 3D film, he he) and feels quite forced (especially the badly written dialogue). The CGI is good in parts and really obvious in others. The acting is quite average and even Brendan Fraser seems tired and uninterested. Chemistry is virtually non-existent between him and Anita Briem. Some would probably argue that Brendan Fraser was never a great actor however, I have enjoyed his performances in other films much more than this, even the very ordinary Dudley Do Right. On the other hand, the pace moves along quickly and some of the action sequences are quite entertaining. One unintentionally funny scene was the fight with the giant Venus fly traps. I was thinking they looked like a part of the female anatomy but didn't want to offend my wife by mentioning it. However, when she said the same thing unprompted I knew it wasn't just my dirty mind.

    The film was directed by special effects guru Eric Brevig as his first feature which may explain some of the issues.

    I can see where this film would be enjoyable for kids in the 8-14 age group but adults will certainly struggle. It's a shame because it could have been much better.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is generally very good but has some strange issues possibly driven by being filmed for 3D.

    The feature is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which is close to the original aspect ratio of 1.85:1.

    The picture was quite clear and sharp throughout without being as crisp as most new blockbuster transfers, with no evidence of low level noise or grain of any description.The shadow detail was excellent.

    The colour was surprisingly dull and lifeless for a new film especially in the foreground. Faces were pale, making the characters look pale and drawn.

    There were no noticeable artefact issues.

    There are subtitles in English for the Hearing Impaired which are clear and easy to read. The commentary also had subs available.

    The layer change occurs at 49:56 and causes a bad pause.
    

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio quality is excellent.

    This DVD contains two audio options (not including the commentary), an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack encoded at 448 Kb/s and an English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo soundtrack encoded at 224 Kb/s.

    Dialogue was generally clear and easy to understand and there was no problem with audio sync. Some dialogue was a little difficult to catch especially the Icelandic accented Anita Briem.

    The score of this film is very heroic but somewhat over the top at times.

    The surround speakers were in constant use, filling out the sound stage especially during action scenes but also the accentuate the 3D effects such as a yo-yo.

    The subwoofer is also used a great deal for explosions, dinosaurs, eruptions, rocks falling and lots of other stuff.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    Extars have subtitles available and are generally non-16x9 enhance widescreen.

Menu

    The menu design is unexciting, basically just a still picture from the film. Disc 2 is virtually identical.

Disc 1

Commentary - Brendan Fraser & Director Eric Bresig

    A jokey and friendly commentary which left me pretty cold. It is available on either the 2D or 3D version of the film but is the same. They describe onscreen action quite a bit and discuss some of the technical work involved in doing a 3D film.

A World Within our World (10:19)

    The highlight of the two disc is this featurette about the history of belief in a 'hollow earth' theory including some scientists involved along with crackpot religious leaders. Narrated by Anita Briem. Well worth a look.

Being Josh (6:01)

    On set video diary of Josh Hutcherson's average day on set. Yawn.

How to make Dino Drool (2:47)

    Short featurette about the various recipes they tried for Dinosaur Drool to drop on Josh Hutcherson's face.

Adventure at the Center of the Earth

    This contains two games based on the film, Ride the Mine Car & Bat The Fish. Both involved using the remote to direct yourself. On my equipment, this did not work and it seemed I got further in the game if I just didn't do anything. Your results may vary.

Disc 2

3D Version of the film (88:53)

    As I mentioned above I do not have the correct glasses for this film as they are were not included with the review discs. Accordingly, I can confirm that the 3D version is present but can't really comment otherwise. It has the same aspect ratio and audio options as the 2D version.

Commentary - Brendan Fraser & Director Eric Bresig

    The same commentary is available on both discs.

   

 

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;

    On this basis the local version gets the win.

Summary

    A flat action adventure film dressed up in 3D clothes.

    The video quality is generally good.

    The audio quality is excellent.

    The set has a decent set of extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Review Equipment
DVDSony DVP-NS708H upscaling to 1080p, using HDMI output
DisplayLG Scarlet 42LG61YD 106cm Full HD LCD. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
6-minute wait at start -
unskippable ant-piracy - penguin (there is no bio)
Stupid sexy anti-piracy - Le Messor (bio logy class) REPLY POSTED
Re: Stupid sexy anti-piracy - Bill T