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Our First Test-Screening Report For JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH 3D With Brendan Fraser!

Hey, everyone. ”Moriarty” here. This sounds like the sort of thing Walden Media was making when they first got started. Lately, I think they’ve gotten better at what they do, more focused on the types of films they want to make, but this reminds me of their godawful AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS, at least based on the description this spy offers up.

Hello Harry, saw this last night in Thousand Oaks and thought you might like a report. “Journey to the Center of the Earth” gets an upgrade to 3D and a downgrade from erudite James Mason to a mugging Brendan Frasier in this Walden remake of the Verne classic. Definitely reoriented towards the kiddie set, “Journey 3D” resets the story to modern times with geologist Frasier stumbling onto the path below after trying to retrieve a volcano monitor set by his brother. With nephew Josh Hutcherson and young guide Anita Briem, the trio sightsee a series of implausible but pretty wonders before returning to the surface. The first live-action movie completely shot in 3D to make it to the screen in the new wave of coming 3D films, the test workprint wasn’t finished – some texture mapping and lighting was still rough and the soundtrack mostly temped to “Batman Begins” and “Spiderman”. The 3D effects are nice although a little heavy on Count Floyd moments in the beginning – yo-yo’s comin’ at ya, tape measures sticking in your face, etc. These were done to death back in the mini 3D boomlet of the 80s (and spoofed nicely in “Friday the 13 3D”) so I was a little surprised to see them here. Once the film gets to Iceland though, it settles down into a set of vistas roughly equivalent to the original film although with a decidedly more juvenile tone, including a friendly glowing blue bird that wouldn’t be out of place in a Disney film. (Frasier identifies the bird as an Archaeopteryx, which has a much different appearance and makes me wonder if their cobalt canary is a placeholder figure.) Logic isn’t the film’s strong suit – they have to get out before periodic heat spells cook them, but apparently doesn’t bother the birds or the cavern’s one lone T-Rex, whose diet when he’s not noshing on actors isn’t apparent either since there’s no other animals shown except him and the birds. The one out-of-left-field note is Anita Briem as the daughter of the Icelandic geologist Frasier’s brother was associated with. Briem’s age isn’t specified although she seems closer to young Hutcherson’s age than Frasier’s, yet suddenly at the end she and Frasier suddenly start getting cozy, which felt a little odd and wasn’t set up in the movie at all. According to IMDB, the movie isn’t set for release until summer of next year and the special effects aren’t that far from finished, so Walden might be giving themselves plenty of time for reshoots if initial tests aren’t positive. I found it entertaining enough although still inferior to the old Fox film, but am not sure who their target audience is. It’s a little juvenile for adults, but other than nifty visuals, I’m not sure it’s going to appeal much to kids. If “Journey” wasn’t a 3D film, it would be instantly forgettable. The Lone Ranger
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