Posted on Saturday, February 23rd, 2008 by Peter Sciretta
Last night I was lucky enough to screen 20 or so minutes of the upcoming Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D. Brendan Fraser was in attendance, speaking at snail speed as he was obviously ill. During Fraser’s panel, the actor explained that when he received the draft of the script, it had been rewritten many times by many writers. This is normal in Hollywood, he added. I thought to myself, ‘Yeah, it’s probably normal for a Brendan Fraser movie…” I digress.
So what is so special about Journey 3D? It’s the first digital 3D feature film created with the super duper special fusion high definition camera system that James Cameron used on Avatar. The camera system allows the two camera eyes to be moved closer or further apart to massage the 3D effect. Apparently you could never accomplish this with a 3D film camera.
We screened five scenes, an intense mine cart rollercoaster ride almost directly stolen from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. I expect some people might feel sick after this one, but the 3D effects are some of the best I have seen to date. You feel like you’re riding a theme park ride. The next sequence took place in a cave involving electric birds which fly around off of the screen and glow. A sequence on a rainy boat where they are being attacked by a swarm of huge pirana-like fish. The rain flies off the screen, out at the audience. In another sequence Brendan Fraser’s character saves Hannah from a giant carnivorous plant. And the last sequence involved Josh Hutcherson’s character trying to scape the wrath of a large T-Rex.
The special effects look very untextured compared to a lot of the big budget films of today, but like Beowulf the 3D quickly makes you forget some of the visual shortcomings. The story is as lame as it can get, packed with cheesy one-liners that a six year old might not even laugh at. That said, this was a very fun experience in a theme park ride kind of way. This is by far the most impressive 3D I have seen to date on a big screen release. Every shot was planned with that intention, and you can tell. But at the same time it doesn’t over-do the pop-out-at-you effects. There is a story after-all, unfortunately.
Director Eric Brevig worked on Captin EO and Honey I Shrunk the Audience, and what he has created is a theme park ride which can be shown at your local multiplex. The technological advances and fun factor over-weigh the horrendously bad script and subpar special effects. But the question is, is anyone interested in seeing this movie?