This 2008 movie update of Jules Verne's classic sci-fi/fantasy novel uses the 1864 tale as a template, with its hero, scientist Trevor Anderson (Brendan Fraser), referring to his missing brother's notes on the novel. His nephew Sean (Josh Hutcherson) in tow, Anderson travels to Iceland to investigate his sibling's theories, enlisting a fellow scientist's daughter, Hannah (Anita Briem), as a guide. Soon the trio's Icelandic mountain trek descends into a cave and, then deeper still to, naturally, the center of the earth, where dinosaurs and other strange prehistoric creatures still dwell. After many dangerous encounters with the native flora and fauna, Trevor, Sean, and Hannah must find a way back to the surface or face being stranded miles below the earth's crust.
Directed by Eric Brevig, a veteran Hollywood visual effects supervisor (MEN IN BLACK, THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW), JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH clearly delights in unveiling eye-catching CGI creatures and landscapes. Presented in some theaters in 3D format, the film features lunging beasts and vertigo-inducing visions, which are effective even in 2D, while Fraser, working in the same amiable vein as the MUMMY movies, provides a human focus amidst the special effects. For fans of the ever-likable Fraser and/or the JOURNEY story, there is plenty to enjoy in this effects-heavy adventure film.