The 3D version of Journey To The Center Of The Earth comes out on Blu-Ray and DVD this Tuesday (October 28th), with both 2D and 3D versions included in both editions (including red-green 3D glasses). Read More for a review of them…
First, some of the technical details of both the Blu-Ray and DVD releases.
Both versions come in a slipcase that bears a stick-on 3D hologram showing the main
characters in a layered 3D effect. Inside is a standard plastic case with the same
image in 2D.
The Blu-Ray includes both 2D and 3D Widescreen versions on one single-sided disc. The
DVD is a 2-sided disc, with both 2D widescreen and fullscreen versions on side A, and
the 3D Widescreen version on Side B. Because of this, the DVD is not screen printed
like the Blu-Ray disc (which has the cover art on it), but there is simple text
printed around the hub ring.
The Blu-Ray starts directly into a “Play 2D Version” and Play 3D Version” menu, with
no other options. The Pop Up Menu, once playing, gives access to special features, and
even the ability to switch between 2D and 3D versions (with a slight pause).
On the DVD, Side A starts up with an anti-pirating PSA, and ad for the BBC series
DVD release, Get Smart,
Racer, general Warner Home Video Blu-Ray releases, and
Clone Wars (Out November 11th). Before giving a static menu with access to the
movie and special features.
On side B there is a simple static menu that gives access to playing the 3D version, scene and language selection, and the audio commentary.
Languages available are English and Spanish audio and subtitles.
Special Features (under the title Behind The Story):
Commentary by Breandan Fraser and Directory Eric Brevig (Can activate without interrupting the movie – can also access by using the “Audio” button on the remote)
A World Within Our World: About the different Hollow Earth theories, starting from Edmund Halley (of Halley’s Comet fame), giving rise to lots and lots of science fiction stories (and more than a few movies…). A relatively short 10 minute look at the scientific plausability of a world under our own.
Being Josh: A profile of young actor Josh Hutcherson.
How To Make A Dinosaur Drool: The gooier side of special effects work.
DVD version also includes “Adventure At The Center Of The Earth Challenge”, not included on the Blu-Ray version. This is an interactive feature which allows you to do two activities: “Ride the Mine Car” and “Bat the Fish”. This are simple games that require fast reflexes and a good remote.
The story itself isn’t simply a retelling of the original story by Jules Verne (as been done a few times), nor is it really a peripherally related story using the name (I remember a TV pilot which I mercifully cannot find more information on right now), but rather takes the form os a story being inspired by the original – literally, with the long-missing brother of Trevor Anderson (Brendan Frasier, The Mummy) having been inspired by the Jules Verne tale to look in to whether it is indeed possible such a world exists, and when Trevor finds some clues, it leads him, his nephew Sean (Josh Hutcherson, Bridge to Terabithia), and their Icelandic guide Hannah ?sgeirsson (Anita Briem, The Tudors) on a voyage of discovery. BY acknowledging the original story in this way, they can take liberties with the story, yet still tell an effective tale that at least takes a number of elements from the original story. In the process, as with most Brendan Frasier vehicles, it is transformed into a comedic fantasy adventure.
Most of 3D effects were good, and not as cheesy as previous attempts at 3D movies, where stunts were used simply to show off the 3D effect more than actually be part of the story. There were a few though, but they could be overlooked.
Some amounts of scientific explanations (with a dash of “handwavium”) are used to explain some of the improbable scenes, and while they may or may not have basis in any sort of scientific theory, at least they tried instead of just leaving it with no explanation of any kind. But to be sure, some elements are there strictly for humor value or 3D effect, such as the wild mine cart ride – which was still cool.
In the end though, those looking for a hard science adventure better look somewhere else. After all, Brendan Frasier is in this film – you didn’t expect it to be serious, did you? Overall it was an enjoyable romp through the Jules Verne tale. The comedic elements are very similar to Frasier’s Mummy franchise, yet the film can be played to a younger audience (getting a PG rating instead of PG-13).