The follow-up to the 2008 worldwide hit “Journey to the Center of the Earth,” New Line Cinema’s “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island” takes moviegoers on a fun and fantastic new adventure to parts unknown, a place so remote it has lain hidden for centuries… and, when found, is almost impossible to escape. The film stars Dwayne Johnson, Vanessa Hudgens, Josh Hutcherson and Michael Caine.
A fan of the first film which introduced intrepid young explorer Sean Anderson (Hutcherson) to audiences worldwide, director Brad Peyton says, “I wanted to embrace Sean’s story and advance it, with amazing new landscapes and a fresh set of challenges that will take him further than he’s ever been because he’s not a kid anymore. He’s seventeen now and ready to blaze his own trail in the world. This is his chance to prove he’s not just along for the ride; he’s an explorer in his own right.”
Peyton is no stranger to combining action and comedy with a sweep of scale and a dash of the unexpected. Upon seeing the script for “Journey 2,” he says, “I never imagined doing it small. Right away, I knew it had to involve land, sea and air, with creatures, caves, storms, underwater battles and aerial chases, and all of it set against the most incredible, breathtaking terrain. That meant utilizing the latest and best technology, to deliver something special in the 3D realm that ‘Journey to the Center of the Earth’ helped to establish.”
In 2008 that film broke ground as the first narrative feature to employ the Fusion System, a sophisticated digital 3D camera rig developed by James Cameron and cinematographer Vince Pace, and subsequently used on “Avatar.” Not surprisingly, the “Journey 2” filmmakers returned to the Cameron Pace Group for state-of-the-art strategies and equipment to capture the depth and scope Peyton wanted to achieve in a range of real-world environments.
Dedicated to a full location shoot from the start, the director states, “I felt the actors should have dirt under their feet. I wanted a real jungle, not a green-screen jungle. As the setting for so many spectacular images, it needed that literal grounding.”
The filmmakers also liked the fact that the characters thrown into this tropical paradise-turned-deathtrap must use their wits as well as their reflexes to survive, especially when they discover that plant and animal life there grows by its own rules.
It’s the Island Rule, in fact, also known as Foster’s Rule. Producer Charlotte Huggins explains, “It’s a genuine biogeographic theory, that, over the course of evolution in an isolated environment, large things can become small and small things become large. So a herd of elephants there might look and act exactly like elephants except that they’re miniatures, while butterflies could look and act exactly as butterflies would, except that they’re enormous.”
The downside of such visual wonders would be great carnivorous birds and lizards, some the length of a football field, who see the explorers as their next meal.
Michael Caine, starring as Anderson patriarch Alexander, who made wanderlust the family business and is the catalyst for this latest excursion, acknowledges, “This is no children’s fairy tale. It’s very fast, and the kids are going to have to be smart to keep up.”
Opening in theatres beginning February 2012, “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island” is a New Line Cinema presentation, will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.