And while Peyton's Journey 2 essentially feels like the cinematic equivalent of ingesting two dozen Pixie sticks and then riding a roller coaster for 94 minutes, somehow it manages to strangely work, hiding the mundane script and desperately thin character development deep within the wonders of the Mysterious Island just long enough for audiences to forget the flaws and lose themselves along the way.
The performances in Journey 2 are all decent enough especially since the material really isn't there for any of the talented players to elevate their work in any way. Caine plays the grandfather role here on the silly and zany side and perhaps anywhere else it would make me cringe more to see the acclaimed actor don a motorcycle jacket for a lame joke but it's clear that Caine knew what he was signing up for with Journey 2 and just enjoys the silliness of the role with a twinkle in his eye.
As someone who relishes anything featuring Johnson in it, he does a pretty decent job with what is essentially Brendan Fraser's sloppy seconds (not sure why he didn't return but frankly, give me the "Brahma Bull" over "Encino Man" any day) and clearly has a lot of fun with his role as struggling stepdad Hank. He's charming as ever and of course the real reason anyone over 18 is showing up for Journey 2 is to see his "Pec Pop of Love" which is sublimely giggle-inducing.
And while I'm definitely biased in my opinion, the facts don't lie- no matter what movie or franchise it is, Johnson makes any project he's involved with infinitely more interesting whenever he's onscreen. He elevated the Fast Five franchise right when it was in jeopardy of going into retread territory; after a horrendous original movie that pissed off countless fans who grew up in the 80s, suddenly G.I. Joe 2 is one of the must-see movies of the 2012 summer and once again- Journey 2, the sequel no one asked for and most people didn't even know was coming until about a month ago, is far better than it has any right to be.
While millions of his fans have always known that Johnson has a rather unique star power (imagine Jason Statham doing a kids flick), it seems like finally Hollywood is catching on and using that thousand-watt grin and endless charisma for some good finally and while of course I always prefer to see Johnson in more serious fare, he managed to make Journey 2 entertaining for this overgrown kid at heart.
In terms of eye candy, Journey 2 looks amazing; the colors, the visual effects and the 3D are all stunning and I must admit, experiencing the adventure of Journey 2 in IMAX was pretty damn breathtaking. If you can't afford the hefty ticket price of 3D and IMAX, go with just 3D then; it's definitely worth the two extra bucks (there's one particular scene with sharks that felt like an homage to Jaws that left me chuckling) if you can swing.
So despite its numerous cringe-inducing moments and a slew of unbearably inane jokes (most coming from the usually stellar Guzman), Journey 2: The Mysterious Island is a definitely a fun time to be had for parents with young kids; thanks to a wealth of thrilling action sequences, children will no doubt remain highly entertained throughout and thankfully there's enough fun to be had during the adventure so that adults won't be bored out of their skulls either.