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Journey to the Center of the Earth (BD)]]>
When a seismic geologist (Brendan Fraser) discovers his lost brother's notes in a copy of the titular Jules Verne novel, he and his nephew (Josh Hutcherson, Bridge to Terabithia, Zathura) head to Iceland. There, joined by a fetching mountain guide (played by Icelandic actress Anita Briem), they get trapped in a cavern and go down, down, down, finally arriving in a primeval underworld full of prehistoric beasts and carnivorous plants. It would be pointless to complain about the empty-headedness of it all; Journey to the Center of the Earth aspires to be a kinesthetic experience. It wants to engage your adrenal glands, not your brain or your heart (the dialogue and characters are so generic, the script may have been cut-and-pasted from previous versions of Verne's book). Fraser, with his goofy handsomeness and accessible presence, provides a reasonably human axis around which all the frantic flying and swooping CGI effects revolve. The movie is as hollow as the world it depicts, but as mindless action movies go, you could do a lot worse. (Note: Journey to the Center of the Earth was released in theaters in 3-D, full of whizz-bang demonstrations of how far 3-D technology had come--trilobite antennae quivering towards the audience, a T-rex lunging out of the frame, even affable star Brendan Fraser spitting on us--as well as a half-dozen action sequences clearly destined to become video games or theme park rides.) --Bret Fetzer
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