What can I say? I love 3D! From the moment I began watching 3D content in my home I quickly discovered that I needed more content. I suspect that those of you just purchasing your first 3D hardware will acquire the same ferocious appetite. That's why I became the HTF 3D ADDICT. I personally love images that pop off the screen and come inches away from your face without becoming overly gimmicky. However, I certainly appreciate the nature documentaries that offer beautiful depth and separation. These are not necessarily reviews of the film themselves. I am not going to concentrate on story or supplements -- you can find the 2D reviews elsewhere on this forum. My job is to let you know exactly what kind of 3D experience to expect from the titles that are being released. As I will be receiving a handful of new product from the studios expect to see more title coverage.
JOURNEY TO THE CENTER
OF THE EARTH
Studio: Warner Bros.
Product Release: January 17, 2012
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
Running Time: 92 Minutes
ON A SCALE 0-5
Overall 3D Presentation Rating: 4
3D Separation: 4
3D In Yo' Face Factor: 5
The experience of watching Journey to the Center
of the Earth is like taking a deep breath of fresh air.
It harkens back to a time when there were more 3D films
being shot natively. By this, I mean they were conceptualized
and designed for the format rather than upconverted in
What's rather odd is that Journey To The Center of the
Earth, as tremendously fun as it is, falls short of being the
perfect 3D action film. However, when you discover that
most movies currently released on 3D Blu-ray consist of
upconversions, the film somehow manages to rise to the
top of "must have purchases."
I'll explain this in a moment.
I don't think the story is unfamiliar --- especially for anyone
who has read Jules Verne novel or watched the spectacular
1959 film this remake is loosely adapted from. In this
modernized version, Professor Trevor Anderson (Brendan
Fraser) is on a quest to find his lost brother. With his nephew
Sean (John Hutcherson) at his side, they head to Iceland to
explore strange seismic activities that may be their key to
a portal that will transport them to the deepest regions inside
the earth. With the help of a beautiful mountain guide (Anita
Briem) and the Jules Verne book to guide them, the team
soon finds themselves living a real-world science fiction fantasy.
It's rather a shame that a terrific novel and a well-respected
1950s film was ultimately rebranded into a juvenile B-rated
remake that gears itself towards young moviegoers. However,
that being said, I was awfully surprised as to how much I was
enjoying this popcorn flick, particularly for the fact that it does
come across as a wild, mindless theme-park roller coaster ride
with lots of WOW moments along the way thanks to its abundance
of 3D gimmickry.
By all rights, Journey to the Center of the Earth should have
been the Blue Ribbon prize winner for all the personal standards
I have set on what this format should provide to its audience. The
"In yo' face" factor is through the roof here as the film certainly
succeeds at exploiting the format by throwing everything it can
towards the viewer. The intent is certainly evident within the film's
initial first frames as we watch a woodlouse's antenna's poking
itself forward. From that point on, viewers should expect to be
bombarded with objects that include a retractable measuring tape,
a hurled-yo-yo, spilled molecular balls and a fallen flashlight (to
name just a few). While some may consider the amount of effort
given to these thrown effects as "cheesy," I think it works perfectly
for a film that doesn't seem to take itself very seriously.
So here's the problem: Journey to the Center of the Earth suffers
from looking dated as far as what the 3D technology should look
like. Sure, we are only talking about a film that is a few years old,
but for some reason, the quality of the 3D presentation falls just
short of being as incredible as it should. Overall depth level is good,
but I felt it could have been a bit better. The film's intended 3D effect
work doesn't quite pack its intended punch. For instance, most of
the more prominently projected objects lose their effectiveness due
to a slight amount of double-imaging as it moves closer to the viewer.
Even intentions to have objects seemingly dance before your face,
such as blown giant dandelion seeds, don't come off as effectively
as they should.
There are traces of ghosting to be seen now and then, but outside of
the protruding effect work, I didn't find it to be a constant problem.
Perhaps the problem lies in the overall murky look of the film which
is something that I am certain is intentional rather than a transfer
problem. The outdoor scenes look wonderfully crisp, but once the
journey goes inside the cave, towards the center of the Earth, images
become rather subdued and cloudy resulting in a slight loss of detail.
The film's most climatic fast-paced action sequences that involve a
mine car or dinosaur chase, have a slightly smeared look to it. In all,
I am rather disappointed that with all the effort put into creating the
film's beautiful cavernous world, its clarity is somewhat dulled.
The real show stealer here is the film's DTS-HD MA soundtrack which
is perfect in all respects. This is a powerful, boomy audio presentation
with enough LFE activity to shake the entire floor during the film's seismic
events and action sequences (particularly a dinosaur chase). Viewers will
find themselves completely immersed in the ambient activity that is
delegated to the rear channels where the subtle nuances of the underworld
(such as various drips and creaks) are effectively conveyed.
Journey to the Center of the Earth arrives as a single 3D/2D Blu-ray
disc housed in lenticular packaging. In addition to commentary by
Brendan Fraser and Director Eric Brevig, there are 20 minutes of
family-friendly special features that include How to make a dinosaur
drool; A World Within our Own that looks at historical theories about
what lies below our planet's crust; Being Josh which profiles 12-year-old
costar Josh Hutcherson. The disc also comes with an $8 coupon off
the admission of Journey 2 The Mysterious Island which opens in
theaters this February.
I have such a love/hate relationship with this 3D Blu-ray release of
Journey to the Center of the Earth. I had never watched this film
previously, had low expectations going in, and it turned out that I
enjoyed watching this onscreen adventure more than any other 3D
film in recent memory. It really captures that essence of being on
a theme park ride, placed in the middle of the action, with all this neat
stuff being thrown towards you. For me, it's exactly what 3D is all
The problem is that based on the film's low-budget effects, dulled
look and 3D technology that was about to be improved upon by
James Cameron, the film falls just short of being as tremendous
as I had hoped.
Still, somehow, Journey to the Center of the Earth gets placed on
my list of "must purchase" Blu-ray releases. If you are buying into
the format for that 3D WOW factor, this just happens to be a film that
delivers it. This makes for a perfect family film whose 3D gimmickry
will induce screams of joy from the kids. What more could you ask for?
Images are for illustrative purpose only not representative of the picture quality of this disc.
LG 60PX950 THX Certified 3D display
Oppo BDP-93 3D Blu-ray Player
Denon 3808CI Receiver
Atlantic Technology H-PAS AT-1 fronts, 4400 center; 4200 rear speakers
SV Sound Subwoofer