Skip to main content

Journey to the Center of the Earth: Movie Review

Movieguide Magazine


Share This article

Journey to the Center of the Earth is a fantastic family adventure. It tells the story of Trevor, a college professor played by Brendan Fraser, whose scientist brother, Max, disappeared during a volcano expedition 10 years earlier. Trevor’s work at the university has been based on his brother’s theories on seismic activity and volcanic unrest, but the funding is about to be pulled out from under him.

Frustrated, Trevor returns to his disheveled home only to find out that his nephew, Max’s son Sean (played by Josh Hutcherson), has arrived for a two-week visit. While going through a box of Max’s belongings, the two discover a well-worn copy of Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth. The book contains Max’s scientific notes in the margins. Trevor realizes that his brother was a “Vernian,” someone who seeks to prove that the book by Jules Verne is based on a true story. Trevor and Sean set out to discover what Max discovered and to vindicate his life long research.

Following the clues from Max’s notes, Sean and Trevor head to Iceland in search of a fellow Vernian, an older scientist whose name Max had written in the book. When they locate the man’s address, they find his daughter, Hannah (played by Anita Briem), who works as a guide through the dangerous Icelandic volcanic terrain. Trevor hires Hannah to lead them to the volcanic area that where Max left a seismic sensor.

A storm breaks out, and the trio gets trapped in a cave. While looking for a way out, they accidentally delve deeper into the earth and encounter fanciful creatures that they must battle to make it to the center. Once they arrive at the center, they are in for a surprise. Then, their task becomes finding clues to a way back to the top of the earth.

Journey to the Center of the Earth is a fun summer movie that’s big on adventure. The added 3-D technology in many theaters brings an exciting “in your face” element to the action. The old cardboard 3D glasses are not used. In their place are stylized plastic glasses.

This movie is on the cutting edge of 3-D technology and holds many visual surprises. The world the characters find at the center of the earth is beautiful and awe-inspiring, augmented by the 3-D effect, which makes it appear more lifelike.

The action sequences are very exciting, though the plot itself, which consists of going from one predicament or physical obstacle to another, is a little bit thin. Even so, Hutcherson as the son and newcomer Briem both give strong, appealing performances, as does Anita Briem as Hannah. Fraser really stands out; he delivers a solid, heroic performance showing why he makes a good action star. The dialogue in the script and the acting really brings an emotional depth to the relationship between the uncle and his nephew. The connection between them is the nephew's missing father, the uncle's beloved brother. In that sense, the movie reflects God's biblical commands that uncles have an obligation to care for their nephews and nieces when their brother or sister is dead, missing, or needs help. The movie has no positive references to God, however, which could have made the movie’s thematic content even stronger.

The directing in Journey is very sharp, moving the plot along quickly. The editing and music complement the directing very well.

All in all, Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D is a fun, exhilarating popcorn movie that takes the audience on a mostly “clean” ride. Some scary moments and threatening creatures require caution for younger children.

NOTE from Dr. Ted Baehr, publisher of Movieguide Magazine. For more information from a Christian perspective, order the latest Movieguide Magazine by calling 1-800-899-6684(MOVI) or visit our website at Movieguide is dedicated to redeeming the values of Hollywood by informing parents about today's movies and entertainment and by showing media executives and artists that family-friendly and even Christian-friendly movies do best at the box office year in and year out. Movieguide now offers an online subscription to its magazine version, at The magazine, which comes out 25 times a year, contains many informative articles and reviews that help parents train their children to be media-wise consumers.

Share This article

About The Author

MOVIEGUIDE® was founded in 1985 by Dr. Ted Baehr, past president of the Episcopal Radio & Television Foundation and former director of the Television Center at the City University of New York. MOVIEGUIDE® is affiliated with the Christian Film & Television Commission® ministry (CFTVC). Both MOVIEGUIDE® and CFTVC are dedicated to redeeming the values of the entertainment industry, according to biblical principles, by influencing industry executives and artists and by informing and educating the public about the influence of the entertainment media and about how to train their families to become