Review: Journey 2 The Mysterious Island

As a fan of all genres that provide high quality entertainment and good writing, I am not the least bit twitchy about renting (or even going to see) a family film if I think it will deliver.  Journey 2: The Mysterious Island is definitely one of those films.  As a sequel it transcends the original with great humor that any kid at heart can enjoy.  It’s a simple story about fatherhood, family bonds, and appreciating those you can rely on to be in your corner.

Far from the typical storyline about oblivious parents who don’t understand their out of control kid, Journey 2 offers a refreshingly interested and helpful stepfather Hank (Dwayne Johnson).  Despite being pretty much the perfect parent, Sean (Josh Hutcherson) and his grandfather (Michael Caine) refuse to accept him at first.  Dwayne Johnson is always awesome and he brings everything to the table for Journey 2.  Despite Johnson’s mass and proven comedic skills, the bulk of the comedy comes from other father in the film (Luis Guzman), the pilot who agrees to fly Hank and Sean to the island.  His silly shenanigans are a delight and make this just a good fun movie to enjoy if you want some really light entertainment.

The film is never bogged down or overburdened with a message.  The message is clear, but it’s packaged cleverly within the unfolding drama and never becomes preachy as these films often can be.  The special effects were good enough, but not prize-winning.  All in all, it was a well-balanced family adventure that is definitely worth watching with or without kids, if you are in the right mood. A

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Review: 21 Jump Street

Even though I never watched the TV show I was interested in how this movie was going to turn out.  I just wasn’t curious enough to check it out in theaters.  When it came out on DVD I figured it was a good rental for $1.20 at Redbox and I was very pleasantly surprised.  I don’t think it’s franchise big, or even worth buying, but it is good solid entertainment, that is very funny and well crafted.

It’s quick pace and reliance on the simplicity of the concept help the story to focus on what is important from an information stand point, and how to extract great comedy from those situations and characters alike.  Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill are a great unlikely set of partners and the fish out of water effect on the guys discovering how high school has changed just a few short years after being students themselves is priceless.

It’s a story about two guys who were very different from each other in high school join the force and learn to rely on each other and ultimately becomebest friends.  That friendship is strained when an undercover mission forces them to reverse the roles they once played as real life students.

There is a lot of great stuff in the film bt what I mostly admire is it’s willingness to admit that less is more and not subject it’s audience to forty-five minutes of frivolous junk.  The value of the film increases tremendously when the filmmaker has that discipline.  Good material, short and sweet, and very entertaining comedy/action make 21 Jump Street a winner, even if it isn’t quite a classic. A