Journey to the Center of the Earth Reviews

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Super Reviewer
June 2, 2013
You want something to watch for an entire lazy afternoon? well I highly suggest this quirky adventure which is epic in both scale and length. Jules Verne was probably the best fantasy writer to come along, his stories are the stuff of legend and this film is probably the best adaptation of this particular work.

At just over two hours long the film is in depth with detail that's for sure, maybe too much. It takes absolutely ages for the team to actually get on with the expedition, there is tonnes of back story and plot which leads up to the main event. Now some of this is of course required, such as why they are going down into the Earth, the team members, the dastardly men who are clearly not as good willed as the heroes etc...

I have to admit to getting rather bored waiting for this film to get into gear. The film is in two acts almost really, the first act being a whole load of spiel leading up to the crux of the film, the second act being the actual fun part deep inside the Earth. If it wasn't for the eloquent dulcet tones of James Mason I may have given up.

Yep the cast is pretty good, not epically good but a unique selection of character actors that are good. Mason of course is the big draw here and he doesn't let you down, his performance is as solid as an oak tree. I really enjoyed his bold, loud, chauvinistic character and the way he belittles everyone around him as if they were a fool. The whole approach isn't exactly PC but undeniably fun to watch as he moans and groans about letting a woman come on the expedition.

Arlene Dahl is surprisingly attractive in this, didn't really expect that, and I liked her retorts as she goes head to head with Mason's character, you just know they will fall in love awww. Anyone know Dolph Lundgren was in this? I jest of course but Peter Ronson doesn't half look like a young early version of Lundgren, acting is about on par too hehe. Look out for Batman's butler 'Alfred' (Alan Napier) in a small role and of course the sinister looking Thayer David is brilliant as the somewhat nasty 'Count Saknussem' (terrific name), but was he really a bad guy or misunderstood?.

As for the actual adventure within the Earth...its kinda OK, but lacks excitement if you ask me. Now don't get me wrong its a fun varied adventure but you can't help but wish for more big lizards (various types) and some sea monster action. What we get are real iguanas that have been painted up and then blue screened/superimposed with the live action. The effect is pretty sweet really and adds a unique look, clever idea really but I'm still not sure if stop motion may have been a better choice?.

On reflection I must admit to liking the use of real creatures for the monster threat, it does work nicely, I just wish there were more monster threats in the film. The underground sea crossing was begging for some monster action but alas! it still looks good, nice matte painting work. The issue I have with this film is the fact they had gone with more dialog over action, too much action can also be bad of course but this film really needs a boost in places. The finale builds up to it but feels very anti climatic, when they find [i]Atlantis[/i] surely there could of been something lurking.

Oh and that's the other issue, this film has had many alterations from the original story. Not much of a surprise but the original book had sea monsters damn it!. I guess technology limitations come into play but that doesn't excuse the vast amount of other changes eh.

There is a lot of things I like about this film but a lot I don't like, mainly it being too long with too much exposition. Still can't deny the grandiose scope of the film at every turn, fantasy buffs will enjoy I'm sure. Personally I love the quaintness of it all, the way everybody is dressed, everyone is well spoken, they bring a duck along with them on the adventure etc...the era it was made in compliments the story so well.
Super Reviewer
June 29, 2006
This classic adventure movie based on the Jules Verne novel still looks so great and still has such a great and unique atmosphere over 50 years later. The settings of the caves our heroes have to wander through are a great mix of fantastic looking studio sets and real caves. It also helps that the story is enthralling and has the lovable duck Gertrud in the adventurer team. Not only the sequence with the rolling rock implies that Spielberg knew this film very well when he planned his Indiana Jones debut. Very few films of this era have aged so well and are still as much fun to watch as they have been on a rainy childhood memory.
Super Reviewer
May 22, 2011
A exciting, but boring. Journey to the Center, become very silly. Even Henry Levin's direction saves this sci-fi success.
Super Reviewer
August 19, 2007
Harmless silliness with what for the time were probably most impressive effects but which now show their age. Still pleasant in a Saturday matinee sort of way and James Mason is always worth watching.
Super Reviewer
September 28, 2009
Was boring. Sorry, a classic maybe but it?s very dated. Pat Boone singing every five seconds annoyed me too much!
Super Reviewer
½ August 15, 2009
Before I watched "Journey To The Center of The Earth," I was expecting it to be something like "At The Earth's Core" where a scientist travels in a huge drilling machine to get to the center of the earth. But it's not anything like "At The Earth's Core," it's a lot better. Professor Lindenbrook (James Mason) and the crew don't use a machine to get there, they just work their way down on foot.
"Journey To The Center of The Earth" is an exciting journey filled with adventure. You'll see some of the best effects from any movie made in the late 50's when you see some of the caverns and volcanoes in the movie. Some of the best scenes in the movie are when the crew gets chased by a huge boulder and when Alec McEwen (Pat Boone) falls down into a place full of salt. They also run into a few big reptiles who try to stand in their way.

Bottom line: If you like classic adventure movies, "Journey To The Center of The Earth" is definitely one you can't afford to miss. NOTE: That was my Amazon review from the year 2000. I can't wait to see this movie again, especially now that I saw the subpar remake of last year. Several parts I remember from this original even though I've only seen it once....I'm sure I'll buy it one day.
Super Reviewer
January 10, 2008
a wonderful adventure film that has inspired many adventures since. had a solid indiana jones feel to it with good effects and a wonderful cast. i had a lot of fun watching this movie.
Super Reviewer
March 10, 2007
James Mason doing a jig around a giant mushroom. You can't say fairer than that.
Super Reviewer
November 21, 2008
I love the giant lizards as dinosaurs and the duck.
Super Reviewer
½ May 5, 2007
What a fantastical story with nice effects, even now, they don't look so bad. It's a good adventure story about a journey to the world below our feet.
Super Reviewer
½ May 22, 2007
Watched theses as a kid on saturday mornings. Love it.
Super Reviewer
½ March 15, 2007
Haha I loved the way they used lizards for dinosaurs back in the day
March 21, 2013
Caught this one on the TCM Cruise, and while I'm not the biggest fantasy person, this was a very watchable little adventure yarn, though it might be a little bloated along the middle portion for my tastes.

Well worth a look and something I'm happy to have finally marked of my unseen list.
October 5, 2011
This is a tricky movie to breakdown. The concept and imagination of the Jules Verne story are superb and this movie gets off to a great start. It sets the table with good characters and puts in the time to build an understanding of the mission and establish the personalities of each of the party's members. Unexpectedly the move really falls apart during the journey, when it matters most. The visuals at the earlier portion of the expedition are pretty decent but things go south as the movie progresses. By the later scenes the lack of special effects it is just too goofy to overlook today. The filmmakers lost control of what they could and could not effectively represent with their means. Sadly the climax is unsatisfying and plot is completely rushed, rather abruptly, to a finish. Part of me wants this movie to be remade, but the other part of me is not so sure. A remake would offer special effects could deliver the visual splendor and sense of awe that the story intended. Yet, there is another side of me that doubts a remake would do such a good job laying the groundwork and focus on building characters so well.
August 14, 2012
Too much fiction, not enough science and what is with the singing? Is it a musical or an adapation of a classic?

Grade: B-
½ August 13, 2011
Overrall, the movie is okay - it is somewhat entertaining and amusing. However, not only it doesn't truly follow the Jules Verne's book but it is also kind of unrealistic (bags which suddenly dissapear and then comes back...)... Oh, well it is not that bad though, just plot holes here and there...
May 6, 2007
Pretty took me awhile to figure out that it was Pat Boone in the I didn't read the credits or cast first I just popped it in the DVD player and started watching....
½ January 4, 2009
Corny for 2009 (wow, weird saying that) standards, but over all I enjoyed the movie. I could have lived without Pat Boone singing and taking off most of his clothes. Special effects were up with the times, we loved the blood coming from the lizards mouth. Now on to the blu-ray 2008 version.!!!
August 3, 2008
watched it and loved it Josh Huchington is soo hot!! I think that his kid named sean in the movie!!
July 9, 2008
The 1959 scifi classic that started it all, before science figured out Earth wasn't hollow. A fun adventure ride for its time.
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