STUDIO: Genius Products
MSRP: $19.95
RATED: Not Rated
  “The Journey of a Lifetime: A sit-down interview with Golden Globe winner Peter Fonda”
Behind the Scenes with Stars Ricky Schroeder and Victoria Pratt

The Pitch

They’re going to the center of the Earth.

The Humans

Peter Fonda, Rick Schroeder, Victoria Pratt, Mike Dopud and Steven Grayhm

It’s like Brideshead Revisited, just less queer.

The Nutshell

Journey to the Center of the Earth is a 90 minute telefilm remake courtesy of RHI Entertainment. Done relatively cheap for the Hallmark Channel, it’s a fun piece of genre entertainment. You’re not going to get any big spectacles. But, what you see are fun jaunts through the imaginative world of Jules Verne. I hope to hell that some of the younger Chewers know who Jules Verne might be.

Hobbiton is apparently the center of the Earth.

The Lowdown

Jules Verne has had a history of iffy Hollywood adaptations. The man can’t fight back from the grave, so Robert Halmi takes his pick of public domain titles to rework. It’s not that Halmi does a bad job. It’s just that he throws big ideas on the small screen. That’s not where they belong.

Journey to the Center of the Earth opens on frontier woman, as she approaches a mining party about a map. She’s got a map to a local mine shaft that descends into the center of the Earth. She wants a team to explore the shaft, as she has hopes of finding her husband alive. The majority of the film is relayed from Abel’s diary. Abel’s the young guy who doesn’t really develop his own personality. He kind of hops along until we all get to meet Peter Fonda.

The Golden Compass means shit against the Mole People.

Peter Fonda is noteworthy in this film. He’s the missing husband that’s discovered in the Earth’s center. What’s so funny about his performance is that he’s so much better than the rest of the cast. He brings nuance and belief to the role that doesn’t really demand it. I wouldn’t call it hammy, it’s more of an overdressed performance.

But, if my biggest complaint is that someone tried too hard, then I’m fishing for a bitch. Pre-teen kids will eat this up on a lazy afternoon. That’s about it, as it plays to a weird audience. You’ve got to grasp them before they expect more than this film has to offer. But, they can’t be too young to understand what’s going on. I’d still recommend it.

Ken Burns Vision.

The Package

Journey to the Center of the Earth arrives on DVD with a fair release. You get substantial intervies with the film’s cast. They all seem enthused about the project and no one phones it in. It’s just that they seem to find something in the movie that the audience doesn’t. They seem to forgiven the poor creation of the film.

is pretty strong. Well, strong for a telefilm. I noticed a lot of edge enhancement during night scenes, but the daylight exteriors were handled well. Watching it on an upscaler unveiled extra scan lines during the film’s closing. But, there wasn’t a lot of noise to throw me out of the action.

In the end, Journey to the Center of the Earth is an afternoon filler movie. Those films have their place in the world. It’s just that they’re rentals. There’s no reason for you to own the title, as I don’t see anyone watching more than once in their life. Take that for what you will. 

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5.0 out of 10