Sean (Josh Hutcherson) What, you’ve never seen a dinosaur before?
Trevor (Brendan Fraser): Not with skin on it!
"I just remembered…I hate fieldwork!"
At a glance: Brendan Fraser is his career-defining persona as a likable adventurer in this lower-budget but entertaining re-telling of the classic Jules Verne story
Professor Trevor Anderson (Brendan Fraser) has more problems than his students yawning during his lectures; he is also about to be kicked out of his lab. It probably isn’t the best time for him to have to ‘babysit’ Sean, the disgruntled teenage son of his deceased brother (and fellow scientist), Max. A little exploration of Max’s copy of the book Journey to the Center of the Earth reveals notes about seismic activity that seems to be occurring again. Excited, Trevor grabs Sean and they head for Iceland to investigate. There, they hook up with Hannah (Anita Briem), the daughter of another deceased scientist. Hannah agrees to be their guide. A simple trip to investigate a seismic sensor leads the trio into a descent toward the center of the earth, where they find unique beauty and danger. Rollicking, light, and good fun, this well-paced adventure yarn is unabashedly targeted toward tweens. It might be a little scary for some kids under 7. Brendan Fraser has made a career from playing these kinds of roles: the funny, lovable adventurer who wisecracks his way to success. Lovely Icelandic actress Anita Briem adds a natural beauty and exotic charm to what could have been nothing more than a sidekick part. The special effects are low-budget, but most kids (and adults) won’t care; you just have to augment them with your imagination, rather than relying on Spielberg. It will awaken the inner Vernian lurking in all of us!
"Fraser salvages his reputation as a solid, matinee-style action hero in this family-oriented fantasy."
- Vicki Roach (Daily Telegraph [Australia])
"Most of the movie, directed by Eric Brevig, is as daft, outlandish, and speedy as it needs to be, and, for all its newfangled effects, touchingly old-fashioned in its reverence for the Jules Verne novel that inspired it."
- Anthony Lane (New Yorker)
"Brendan Fraser's playful force of personality rules, 3D or no 3D, one of the few funny guys who could grab attention away from a dinosaur in assault mode, in the center of the earth or anywhere else on the planet."
- Prairie Miller (NewsBlaze)