“Journey to The Center Of The Earth 3-D” &
Jones: The Kingdom of the Crystal
Both are action-adventure movies, and with both, suspension of
disbelief is easier done with tongue firmly planted in the cheek.
We’re just having fun here, we’re not really trying to convince you
that it’s real, so just sit back and enjoy the story.
In “Journey,” a nerdy professor/scientist (Brendan Fraser) with a
whimsical view of Jules Verne, stumbles on the evidence of his lost
brother’s quest for the missing passageway to the mythical world below us.
Along for the ride is his teenaged nephew (Josh Hutcherson), at first
surly and uncooperative, but eventually thoroughly enthused, and an Icelandic
cave guide (Anita Briem, who really is from
), who at first is aloof and material (“I’m just in this for the money,
and the clock’s ticking”), but then provides the romantic spark for our
In “Crystal Skull,” a nerdy professor/scientist (Harrison Ford),
with a whimsical history of previous expeditions, like the lost ark, stumbles
on evidence of a certain crystal skull with mythical powers, dating from the
pre-Mayan era in
. Along for the ride is his
thug-wannabe-teenaged-sidekick-in-training named Mutt (Shia LaBeouf), at first
surly and uncooperative, but eventually thoroughly enthused.
Together they rescue from the hostile indigenous tribe his mother
(Karen Allen, in a reprise of her original role in 1981’s “Raiders of the
Lost Ark”), who at first verbally spars with our hero, but then provides,
yes, the romantic spark for our intrepid explorer.
Both movies feature impossible physical stunts, narrow escapes, and
convenient secret passageways. Both
movies feature the male-bonding dynamic of older mentor with young
rebel-without-a-cause. Both gain
urgency from being constantly chased. In
“Journey,” it’s the underground creatures who are unfriendly, as well as
the elements themselves. But
that’s OK, we just solve a long free-fall by a soft water landing.
In “Skull,” we get back up to the surface with rushing water rising
from a sinkhole. In
“Journey,” we get back up to the surface with wind power, sailing on a
subterranean sea. In “Skull,” since it’s the 50’s, we have the double
jeopardy of being pursued by unfriendly natives and by Russian secret agents,
as well, led by the campy Irina Spalko (Cate Blanchett) and her Bolshevik
henchmen, but don’t worry, every demise is nameless and bloodless.
Could children see these films? Yes.
Some moments might be intense for pre-schoolers, like the cave-dwelling
nemeses of both, but the good guys don’t really get hurt, and the kids get
to go on a cool adventure, and spelunking has never looked like more fun.
Sure, you have to be able to decipher secret code in obscure languages.
And you’ll encounter setbacks and disappointments along the way, as
well as creepy, crawly critters. But being the first to see something truly
spectacular is worth all the risky unknown.
3-D or just CGI, it’s fun for everybody who’s willing not to take
any of it very seriously.
Questions for Discussion:
When has someone who was in your life a long time
ago suddenly re-appeared, and what unresolved issues immediately arose?
you think that there is an unexplored, inhabited world beneath us?
Do you think that there are artifacts left behind
thousands of years ago by civilizations much more advanced than we currently
assume they were?
Ronald P. Salfen, Pastor, Grace Presbyterian Church,