More adventures for teen Jules Verne fan Sean (Josh Hutcherson) in this sequel to 2008’s ‘Journey to the Centre of the Earth’. A distress signal leads Sean to the South Pacific in search of an uncharted island he believes inspired literary classics ‘Treasure Island’, ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ and ‘The Mysterious Island’: think tiny elephants, giant insects and gold-spewing volcanoes. Along for the ride is stepfather Hank (Dwayne Johnson), helicopter pilot Gabato (Luis Guzmán) and his daughter (Vanessa Hudgens), while the obligatory eccentric marooned adventurer is played by Michael Caine, no less. His banter with Johnson is painfully laboured but Guzmán’s Gabato amuses with his man-crush on the statuesque Hank (Johnson’s party tricks – from playing guitar to ‘popping his pecs’ – are knowingly worked into the script).
With basic dialogue and predictable plotting, most pleasures are visual (especially in 3D), though some CG creations are better than others. It’s a harmless family film with an old-fashioned spirit of adventure, but the writing doesn’t live up to the promise of the premise. Still, the ambition doesn’t stop there: the confident postscript sets up a sequel on the moon.