Journey to the Center of the Earth (1989)

Two vacationing teens and a British nanny discover a subterranean world beneath a remote island cave in Hawaii. The adventure takes them through the center of the Earth and into the lost city of Atlantis, where they must battle hideous creatures and escape from the unwelcoming locals. This 1988 adaptation of the classic Jules Verne novel was cut desperately short after the closure of the original production company. The end product suffers dramatically as a result, and appears to be poorly scripted and poorly edited due to the drastic cuts, abrupt ending, and incomplete plot. What does remain from the original version shows a great deal of promise, however. JOURNEY's elaborate sets, child-like wonders, and sinister creatures recall other epic 80's fantasies like LABYRINTH or THE DARK CRYSTAL. Atlantis is depicted as a bleak industrial city-state ruled under martial law, led by a maniacal general that plans on invading the surface world. Unfortunately, the viewer is only given glimpses of many of the more ambitious sequences, which never made the final cut. Had Rusty Lemorande been given the opportunity to complete the film, it could have made for a fun and energetic teen fantasy, but the existing version is critically flawed in almost every way possible.

Rating: 5/10.

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  1. I bought this on Amazon a few years back and it was friggin' terrible. I had high hopes for it though. I never saw it when it was released, in fact, I never even heard of it!

  2. I was so pissed at the end, Jay! I'm convinced the terrible pacing through the Atlantis segment was a result of them not editing the sequences in an attempt to fill the runtime with as much content as possible without having to film any new material. Super bummed, I actually enjoyed some of the film's set up and wanted to see more of the trolls!

  3. It's actually been in my Queue for a while. Mind you, it's due to it being a forgotten remake of the classic tale & the fact that it apparently features Emo Phillips. It's good to see that I haven't been missing out on much, I guess.