Journey To The Center Of The Earth

Featured In Issue 137, December 2008

WSR Score3
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Warner Home Video
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Intense adventure action and some scary moments
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-50)
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Not Indicated
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Eric Brevig
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Dolby Digital 5.1
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Science Professor Trevor Anderson (Fraser) is often ridiculed by his colleagues in the academic community over his decidedly unconventional hypothesis. But Trevor proves himself a scientific visionary instead of the quack he is perceived to be when he is trapped in a cave during an expedition in Iceland. To escape the cave, Trevor, his young nephew Sean (Hutcherson), and a beautiful local guide Hannah (Briem) must go deeper on a Journey To The Center Of The Earth. Based on Jules Verne's classic novel. (Stacey Pendry)

Special features include a commentary track by Actor Brendan Fraser and Director Eric Brevig; three behind-the-scenes featurettes: A World Within Our World (ten minutes), Being Josh (six minutes), and How To Make A Dinosaur Drool (three minutes), and a digital copy of the movie. The disc includes both the 2-D version and the 3-D version of the film.

The anamorphically enhanced 1.78:1 DVD shows good color saturation, although the picture does appear too bright, often washed out. Fleshtones appear natural, though. Black levels are noticeably elevated, but shadow delineation is adequate, with a fair amount of detail in the near "black" portions of the image. Compression artifacts run rampant throughout the presentation, and moiré artifacts are recognizeable. Luckily, though, edge enhancement is not a problem. The green/red filter glasses can deliver an adequate 3-D image, but color errors and ghosting are distracting enough to cancel out the benefits of the effect. The VC-1-encoded Blu-ray Disc is an improvement over the DVD, but detail is not resolved very well and black levels are still elevated. The picture still appears washed out. The 3-D effect is not any better in high-definition. Hopefully a real 3-D solution will be coming to market soon. (Danny Richelieu)

The Dolby® Digital 5.1-channel soundtrack used each of the channels effectively at times, but there are too many instances when the mix collapses to the screen channels. Still, there is a palpable sense of atmosphere and engagement at many key moments throughout the presentation. Fidelity is good, but not as pristine as most new releases. Bass can reach the lower octaves when needed, but it is not a large part of the sound design. Bass is generally flabby and poorly defined as well. Phantom imaging is incorporated well across the front stage. Dialogue sounds good for the most part, but there are many instances when it sounds unnaturally thin and it is too obvious when ADR was used. There is a harsh clipping distortion on occasion in the louder passages, and the audio can have a digital edge to it. The Blu-ray Disc also includes a Dolby Digital encoding, and while the bit rate is higher, it is not much of an improvement over the DVD. (Danny Richelieu)