Journey to the Centre of the Earth!

Starring: Kenneth More
Fremantle Home Entertainment
RRP: £12.99
Certificate: PG
Available 31 October 2005

Professor Lidenbrock buys a manuscript from a strange old man that describes a mysterious journey - a map to the centre of the earth itself! With his niece, Glauben, and her fiancé, Axel, they set off to Iceland, where they are joined by Professor Fredrikson and a guide, Hans. Following the old man's directions, they soon find an entrance in an inactive volcano, but after an underground storm and earthquake, they fall into a deep chasm. While exploring their new surroundings, they meet a mysterious character who offers them help. In his company they discover wonderful things... an underground sea, a forest of gigantic mushrooms, prehistoric creatures, dinosaurs and a King Kong-type gorilla! But the group soon suspect that his motives may not be all they seem.

Journey to the Centre of the Earth! was originally released, in English speaking theatres, as The Fabulous Journey to the Center of the Earth, a title that is still attached to the beginning of the film print. But it's original release title was Viaje al centro de la Tierra.

Based on Jules Verne's classic novel, the plot follows four badly prepared individuals who attempt to reach the Earth's core through a volcano. Once there they discover a world of strange creatures (rubber dinosaurs, wooden mushrooms and a giant man in a poor fancy dress ape costume). They also encounter a strange man, called Olsen, who helps them along the way.

In all honesty this has to be one of the worst adaptation of Verne's story. The first annoying thing is the fact that Kenneth More (playing professor Otto Lindenbrock) is the only English speaking actor in this production. What I mean by that is that the other characters are all played by Spanish actors who have had their dialogue over dubbed with voice actors who don't have outrageously foreign accents. This provides some unintentionally funny scenes - like the Icelandic delivery man who speaks with a cockney accent. But worse still is the fact that the lip synch is appalling - to the point of being distracting. The Spanish actors obviously delivered their lines in English, but the dialogue coach should have been taken out and shot.

Also I really didn't get the whole Olsen plot line... what was that all about. Sure, it provides a rather bizarre twist in the tale, but it's just bloody stupid.

The only saving grace is that the director of photography really earned his money. There are some fantastic shots in this film - almost every scene has been lovingly set up.

Extras include just a trailer. And, to be quite honest you can get the entire plot of the movie by watching the trailer.

The picture quality is not overly impressive - it's a straight film print to DVD transfer without any touching up. So what you get are lots of white specks on the screen.

The only saving grace is that the rubber dinosaur slayer king, Doug McClure, didn't appear.

Pete Boomer

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