NEW LINE/WARNER BROS has released the latest re-imagining of "JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH," on blu-ray an dvd. Of course, our personal favorite is the classic FOX version, starring James Mason and Pat Boone, and that one holds up very well, even nearly 50 years later!
Brendan Fraser stars in this one, and shot for "3-D," both dvd and blu-ray feature options for viewing either in 3-d format or standard. However, it's been stated that once original shipments run out, future re-releases of these formats will include the standard version only. Fraser plays Professor Trevor Anderson, on the trail with his nephew to find his missing brother, after finding clues within the margins of "Jules Verne's JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH." The adventure, introduces new characters and takes the audience along to a fun, if silly, journey, sure to please younger viewers, and even offer some entertaining (albeit, brief)3-D effects. The film is focused on being 3-D first, so the story is pretty run-of-the-mill as far as "epic adventures" go, and the "3-D" will wear thin after a while on older, experienced viewers. But, the pacing is tight and the 92 minutes moves along briskly enough to make this one a family viewing experience that will probably be sought after by younger viewers repeatedly.
NEW LINE/WARNER BROS has provided the correct 1.85:1 aspect ratio for both dvd(16:9 enhanced) and the 1080p/VC-1 blu-ray.
While home viewing of the "3-D" experience is hindered, due to the experience changing to red/blu anaglyph viewing through the 4 pair of glasses provided rather than the "full color" range provided for in theaters, the "3-D" effect is still pretty impressive, as far as home viewing goes! Due to the red/blue tinting, it's unfair to gauge the visual quality the same as with other releases, but the "effect" is what counts, and as long as one focuses on the middle ground, it's great fun and impressive. Background and foreground imagery tends to lose focus or fall flat. The detail is notably more impressive on blu-ray "3-D" than with the dvd counterpart, but even the dvd effect is still pretty darned fun, as we experienced ourselves, and noted from the pre-10 year olds watching on another screen.
The "2-D" version is surprisingly rich in color and depth as well. There's a vibrancy throughout with colors pushed to extremes without oversaturation. However, as impressive as depth is(notably better on the "2-D" blu-ray over dvd format), it's not nearly as detailed as the "3-D" version. Contrast, while decent, lacks the inky blacks, necessary for great detail in darker scenes. Both dvd and blu-ray offer generally impressive "2-D" imagery, but the film loses virtually all of its intended impact, without the full "3-D" effect.
Both formats feature a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. Surrounds and bass are impressive, although underused. Their full impact doesn't even kick in 'til a scene almost a half hour into the film! When the discrete and bass do kick in,...wow! It's of a great immersive quality, sure to please audiences of all ages, even without the lossless ability expected of a blu-ray.
The same extras are offered on both formats, including a surprisingly light and engaging commentary with Fraser and the director, as well as featurettes. However, these are offered in full HD on blu-ray.