ACTION; 1hr 34min
STARRING: Josh Hutcherson, Dwayne Johnson, Vanessa Hudgens, Michael Caine
Whoa! Hudgens (with, from left, Caine, Johnson and Guzman)
In Vernian lore, French novelist Jules Verne’s Mysterious Island is fact, not sci-fi. Sean Anderson (Hutcherson) is a Vernian who believes that his missing grandad Alexander (Caine) is signalling in code from the island, somewhere in the Pacific off Hawaii. Sean is a teenager and prone to rash acts. His stepfather, Hank (Johnson), is understandably doubtful. But away they go in any case, scudding over the endless expanse of sea in the practically clapped-out chopper of tour guide Gabato (Luis Guzmán). Sucked into a hurricane, they’re unceremoniously dumped on the island that nobody but Sean believed was there in the first place.
And what an island! Plus-sized butterflies! Miniature elephants! A monster frill-necked lizard with anger-management issues! Gabato’s daughter Kailani (Hudgens) in skimpy shorts! (And no one has lived until they’ve checked The Rock’s pecs pop!) With director Brad Payton in the chair, the awesomeness is constant and nippy, tailor made for an adventure stamped with nostalgia yet technically spanking fresh. Who knows how Monsieur Verne would react but I went with the ride.