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Artisan Home Entertainment presents
Journey To The Center Of The Earth (1999)

"Jonas, this is an extraordinary opportunity, to witness first hand, the genesis of this planet!"
- Dr. Theodore Lytton (Treat Williams)

Review By: Alexandra Orozco   
Published: July 01, 2000

Stars: Treat Williams, Jeremy London
Other Stars: Bryan Brown, Tushka Bergen, Hugh Keays-Byrne
Director: George Miller

Manufacturer: WAMO
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: 02h:19m:00s
Release Date: April 11, 2000
UPC: 707729110569
Genre: adventure

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer

DVD Review

Dr. Theodore Lytton (Treat Williams) is a man trying to raise money for an expedition to prove his theory that the continents were once connected and how the dinosaurs were killed off, but instead he runs into a Mrs. Alice Hastings (Tushka Bergen) who has a financial proposition to offer him. She asks him to go far beneath the Earth's surface to find her husband, Casper (Bryan Brown), who has been missing for seven years since he left on an expedition to the Earth's core in search for gold. Theodore decides to accept her offer because she will finance the trip, and he might be able to get the proof for his theories. He goes to New Zealand along with his nephew Jonas (Jeremy London) to start the search for Casper. Theodore does not want Ms. Hastings to go with, but she ends up going anyway by "turning up" in New Zealand. She is very stubborn and concerned about finding her husband.

The three meet a man named McNiff (Hugh Keays-Byrne) who promises to be their guide and protect them, claiming that they will need his services on the journey. This proves true later when they stop to rest at a lake, and are captured by the Mawri tribe, who are known for both their cannibalism and their dislike for the intruding Europeans, they are not killed only because the tribe knows McNiff, who is able to trade to save their lives. There is an attack on the Mawri camp while the four of them are still there, and they take the opportunity to leave while the attention of the tribe is not on them. After about a day's journey they begin their descent to the core through a crevasse, and climb through a series of them until they are about 6,000 feet underground. I dislike this scene because the setting is completely fake looking. When they find a human skeleton, they convince Mrs. Hastings that it could have been one of the men who went along with Casper.

They continue their journey until they discover what appear to be an ocean and a sky. It is not really an ocean, but underground water, and a sky made of electricity, a kind of aurora borealis. "Above that sky is a granite vault, above that a mountain, and above that a sea," Theodore hypothesized. This scene is wonderful because it is so realistic looking and sounding that it makes you feel like you are there.

The movie has some interesting characters, like Theodore who is a wise man—he always has the answer to every problem the group faces, McNiff, who is considered a hero below ground but a wanted man above, and Jonas who gets braver the longer he is away from home. There are some twists to the story too, but I don't want to give too much away!

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: C


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: (Editor's note: In it's original 4:3 native aspect ratio this transfer overall is soft, near cheesecloth-like in appearance. The browns fair well, but the reds here bleed profusely in almost every indoor scene, and leaves one wanting exterior shots, but not all of these are devoid of the problem. Scanlines are evident throughout. The print source is however, very clean and free from nicks and other marks. Nothing special, but not bad for a TV movie.)

Image Transfer Grade: C


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes

Audio Transfer Review: (Editor's note: This Dolby Surround 2.0 track is fairly layman and unspectacular. If there was any surround activity I missed, and the front stage is nearly mono and center focused. The dialogue is well-rendered, audible and distinguishable from other things—like cheese. I was a tad bit disappointed, only because I was feeling a bit mousey. No frommage here, but adequate sound anyway. Rats.)

Audio Transfer Grade: C+


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 46 cues and remote access
Cast and Crew Biographies
Cast and Crew Filmographies
Packaging: Alpha
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL

Extras Review: While sporting a decent animated and full-motion video menu set, the lone extra feature is the cast & crew biographies and filmographies. (Editor's note: no cheese here either.)

Extras Grade: D+


Final Comments

This is a classic adventure story, where you never know what will happen next, but I think it is aimed more for adults than kids—they may get bored.


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