By now, you should have made your peace with the fact that Journey to the Center of the Earth is not a great movie. It wasn't trying to be. It's a 3-D showcase, with a particularly pleasant (if beefcakey) Brendan Fraser in the lead role. It's fun and funny and the 3-D will probably make you jump a few times. So, you'd think the studio would try to sell the DVD and Blu-ray by adding a whole smattering of special features, right? Well, not so much.
Apparently, Warner Bros. felt that 3-D was all the "extra" we needed, so they only offered up a commentary and three featurettes in addition to the regular, two-dimensional version of the film, the 3-D version and four pairs of 3-D glasses.
The 2-D version of the film isn't worth a look, really, since this movie is nothing more than a 3-D (and Brendan Fraser) showcase. But the 3-D version is fun -- although not quite as thrilling at home as it was on the big-screen, it's still fun to watch how they structured the movie around how to make things 3-D. Also, I'm not thrilled with the green-and-purple 3-D instead of the usual red and blue. I found myself distracted by how green the whole movie looked, a problem I didn't have when I saw it in the theater. So I can't help but think that's a problem with the DVD rather than the film.
The other extras are decidedly lacking in substance, but they're still pretty fun. (Just like the movie, right?) The commentary with Frasier and director Eric Brevig doesn't reveal anything hugely exciting, but it did help me like Fraser even more, since his charm and positive attitude comes across. He really seems like he must be the most fun, happiest guy to work with; and since he's the type of guy you find yourself wanting to hang out with, spending a couple hours with his commentary certainly won't make you hate yourself or anything.
The three featurettes are all short and low on substance, but still sort of fun. "A World Within Our World" is actually the most serious and enlightening of the three featurettes. It has actual scholars (geology types) talking about the theories posited by Jules Verne's novel and the film. You might not learn anything new (spoiler alert: It's definitely not possible to journey to the center of the earth), but it's still fun to hear from these guys, who don't just poke fun at it all. "Being Josh" is a sort of dorky and adorable featurette, which follows actor Josh Hutcherson (who plays Fraser's character's nephew, Sean Anderson) on the set. It serves no purpose, really, but will most likely be fun for kids (who, let's face it, are the target audience here anyway). The third featurette, "How to Make a Dinosaur Drool" is hardly worth a mention. It's only two minutes long, and doesn't even go into how they actually made the dinosaurs much. It pretty much is only about how they made them drool, which is really a disappointment. The effects in this movie actually were worth dissecting more than this. Still, I have to admit that even all two minutes of this featurette were fun.
In short, then, this DVD is all about the fun and not at all about the substance. But if 3-D's all you're using as a selling point, I guess you don't have to worry about things like "substance." And Journey to the Center of the Earth certainly didn't. It's pure, unadulterated entertainment from start to finish. Even the stuff that you intellectually know should annoy you is likely to keep you entertained.
Still thinking about buying it? Do it now, before you change your mind.