Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Crash and Verne

A review of another Asylum mockbuster: Journey to the Centre of the Earth is based (predictably loosely) on Jules Verne's classic novel - released in the UK under the title Journey to Middle Earth, and of course timed for release alongside the recent imax-3D film starring Brendan Fraser. They've succeeded in confusing IMDb who have mixed up pictures from both films. This film is a mix of themes from the original novel and from another movie, The Core, as the crew of a drilling machine race to rescue a teleport team stranded in a dinosaur-populated world below the Earth's crust. It's all good harmless fun and reasonably well made - acting, effects and cinematography are all adequate if not completely convincing, and unlike Monster all three are consistent throughout the film - although don't expect to see this one nominated at the Academy.

Just one plea though - can we now move on from parasitic monsters? It was fantastic and original in Alien, and "that John Hurt moment" is surely a singularity of cinematic history - but since then I've seen the same plot device in the Species series, The Faculty, Spiders and any number of recent movies - it's hinted at in Cloverfield too when a victim has to be killed by the military before something worse happens. Alien has at it's heart a really good, original sci-fi idea - an alien species that has evolved to prey parasitically on any lifeform it comes across from planet to planet; but since then it seems any cinematic hostile lifeform, alien or otherwise, has to be parasitic.

Out of curiosity I checked out Asylum's website here and am pleased to report that there is absolutely no attempt to take their work seriously (this would have been unforgiveable) and that the use of titles and themes from mainstream studios is utterly shameless - coming soon "The Day The Earth Stopped." Journey to Middle Earth was directed by Davey Jones and Scott Wheller, previously sfx specialists, and their interview with B-Movie News here is very amusing and sheds more light on the Asylum.

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