Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Journey 2 Isn't Quite Worth the Trip

Plus, Safe House and The Vow play things too safe.

by | February 10, 2012 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got a jungle quest (Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Josh Hutcherson), rogue CIA agents (Safe House, starring Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds), an odd boy-meets-girl story (The Vow, starring Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum), and nascent Jedi in 3D (Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, starring Ewan McGregor and Liam Neeson). What do the critics have to say?

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island


Journey 2: The Mysterious Island promises a family friendly adventure in eye-popping 3D; unfortunately, the critics say the film’s goofy charm and solid special effects are undermined by its middling script. A sequel to 2008’s Journey to the Center of the Earth, The Mysterious Island finds Sean Anderson (Josh Hutcherson) in the midst of a fantastic quest: upon receiving a cryptic message from an uncharted island, he joins forces with his stepfather Hank (Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson) to search for treasure and rescue the island’s sole occupant. The pundits say Journey 2 is pleasantly acted and inventively picturesque, but it’s short on excitement and good dialogue. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down co-star Luis Guzman’s best-reviewed movies.)

Safe House


An unoriginal action movie isn’t inherently a bad action movie, though critics say Safe House has enough kinetic thrills to make them wish its plot were a little fresher. Denzel Washington stars as Tobin Frost, a rogue former CIA agent who is being held in a South African safe house. But when mercenaries attack, Frost and rookie agent Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds) go on the run to find out who ordered the hit. The pundits say Safe House is action-packed and briskly paced, but it’s also pretty predictable and short on suspense. (Check out our list of the best and worst movie CIA agents.)

The Vow


What if the love of your life forgot who you were? It’s a premise ripe with dramatic possibilities, but critics say The Vow too often sticks to its boy-meets-girl (again) formula at the expense of strong performances from its appealing leads. Based upon true events, The Vow is the story of Paige (Rachel McAdams) and Leo (Channing Tatum), a young couple whose relationship is tested when Paige suffers from severe memory loss after a devastating auto accident. Can she learn to love her husband all over again? The pundits say The Vow is sincere and often moving, but it avoids most messy real-life complications in favor of melodrama.

Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (in 3D)


When Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace was released in 1999, there was a disturbance in the Force: critics and audiences were divided over whether it was a bold new chapter in the Star Wars saga or a legacy-tarnishing travesty. The debate is sure to continue with the rerelease of The Phantom Menace in 3D, in which we meet young Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd) and Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) in the days before their paths diverge. The pundits were dazzled by the movie’s visuals but felt the heart and substance of the originals was missing; still, now’s your chance to see Episode I with fresh eyes and make up your own mind.

Also opening this week in limited release:

Tag Cloud

politics serial killer Set visit Country Trivia Teen harry potter Sci-Fi Oscars TV Land Certified Fresh Red Carpet Valentine's Day sitcom docudrama VICE cinemax CNN X-Men First Look Superheroes Super Bowl 24 frames Countdown Martial Arts Spring TV E! Polls and Games Grammys FXX VH1 ESPN Writers Guild of America Logo Rock El Rey Tumblr Hulu social media NYCC The CW Lionsgate Nominations cops Fall TV MSNBC Biopics TCA 2017 singing competition LGBTQ BBC America Cosplay Video Games crime thriller Star Trek Exclusive Video GLAAD Esquire SundanceTV Photos Infographic NBC adventure 2017 Rom-Com Comedy Syfy Tomatazos Masterpiece President Animation Pop PaleyFest Summer travel technology Reality Extras ABC Family CBS All Access Nickelodeon WGN Awards Character Guide cooking aliens FOX Winners period drama Holidays TCA Interview BET Disney DirecTV Crackle Best and Worst Election TNT ABC Freeform IFC Lifetime Marathons American Society of Cinematographers Sundance dramedy Universal TBS Schedule Disney Channel Watching Series Rocky Calendar Kids & Family OWN Sneak Peek A&E discovery Reality Competition MTV Thanksgiving APB vampires Toys Opinion AMC police drama Action Fox News TCM Drama Emmys Premiere Dates Year in Review Amazon GoT crime drama Nat Geo Food Network Winter TV Mary Tyler Moore Podcast HBO sports Box Office thriller Bravo FX TruTV Musicals History Star Wars Starz Marvel CMT ITV war TV Cartoon Network Ghostbusters GIFs BBC Fantasy Showtime TIFF based on movie DC Comics Comic Book CBS diversity 2016 boxoffice Netflix SDCC RT History USA science fiction 007 Mystery biography Adult Swim Comedy Central Pirates Trailer Horror Music comiccon PBS 2015