What's It All About?
This version of Journey to the Center of the Earth was originally presented as a two-part television mini-series made by Hallmark Entertainment and brought to you on DVD by Artisan. The DVD breaks the story into it's two parts, differentiated as Night 1 and Night 2. Night 1 is Treat Williams' show as he stars as Professor Theodore Lytton, a 19th century scientist who goes to great lengths in his pursuit of the advancement of science. Lytton is assisted in his pursuits by his nephew Jonas (Jeremy London of Mallrats fame!), a Harvard educated scholar. Lytton is approached by Alice Hastings (Tushka Bergen) a rich socialite who wants Lytton to find her husband, lost seven years earlier while undertaking the expedition. Joined by the rough guide McGriff (Hugh Keays-Byrne) the group begins their trek deep beneath the Earth's surface. Lytton & McGriff lead the group through terrible perils, for instance a tribe of cannibals who make funny faces and stick their tongues out and the scathing heat of the underworld. Night 2 focuses on Jeremy London's character as Alice is captured by a group of half dinosaur, half man Sauroids. The three men find a group of men led by none other Caspar (Bryan Brown), Alice's missing husband. Jonas meets the beautiful native Ralna (Petra Yared) the two fall in love. This is a bit of a problem since Jonas has a fiancÚ back home and Ralna is betrothed to a member of another tribe. Rescues and battles ensue and finally the group must make the dangerous journey back to the surface.
How Does It Look?
Artisan presents a television aspect 4:3 transfer with an image that is much superior to any ordinary television broadcast. It is usually very clean, exhibiting grain only occasionally and usually only in dark scenes. I noticed no digital artifacts.
How Does It Sound?
Presented on a Dolby Digital 2.0 channel soundtrack, the sound isn't bad, but it's nothing special either, basically standard television production shallowness.
Extras, Extras, Extras!
The only thing included are cast and crew biographies. These are fairly basic and not very extensive.
Journey To the Center of the Earth isn't bad, as far as TV min-series go. It's light fare and not a bad way to waste a rainy Saturday morning (which is what I did!). The acting isn't the best you'll ever find (London's the same as always) and the story leaves a bit to be desired but all in all it is a decent effort with a fair amount of action. The special effects are sometimes obvious but most of the CGI is very good. The Sauroids are particularly well done. If you are a fan of the genre, the story, or of any of the stars, you might think about adding this to your collection (for the right price) otherwise I'd say RENT IT.