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A Journey to the Centre of the Earth

CritiqueQuotes • At the movies

Journey to the Centre of the Earth, first U.S. editionFirst U.S. edition, 1874
By Jules Verne
Publication details ▽ Publication details △

Original title
Voyage au centre de la Terre

Also known as
Journey to the Centre of the Earth, A Journey into the Interior of the Earth

First publication
1864, expanded 1867

Literature form

Science fiction, adventure

Writing language

Author's country

Approx. 73,000 words in English translation

Journey to the Centre of the Earth 1989 scene
Four young people have bizarre underground adventures unrelated to Jules Verne's novel of the same name.

Subterranean nonsense

Journey to the Center of the Earth (1989): Film, 79 minutes; directors Rusty Lemorande, Albert Pyun; writers Lemorande, Debra Ricci, Regina Davis, Kitty Chalmers; featuring Nicola Cowper, Paul Carafotes, Kathy Ireland, Ilan Mitchell-Smith

We can dispense with this one quickly. This 1989 movie shares a title and almost nothing else with Jules Verne's novel A Journey to the Centre of the Earth. But then it doesn't claim to be an adaptation of the novel. But it's also a halfway sequel to 1988 film, Alien From L.A., which is supposed to be an adaptation of the novel, despite having a different title. But the earlier film also has little to do with the Verne novel. Lot of buts with this one.

British actor Nicola Cowper is Crystina, a nanny to a dog (really), who gets caught up with two brothers and a younger sister exploring a cave in Hawaii's volcanic mountains. Their adventures include getting lost, fleeing a volcanic explosion, meeting cheesy subterranean monsters, and getting captured by residents of Atlantis who have been living underground since arriving on Earth by spaceship and are planning an invasion of the world's surface.

If that sketchy summary sounds bizarre, bear in mind it makes more sense than the film itself.

Trailer for 1989's Journey to the Center of the Earth makes as much sense as the film.

This is one incomprehensible film. Another word is incompetent. Things keep happening, characters popping up, and unrelated scenes keep following unrelated scenes in manners that defy logic or any credibler narrative structure. The tone veers wildly from action flick to satire to drama to slapstick comedy—none of which succeed.

The oddest part is that Journey to the Center of the Earth doesn't look as bad as other low-budget scifi films. It's filmed in bright comic-book colour and some actors at least—especially the aliens who must think they're in a comedy and go for laughs—don't realize their talents are being wasted in one of the worst films ever made.

— Eric


CritiqueQuotes • At the movies

1959, 1989, 2008b