Classic science fiction novels are always a good choice to make into movies. I mean, one of the oldest sci-fi movies I have is based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic novel, The Lost World. Now Jules Verne wrote a classic novel and it has been made into a movie before. Actually, it has been made into a movie several times and in 2008, it was getting remade once again. Quick to capitalize on the big budget remake, Asylum decided to make their own movie, with the same title but changing the plot of the movie quite a bit. So here is today’s movie, Journey To The Center Of The Earth (2008 video).
The plot: Joseph Harnet is in charge of a military project in California that is testing a teleportation device, planning on sending a team of female soldiers to Stuttgart, Germany. Before the experiment commences, he speaks with the team’s commanding officer, Kristen Radford, who expresses some concerns but says her team (Betsy Case, Gretchen Lake, Victoria Jansen, Eve Abraham, and Alicia Burroughs) is ready to go. When the team is on the teleportation pad, Joseph starts the machine and the team disappears in a beam of light but when he contacts Stuttgart, he learns the team did not arrive and tries to figure out where they were sent. Meanwhile, the team appears in hillside area and realizes something went wrong. Kristen sends Alicia and Eve to recon the area while Gretchen tries to get a signal on the beacon but she can’t get a satellite fix on their location. She tries radioing for help but when the message doesn’t go through, she attempts to use an emergency high frequency channel to try and reach their base. Alicia and Eve split up to search the area but Alicia encounters a T-rex and is killed. Gretchen manages to get through to the base but before the can say anything, Eve runs back to warn them of the dinosaur just before it kills her. Kristen and the others run for it, dropping the radio in the process, and are forced to jump off a cliff into a river below to escape the dinosaur. Meanwhile, Joseph and his team manage to get a fix on where the team is and learn that they are 600 kilometers beneath the Earth’s surface. The general in charge of the project, General Marks, says he will not authorize the use of the teleporter for a rescue mission and Joseph says that it would not be able to work anyways but knows another way to get down there. Emily Radford (Kristen’s sister and Joseph’s ex-wife) is working on an experimental deep digger, which she nicknames Dee-Di, and is telling her boss, Noah Freebourne, that she has fixed the bugs that she had in a previous test when he tells her that she has an opportunity to show the board that the project works. He brings in Joseph and General Marks and Emily gets pissed as she doesn’t want her project to be used for the military. She walks off and Joseph chases after her and explains that he needs the device to save Kristen. Emily agrees and shows Joseph how Dee-Di works but says she won’t be able to carry everyone back and Jospeh says he will handle that. Dee-Di is prepped for launch and Emily and Joseph get inside and begin piloting it down through the Earth. Meanwhile, Kristen and the others survived the jump but lost most of their supplies. Seeing that the T-rex is still pursuing them, they make a run for it and come across a river of lava and manage to cross over a cooled portion of it before it crumbles. Stopping for a rest, Kristen and Case go looking for water and find a fresh water stream nearby. Meanwhile, Gretchen is studying some nearby plants when one of them opens up and sprays it’s pollen at her, knocking her out, and when Jansen goes to see if she is ok, she is knocked out as well. Kristen and Case find and revive the Gretchen and Jansen and the group keeps moving. Realizing that they are low on food, Kristen decides to hunt and kill one of the smaller dinosaurs but as she goes off with Case and Jansen, the dinosaur circles around and attacks Gretchen but Gretchen manages to kill it. After cooking and eating the dinosaur, Jansen is given first watch while the others get some sleep. Some time later, Case wakes up having heard someone screaming for help and, noticing Kristen and Gretchen still sleeping nearby, she looks for Jansen and finds a trail of blood. Waking the others to let them know that Jansen is missing, they follow the trail and find some more blood splattered on some spider webs. Seeing a mass of webbing in the distance, they head towards it and when they get closer, Kristen has Case stay on a nearby hill to keep watch while she goes ahead with Gretchen to find Jansen. Back in Dee-Di, Emily and Jospeh lose radio contact with the surface and Emily asks why Joseph be a part of the experiment and he says she was the best qualified and had volunteered for the mission. Suddenly, Emily notices an empty space on the radar ahead and Dee-Di is suddenly in a free fall. Emily works out what they need to do to survive and as they near the bottom of the chasm, she restarts the laser drill and the plow through the dirt but the impact knocks them both out. Meanwhile, Kristen and Gretchen make their way into the nest and get attacked by the giant spiders while on the hillside, Case also finds herself under attack. Back on Dee-Di, Emily comes too and finds that the impact had caused the cooling system to malfunction and they were losing oxygen. She goes to try and reboot the system but ends up getting stuck and calls for Joseph to help. Joseph comes to and frees Emily, then helps her reboot the system and they continue on the rescue mission. Meanwhile, Gretchen had hid from the spiders and managed to find Jansen and after ensuring that she is still alive, helps her stand up and finds Kristen and Case nearby, who says they have to move because there are more spiders coming. Stopping to rest, Jansen starts throwing up blood and some spheroid objects but says she will be ok to keep moving when they suddenly start getting a signal from their walkie talkie. In Dee-Di, Joseph attempts to contact the team on the shortwave radio and when he gets through, they try to coordinate where they should meet. Checking the sensors, Emily believes a volcano is nearby and when Kristen confirms it, she tells them to head for it and they will make contact when they surface. As they prepare to break through the surface and drop into the volcano, Emily tells Joseph that she still loves him. After they land, they find themselves attacked by some worm-like creatures that live in the lava and are forced to jettison the reactor when one of them grabs onto it but manage to make it to the surface on auxiliary power. While Joseph works on setting up the return beacon for the teleporter, Emily contacts Kristen and tells them where they are and Kristen and the others make their way there but are chased by a giant spider. As they get close to Joseph and Emily, Jansen starts convulsing and Case goes back to help her. Emily uses one of Dee-Di’s laser drills to kill the spider but as Case starts to carry Jansen, her chest explodes and Case is forced to leave her body and rushes to rejoin the others before the teleporter activates. After they arrive back on the surface, Noah tells Emily that they will use the teleporter to retrieve Dee-Di as General Marks has another mission to use it for but Emily tells him that it was destroyed. When Noah gets upset about the loss of Dee-Di and doesn’t care about the people that died, Emily slaps him then heads over to Joseph and kisses him. As Gretchen begins making out with one of the lab techs, Kristen and Case decide to get cleaned up and join Emily and Joseph for some drinks but as they leave, they don’t notice a baby spider, that had hatched out of Jansen, crawl up from Case’s utility belt.
I love the Asylum movies but I have to admit that I was not a fan of this movie. That doesn’t mean I thought it was a bad movie though, I just felt like they should have called it something else. The acting was decent and I did like that the movie had a predominately female cast as it made for an interesting change of pace compared to most movies. The story was ok but my big problem was that it had almost nothing in common with the original novel. The special effects looked pretty good and I did like how the dinosaurs and other creatures looked but the camera editing for some of the attacks was laughably bad. It’s not a bad movie but I would have enjoyed it a lot more if it had a different title.
Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5