Australian Council on Children and the Media

Journey to the Center of the Earth (in 3D)

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Short takes

Not suitable under 8, Parental guidance strongly recommended 8 to 13 (Scary scenes and images, 3D effects)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Journey to the Center of the Earth (in 3D)
  • a review of Journey to the Center of the Earth (in 3D) completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 25 September 2008.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Not suitable due to scary adventure scenes and disturbing images, enhanced by the filmu2019s 3D effects
Children aged 8-13 Parental guidance strongly recommended due to scary adventure scenes and disturbing images, enhanced by the filmu2019s 3D effects which may be disturbing for some children.
Children over the age of 13 OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Journey to the Center of the Earth (in 3D)
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Action adventure and some scary scenes
Length 92 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Trevor Anderson (Brendan Fraser) is a vulcanologist who has just had his research funding cut and is about to be ejected from his lab. To make matters worse his 13-year-old nephew Sean (Josh Hutcherson) has just arrived for a ten days of quality time with his uncle. Sean’s father Max (Jean Michael Pare), Trevor’s brother, went missing ten years earlier while exploring a volcano, and Trevor has being working ever since to prove his brother’s theories about the centre of the Earth. While looking at a computer screen displaying seismic activity throughout the world, Trevor realises that the readings are identical to those on the day that his brother went missing. Trevor decides investigate the situation for himself and goes to Iceland taking Sean along as well.
In Iceland, Trevor and Sean team up with Hannah (Anita Briem), a mountain guide who leads them to the top of a volcano to get a reading from one of Max’s seismographic instruments. An electrical storm erupts, with lightning strikes forcing the trio into a cave. When lightning strikes the cave’s entrance the trio are sealed inside and their escape attempts lead them to the centre of the earth and many adventures.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Volcanos; prehistoric plants and animals

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

Journey to the Center of the Earth contains scenes depicting intense action adventure, accidental harm and danger but contains no blood and gore or interpersonal violence. Examples include:

  • In the opening scenes of the film we see a man running from a tyrannosaurus. The man falls while jumping a ravine with lava flowing at the bottom. We see the man disappear, but do not see him actually fall in the lava.
  • While Trevor, Sean and Hannah are checking a seismic device on a mountaintop, an electrical storm strikes with bolts of lightning striking the earth close to Trevor causing explosions, flashes of light and smoke. The three run for a cave while bolts of lightning continue to strike the earth. Trevor drops the seismic device which is struck by lightning and explodes. The trio run into a cave but the cave’s entrance is truck by lightning, trapping the three inside.    
  • While abseiling down a mineshaft, Trevor slips and falls, but is saved by his safety rope to end up hanging upside down at the end of his rope.
  • Trevor, Sean and Hannah perilously speeding through mine tunnels in three miners’ carts. We see a break of several meters in the track, and we see the carts leave the track fly through the air to breach the gap in the track and then land back on the track, there is lots of screaming and tense moments, but no one is injured. When the carts come to a three pronged spilt in the track each cart takes a different track. Hannah’s track comes to an end and Hannah jumps into Trevor’s cart before her cart crashes into a cave wall.
  • Trevor, Sean and Hannah walking across a cave floor, the floor begins to crack and then gives way with the three heroes falling through, we hear them screaming loudly. They continue to fall for a number of minutes and then fall into a giant water slide that breaks their fall. The trio slides along the water slide and then plunge into a large cave pool. They swim underwater until they reach the pool’s bank and climb out, but Hannah is pulled down by her backpack. Trevor dives back into the water swims down and pulls Hannah back up to the surface and on to dry land.
  • While travelling across an underground sea on a makeshift raft, Trevor, Sean and Hannah are attacked by flying fish resembling metre long Piranhas. The fish jump out of the water to land on the raft or on a person with teeth snapping furiously. Trevor uses a piece of wood to beat off the flying fish. A large eel-like creature rises out off the water and snatches flying fish from the air eating them whole, and we see a large long necked dinosaur come out of the water and prey on the eel-like creature.
  • Hannah gets mild rope burns when a rope she is holding is pulled through her hands.
  • Hannah and Trevor are attacked by giant carnivorous plants with snapping giant mouth-like heads which rip off Trevor’s shirtsleeves. Trevor cuts one of the plants down while other vine-like plants wrap themselves around Hannah’s neck lifting her off the ground while strangling her. Trevor rips the vines out of the ground by their roots and they release Hannah. Both Hannah and Trevor are uninjured.    
  • Sean is chased by a tyrannosaurus and runs screaming into a cave. The dinosaur smashes into the cave’s entrance snapping its teeth at Sean. Trevor arrives in the nick of time and Sean is able to make his way out of the back of the cave. Trevor leads the tyrannosaurus across a thin crystal floor and it crashes through, leaving Trevor hanging on to the edge of the floor. Trevor manages to climb up and he and Sean are both uninjured.         
  • Trevor, Sean and Hannah sit in a makeshift boat that is trapped in the shaft of a volcano with magma steadily rising beneath them. Trevor hangs upside down from the bottom of the boat trying light a flare. We see and hear an explosion and Trevor is pulled into the boat as water comes crashing through the side of the shaft lifting the boat and pushing it up the shaft of the volcano at great speed. The boat and its crew are shot out of the top of volcano. The boat then slides at great speed down the side of a mountain crashing through countless grapevines and then coming to rest against a farmhouse. A man shouts angrily at them but then calms down. No one is injured.

 

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

Journey to the Center of the Earth contains images of monstrous creatures and scary moments that may scare or disturb younger children. The fearful effects of these images may be heightened due to the film’s realistic 3D visual images. The reality/appearance of the 3D visual effects alone may scare/ disturb younger children who have not experienced 3D films before. For example:

  • a giant prehistoric slater-like creature with antennae that suddenly appeared to come out of the screen. 
  • giant prehistoric flying fish resembling giant flying piranhas. The fish have long sharp snapping sabre-like teeth.  
  • a giant prehistoric eel-like creature with sharp teeth.
  • dinosaurs with long sharp teeth that attack giant eel creatures.  
  • carnivorous plants that resemble giant Venus Fly Traps, and animated vines that can wrap themselves a person’s neck strangling them.
  • very realistic 3D images of a ferocious looking tyrannosaurus.  We hear loud roars and thud-like sounds that cause the ground to vibrate. We hear loud growling sounds and see Sean looking frightened hiding behind a large boulder. Sean’s face and chest are covered by giant globs of saliva and the dinosaur’s head and sabre-like teeth appear above Sean’s head with giant teeth snapping at Sean’s face.
  • Hannah finds some abandoned items that belonged to Max, Trevor’s lost brother, and while we do not see it, the film implies that Hannah finds the remains of Max’s body. In a later scene, we see Trevor, Sean and Hannah standing around a mound of piles stones, “Max’s grave”, and hear Trevor reading a passage from a journal written by Sean’s dead father. Sean appears upset and we see a tear running down his cheek., Sean then bursts into tears and hugs Trevor.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group may also be disturbed by the scenes described above

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Children in this age group may also be disturbed by the scenes described above

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this film

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Sony PSP
  • Google
  • TV cartoon series “Family Guy”

Sexual references

The film contains a couple of low-level sexual references. Examples include:

  • While climbing the side of a mountain, Sean says to Trevor in relation to Hannah their guide, “I’ve got dibs on the mountain guide.” Trevor responds with “Thirteen-year-olds don’t have dibs.” A similar exchange occurs towards the end of the film.
  • When Hannah arrives in a makeshift boat she states to Trevor, “You didn’t think you could escape me? You will have to work harder than that”

 

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some mild sensuality and very low-level sexual activity in this movie. Examples include:

  • Hannah wears low cut tops that reveal cleavage, shorts that reveal her thighs and at one stage a clinging wet top
  • Hannah and Trevor kiss a couple of times on the lips.

Use of substances

None of concern

Coarse language

None of concern

In a nutshell

Journey to the Center of the Earth is a 3D science fiction action adventure targeted at a younger adolescent and child audience which is likely to entertain adults as well.
The main messages from this movie are:

  • not to lose sight of what is truly important and meaningful in life or you may come to regret it
  • that family is more important than work, or making money.
  • to persevere through adversity, never giving up no matter what the odds are
  • sticking together.

Parents may also wish to discuss the film’s portrayal of the only female character. Hannah is presented more capable in every respect than the film’s male characters who rely on her for guidance and to bail them out of trouble. 

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