If taken seriously, evidence that "Journey 2: The Mysterious Island" was headed for probable disaster arose the moment Brendan Fraser, star of 2008's gimmicky 3-D adventure "Journey to the Center of the Earth," opted not to return for its sequel. If Fraser has ever willingly turned down a film project before (particularly in the wake of 2010's assault against humanity "Furry Vengeance"), one can only shudder to imagine what it might have been. With co-star Josh Hutcherson (2010's "The Kids Are All Right") taking the lead, this loose continuation goes so far as to not even mention Fraser's scientist/adventurer character (a case of negligent writing that doesn't respect its audience), but otherwise follows the same basic modus operandi. Although they are very similar, however, new director Brad Peyton (2010's "Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore"), taking over for Eric Brevig, has a handier reign over the knowingly far-fetched material and his cast shares a bit more chemistry. It's not quite enough to recommend for anyone other than six- to ten-year-olds, but Fraser's lack of participation has proven to be more an anomaly than a harbinger of doom.
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