Let me have a minute of your time to discuss what has become of the Jules Verne classic, A Journey to the Center of the Earth. Written in 1864, this science fiction novel tells the tale of Professor Otto Lindenbrock, who believes there are volcanic tubes that will allow him to travel into the center of our planet. A team, consisting of the professor, his nephew and their guide, descend into an extinct Icelandic volcano only to encounter prehistoric animals and the wrath of Mother Nature, before eventually coming to the surface again in southern Italy.
The novel has been translated numerous times into other stories, movies, television series, theme park rides, a computer-game and more! There are at least 14 different film versions of Otto’s journey into the unknown. The most recent of these was released in 2008.
Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D
This film, starring Brendan Fraser and Josh Hutcherson, asks the viewer to consider what would happen if Jules Verne’s tale wasn't fiction, but a guide. Fraser’s Trevor uses the book as a map to lead himself and his nephew through the treacherous innards of our planet as they search for Trevor’s missing brother. This re-telling chooses to change the majority of the classic storyline in order to modernize the events, but the story is thrown even further from the source material in the film’s 2012 sequel…Journey 2: The Mysterious Island which, takes its inspiration from another Jules Verne novel.
While the previously mentioned film series may be newest addition to the Journey legacy, the most famous of all film versions is most likely the 1959 release starring Pat Boone and James Mason. In that re-telling, the storyline is altered slightly to accommodate more characters and a visit to the city of Atlantis. Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959) was nominated for three Academy Awards in Best Art Direction, Special Effects and Sound Editing. Even though the effects may be severely dated, the magic and wonder of such an incredible journey shines through in the performances of its talented cast.
In the BCLS system, there are currently three film versions available. The 3D Journey featured above, a 1999 Hallmark television mini-series starring Treat Williams, and another 2008 release starring Ricky Schroeder. No matter which version you may choose to enjoy, A Journey to the Center of the Earth is never boring. Such amazing stories are often re-told dozens of times and instead of looking at the re-makes as a trashing of the “original” (whichever one you may consider that to be) we should learn to appreciate the different perspective each new tale shows us.
So, grab a copy of Journey…be it book, game or movie and sit down with the family for an unforgettable adventure! My recommendation is always the 1959 version (if you can find it). I’m sure the kids won’t be bothered by the clay monsters and the miniature set work. I wasn’t when I saw it as a kid, but then again...there wasn’t a special effects bonanza like King Kong back when I was...wait a second.