EW Staff
July 10, 2008 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D

Current Status
In Season
93 minutes
Wide Release Date
Brendan Fraser, Anita Briem, Josh Hutcherson
New Line Cinema
Jennifer Flackett, Mark Levin, Michael D. Weiss
Kids and Family, Sci-fi and Fantasy

We gave it a B-

Can’t wait until Christmas of 2009 for James Cameron’s Avatar? This family adventure might tide you over. Shot with Cameron’s high-tech 3-D cameras and directed by Eric Brevig, his Abyss visual-effects photographer, Journey will be the first live-action narrative feature film shot in digital 3-D. It promises serious action, with a high-octane ride through a mine shaft, a giant Tyrannosaurus rex, and startling 3-D gimmicks (imagine flying fish heading toward your face). The plot centers on a scientist (Brendan Fraser) who, with the help of his nephew (Josh Hutcherson) and an Icelandic guide (Anita Briem), uses his brother’s marked-up copy of Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth as a guidebook to find the planet’s core.

Despite the computer effects, it was a physical shoot. A typical day might find actors rappelling down a rock wall that Fraser dubbed ”the cheese grater,” due to its effects on the skin, or hanging for long periods in genital-crunching harnesses. But the most harrowing moment involved Briem and a long underwater swim. After she practiced the dangerous sequence a few times, Brevig rolled the cameras. But when Briem started acting distressed — emphasis on acting — divers decided to ”rescue” her. ”We went crazy; she went crazy,” says Brevig of the botched sequence. ”The only reason she was at risk was because of the safety divers!”

The high-tech part went a little more smoothly. With those digital cameras, the director could shoot in the morning, view the footage in 3-D at lunchtime, and move on to the next scene by the afternoon. ”Visitors to the set could watch the footage in 3-D as I was filming,” says Brevig. ”This is definitely moviemaking of the future.” (July 11)

You May Like