Few films could offer the twin cinematic glories of Michael Caine riding a giant bee and The Rock flicking berries off his bulging pecs.
Yet this winning family affair boasts both…as well as Luis Guzman tumbling into a gigantic gooey egg and an active volcano that spews out molten gold.
Cheekily mashing up loose takes on the legends of Jules Verne, Robert Louis Stevenson and even Jonathan Swift, director Brad Peyton carries on the good work accomplished in 2008’s Journey To The Center of the Earth.
Josh Hutcherson’s back as Sean and this time he’s joined by stepdad Hank (Johnson) grandpa Alexander (Caine, channelling Colonel Sanders), zany helicopter pilot Gabato (Guzman) and his foxy daughter Kailani (Hudgens).
They’ve washed up on the Mysterious Island after following a code transmitted by shipwrecked Alexander and deciphered by Sean and Hank, who just happens to have worked in comms in the American Navy.
It would be an island paradise…if it wasn’t inhabited by giant centipedes, huge bee-eating Needletails and the fact the water level is rising, threatening to drown the island…which is also home to the lost city of Atlantis.
Attractively free of cynicism, this is appealing Saturday matinee fare boosted by the ever-reliable Johnson, who’s game enough to launch into a cheesy version of What A Wonderful World on a ukelele.
The effects – while impressive – aren’t designed to send smaller sprogs sprinting for the exit; just check out the chase set-piece on giant bumblebees and the panicky retreat from an incensed mammoth lizard.
Ultimately, it’s a good-old fashioned action romp – there’s no mystery about it.