The Ultimate Guide to Christmas Specials

Christmas TV specials, limited series and movies are bigger than ever these days from now until the New Year, you’ll be able to find some festive yule-tide programming every night of the week. From the traditional viewing of It’s a Wonderful Life, the different versions of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, to baking shows and live music specials, we’ve got them all listed on the new Christmas TV Specials page. (Since not all of the networks list their specials early, this list will be updated throughout the coming weeks, so check back often for new additions!)

Journey 2: Not Worth the Trip

“Journey 2: The Mysterious Island” is a sequel of sorts from the 2008 movie, “Journey to the Center of the Earth,” but only two things link the two together. One, they are both loosely based of Jules Verne novels and Josh Hutcherson. In the first movie, Hutcherson plays Sean, who goes on an exciting adventure with his uncle played by Brendan Fraser. They go to the “center of the earth” to find his missing father. In this movie, Sean is looking for his lost grandfather. (Doesn’t anyone in this family leave notes?)

Sean is convinced that his grandfather, Alexander (Michael Caine), who has been missing for two years, have found the “Mysterious Island” of the Jules Verne novel. He wants to go there alone (with what funds?) but his step dad, Hank (Dwayne Johnson), won’t hear of it. However, Hank does think that traveling to a mythical island to find or rescue a relative that you’ve never met is a good excuse for some family bonding. The pair meet up with a pilot (Luis Guzman) and his strong-willed daughter (Vanessa Hudgens) and convinces him to take them to the island. Long story short, the plane crashes on the island where small animals are huge and huge animals and tiny. In no time at all, they find grandpa but have to get off the island immediately as it is about ready to sink in the ocean.

As a dad, I see this as a pretty good family movie. It’s clean, well-paced and has a good cast. As an adult, I see that they could have done better. While the actors are good, the lines aren’t and the story is convoluted with plot holes as big as the giant bumblebees. Sean and Hank don’t get along. Hank and grandpa have just met but they don’t get alone either. Sean develops a crush on the girl, but she doesn’t like Sean. None of these scenarios are explained. It’s as if the writers like the characters to throw barbs at each other but forgot to give them a reason why.

The special effects are fairly good, but sometimes the CGI takes over the view. The best thing that can be said of this picture is that it was shot in 3D, so some of the gimmicks really stand out. I guess you can say that the film has a nice message about the importance of family and why it is good to communicate with each other.

What I liked best about this picture was the short film that came before it, “Daffy’s Rhapsody.” This 3D cartoon features Daffy Duck and Elmer Fudd in a music hall. Daffy is putting on a show, but Elmer was to shoot him down. Despite that the characters are in 3D form, the cartoon feels very much likes the earlier greats of Warner Bros. Part of this is due to the fact that it voiced by legendary Mel Blanc. Blanc died a while ago, but the animation department came across a children’s album that Blanc recorded many years ago and decided to use that as the soundtrack.

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