Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959)

(i)

 

A fanciful sci-fi tale for the whole family.
  • Review Date: August 8, 2005
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Release Year: 1959
  • Running Time: 130 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Professor Oliver has no respect for women and verbalizes his opinions of the lesser sex. Of course, the women always end up right and the Professor mistaken.

Violence

The killing of prehistoric beasts.

Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this adaptation of Jules Verne's book is mostly clean fun, but the crew does face what appears to be certain death. The killing of some prehistoric animals may frighten young children.

What's the story?

After a lava rock reveals a secret message, the recently knighted Professor Lindenbrook (James Mason) and his favorite student Alec (Pat Boone) are off to a volcano that supposedly leads to the center of the earth. Much to Lindenbrook's chagrin, he is forced to take along the widow of a recently deceased rival scientist, since she owns some valuable equipment. The journey takes several months and the group is nearly killed when attacked by a descendant of an Icelandic scientist, the source of the original communication. Eventually, hundreds of miles below the earth's surface, the group discovers beasts long thought extinct, as well as the lost city of Atlantis.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

A bit hokey to be sure, but this action/adventure movie has a rip-roaring premise taken from the classic novel by Jules Verne. It has charming characters, especially the overbearing professor who is proven wrong on a regular basis. JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH also boasts diverting action sequences, and a grand, old-fashioned score.

One 13-year-old girl enjoyed the movie, with caveats. She enjoyed the imaginative story, especially the delightful surprises that Jules Verne throws the viewer's way. She also liked the scenery inside the volcano, which was shot on location at Carlsbad Caverns National Park. The sometimes-clunky special effects and Pat Boone's smarmy singing impressed her less. The world of late 19th-century Scotland is gloriously realized but the movie's depiction of Iceland -- obviously not shot on location -- is more dubiously represented and a great deal stranger (check out the hats!).

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what they would imagine is under the earth, if they weren't tethered to what science tell us. What fanciful animals? What kind of society would you create?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:December 16, 1959
DVD release date:March 4, 2003
Cast:Arlene Dahl, James Mason, Pat Boone
Director:Henry Levin
Studio:Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
Genre:Fantasy
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Adventures, Book characters
Run time:130 minutes
MPAA rating:G

This review of Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959) was written by

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Kid, 8 years old March 15, 2014

It's scary.

It's scary. There's a dead skeleton. A guy is poisoned. You see two other dead people. And it's so sad that the duck dies. It gave me nightmares. Should be rated PG-13.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Parent Written byROBERTGAIL October 22, 2011

JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH

MY NAME IS ROBERT HAYES I SAW THIS MOVIE IN 1959 AND IT HAS SAIED WITH ME ALL YHESE YEARS I NOW AM 63 YEARS OLD AND STILL LIKE WATCHING THIS MOVIE
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 13 years old Written bymoviegeek222 April 9, 2008

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