Literature: Journey to the Center of the Earth
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First, an 1864 Jules Verne Science Fiction
novel (the French original being titled Voyage au centre de la Terre
) about a German professor and his nephew, who travel down volcanic tubes in an extinct Icelandic volcano. They then discover prehistoric animals and all sorts of danger as they go down farther. Verne was inspired by Charles Lyell's Geological Evidences of the Antiquity of Man
to write it, although the science has not aged very well compared to his other books (at least, science as Professor Lidenbrock describes it...see the What We Now Know to Be True
Then were the numerous adaptations, including the 1959 film starring Pat Boone and James Mason, with added characters such as Gertrude the duck and Count Saknussem
, notable in its day for the special effects. In 2008 a 3-D Movie
starring Brendan Fraser
was made, which spawned a Sequel
and loose adaptation of The Mysterious Island
which is, apparently, Atlantis
There was also an Animated Adaptation
in the late '60s, and let's not forget the Concept Album
(plus sequel and expanded remake) by Rick Wakeman.
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- Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: The ichthyosaur and plesiosaur.
- Beneath the Earth
- Break the Scientist: Invoked, as Axel knows the whole concept of a hollow-earth journey makes absolutely no sense (see the "Science Marches On" entry below).
- Comic Trio: notably lampshaded, proving that this trope is older than the Three Stooges. Axel sees himself as the Only Sane Man, with Professor Lidenbrock as the idiotic leader and Hans as the even more idiotic follower. He later changes his mind...
- Convection Schmonvection: The explorers are carried up the tube of a volcano by lava on their raft of fossilized wood (an asbestos dish in the 1959 movie, a dinosaur skull in the 2008 one) which in real life would get them cooked alive.
- Dub Name Change: Some editions of the novel change Axel's name to "Harry Lawson" and Lidenbrock's name to "Von Hardwigg."
- Eccentric Mentor: Professor Lidenbrock.
- Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: Everything's better with ancient marine reptiles.
- Fee Fi Faux Pas: At the beginning of the book.
- Fungus Humongous: The explorers find giant mushrooms in a huge underground cave.
- Hollow Earth
- Hot-Blooded: Professor Lidenbrock.
- In Name Only: Most adaptations take great liberty with the source material, probably because Seinfeld Is Unfunny.
- It's the Journey That Counts: The heroes don't get anywhere near the center of the Earth, but they become world famous anyway since the discoveries they've made are plenty revolutionary on their own.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Professor Lidenbrock has shades of this.
- The Load: Axel, dear Axel. He spends the entire book moaning about going on the trip, trying to stop them from going. Always trying to get everybody to turn back. Is constantly fainting, getting lost, oh and it was his idea to use the gun-cotton near the end. In his defence, he really didn't want to go on the expedition, but was too afraid of Lidenbrock to say no to him.
- Lost World
- Mad Scientist: Professor Lidenbrock; at least of the one-track mind type.
- My Girl Back Home: Gräuben (Gretchen in many English editions).
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Axel's idea to use the gun-cotton not only nearly kills them and puts an end to the expedition, but also destroys the way downwards.
- No Endor Holocaust: What happened to the Lidenbrock Sea and its unique flora and fauna after the explosion?
- Pet the Dog: Lidenbrock becomes quite sympathetic when he thinks his quest will result in Axel's death, but then reverts back to his usual behaviour as soon as they're safe again.
- The Quiet One: Hans, professor Lidenbrock's and Axel's Icelandic guide.
- Red-Headed Hero: Hans.
- Saying Too Much: When Axel figures out the cipher to Arne Saknussemm's note, the example he uses to demonstrate it accidentally reveals his love for Gräuben, Lidenbrock's ward. Amusingly, Lidenbrock completely ignores this revelation as he's more interested in decrypting the note.
- Science Marches On/Artistic License – Geology: Completely subverted. The science in the novel is not cockeyed because of the time period it was written in, but rather because Verne was guided by Rule of Cool. He knew that the "science" was laughable, and continually lampshades it, with Axel explaining why what they're doing should be completely impossible while his uncle refuses to listen. Axel's explanations are based on the latest 19th century theories of geology, and they actually stand up pretty well; indeed, in the final chapter, he states that he sees no reason to consider the stuff they find anything but localized exceptions.
- Stay in the Kitchen: It could have been a good idea for Gräuben to join the expedition instead of Axel. Even if she had been no more useful than Axel was, at least she wouldn't have been whining all the time, as she at least wanted to join (but though she cannot because she's a girl.)
- The Stoic: Hans.
- Sundial Waypoint: How they locate the cave entrance.
- What We Now Know to Be True: Axel keeps protesting every step of their adventure with fairly accurate comments about the heat and pressure of the Earth's interior, and the sheer impossibility of a navigable passage leading to the center of the Earth, all of which his uncle brushes aside as outdated theory. It's left open at the end who would've been proven right if they'd kept going.
The 1959 movie
- Absent-Minded Professor: Sir Oliver walks through the marching band of a Highland regiment because he's wrapped up in reading his newspaper.
- Accidental Discovery: The plumb bob that clues Lindenbrook in to Arne Saknussem's solo expedition is revealed because of a small accidental explosion.
- Adaptation Dye-Job: Redhead Hans becomes blonde here.
- Artistic License – Astronomy: Lindenbrook remarks that more is known about the stars and galaxies than about the Earth's deeper layers. At the time the film is set, distant galaxies were called "spiral nebulae"; only our own Milky Way was referred to as a "galaxy".
- Bad Boss: It's heavily implied Count Saknussem literally worked his servant to death.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: Sir Oliver Lindenbrook and Carla Göteborg.
- Canon Foreigner: Professor Göteberg and his wife Carla, Gertrude the duck, and Count Saknussem and his servant. Basically, half the principal cast.
- Determined Widow: Carla Göteborg falls into this role before her husband is even in the ground.
- Disney Villain Death: Count Saknussem
- Double Take: Alec uncovers Göteberg's blanket-draped body while searching the hotel room's stockpiled supplies, then covers it up again and goes on searching for a moment before realizing what he's seen.
- Dub Name Change: Professor Lidenbrock of the Johanneum in Hamburg becomes Professor Sir Oliver Lindenbrook of Edinburgh University, Axel becomes Alec McEwan.
- Fungus Humongous
- Gentle Giant: Hans, until the moment he finds his beloved Gertrude has been eaten.
- Hollywood Magnetism: The pole at center of the earth rips away Hans's gold tooth and Carla's wedding ring, which Sir Oliver takes the time to point was also gold.
- I Fell for Hours
- Jumped at the Call: Alec, who proposes to go on Sir Oliver's expedition instead of staying to marry his niece. This is the exact opposite of The Narrator in the novel, who only goes along because he doesn't have the courage to tell Sir Oliver where he can stick his mad idea of exploring the interior of the Earth.
- Kick the Dog: Count Saknussem commits murder and mayhem to deter his rivals, but finally crosses the Moral Event Horizon for the audience when he eats Gertrude!
- Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Pat Boone as Alec.
- Peek-A-Boo Corpse: Count Saknussem's dead servant.
- Politically Incorrect Hero: Sir Oliver is not afraid to explain away Carla's usefulness because, "she's a woman". He then goes on to complain about her waking the expedition up when she hears men moving above them, which Oliver dismisses as "rat's in the attic". Later, when she is proven correct, instead of apologizing like any good leader would, he insults her again. Then proceeds to continue insulting her for the rest of the journey. He finally appears to pull his head out of his ass after they return to the surface, which gets him out of that mindset by the end of the film.
- Race Lift: Changing the German protagonists to Scots. But then it was just fourteen years after the end of World War 2.
- Self-Disposing Villain: After Count Saknussem has eaten Gertrude, Hans is fully prepared to commit murder. Fortunately, the villain enacts this trope instead.
- Shirtless Scene: Pat Boone spends a number of scenes wearing nothing but shorts and oil, and Hans gets in on the action sometimes too. Even Sir Oliver manages to show off his Carpet of Virility once.
- Slurpasaur: The movie features rock iguanas with plastic fins masquerading as Dimetrodons, and a tegu lizard covered in red paint as a "giant chameleon."
- Team Pet: Gertrude the surprisingly useful duck.
- Token Evil Teammate: Count Saknussem.
- Trail Of Breadcrumbs: The sets of three chipped notches, left behind by Arne Saknussen.
The 2008 movie
- Abandoned Mine: Shortly after taking refuge in a cave on the side of an Icelandic volcano, the crew discovers a lava tube that leads to an abandoned mine shaft.
- Animal Reaction Shot: when Sean has trouble traversing the floating rocks, his little luminous bird buddy shakes its head in despair.
- Artistic License – Geology: Veins of pure magnesium that cause violent explosions when exposed to a flare? The volcanic tube encrusted with gigantic, flawless jewels of many different types right next to each other? And this is before they fall to the Center! Couldn't the filmmakers have consulted someone who paid attention in highschool science?
- Artistic License – Paleontology: The phosphorescent birds are identified as Cyanis rosopteryx, which is stated to be a Jurassic bird. Not only is this not actually a real species, but they also resemble modern-style birds, which did not arise until the Cretaceous period.
- Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Come the end of the film, Hannah looks as fresh faced and blemish free as she does when we first meet her, despite the rough and tumble of their journey.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: Between Trevor and Hannah.
- Bioluminescence Is Cool: Bioluminescent birds, of all things. Not to mention that they're birds which normally live in a well-lit area.
- Cell Phones Are Useless: Getting a signal after walking into a cave and after a landside: impossible. Traversing an ocean miles underneath the surface of the Earth, in a thunderstorm: lousy reception.
- Chekhov's Gun
- The magnesium ore being easily inflamed by distress flares.
- The thin layer of fragile rocks.
- The gemstones...
- Clothing Damage: Trevor ends up ripping one of the sleeves of his shirt. After a moment he rips the other one off himself.
- Convection Schmonvection
- Drool Hello: The Giganotosaurus copiously drooling on Sean Anderson from above a boulder.
- Flying Sea Food Special
- Fungus Humongous
- Hot Scientist: Trevor Anderson. A given, since he's played by Brendan Fraser.
- I Fell for Hours
- Loyal Animal Companion: The bioluminescent bird.
- Man-Eating Plant: The cavern is filled with giant Venus flytraps that are unable to eat humans, but growl and snap at them anyway for no apparent reason. Also, their roots are attached to snake-like vines that hang people by the neck to strangle them, also for no apparent reason. It seems that even when it comes to plants, Carnivores Are Mean.
- Offhand Backhand: Trevor to a carnivorous plant.
- Overly-Long Scream: When the main characters fall down the hole leading to the center of the Earth. Of the "take a deep breath, then continue screaming" variety.
- Rollercoaster Mine: Complete set with a jump a point where the track splits into three, follows the same route, finally meeting up at the same point.
- Shoot the Money: Lots of point in the film show off the 3D... unless you're watching it in 2D of course, then it just looks a bit odd.
- Soft Water: The heroes fall easily thousands of feet down a rock shaft and hit water with little more than a few gasps after they surface. They try to subvert this by using the walls as a "water slide" to slow their descent.
- They landed on a non-boiling geyser, spraying a lot of air and water upward to cushion their fall.
- Super Cell Reception: There is a cellphone that works at the center of the Earth. Worse yet, not only is it just a joke that's not essential to the plot, but there was a scene in the same movie where a cell phone won't work inside of a normal cave.
- Tyrannosaurus rex: Giganotosaurus, actually, as is stated in special features. Naturally chasing the protagonists.
The 2012 movie
- Artifact Title: A mild case. The title would have made more sense if they had left off the "Journey 2" part, but there is technically a journey (just not to the center of the earth and it's not particularly long as they spend most of the movie trying to get off The Mysterious Island).
- Canon Welding: This movie makes least the settings of Journey To The Center of The Earth and The Mysterious both equally real in-universe, as well as parts of Treasure Island and Gulliver's Travels
- Do Not Call Me Paul: Henry... er, I mean Hank. Actually, it's not made clear if Henry really is Hank's name, or if Hank isn't really a nickname, but all the same, Hank doesn't like being called Henry.
- Fanservice: Vanessa Hudgens wearing a tank top and short shorts for almost the entire movie. Also, did any male viewers who saw it in 3D regret paying extra in the scene where she crawls out of a collapsing tunnel with the camera on her from behind? Thought not.
- Genre Blindness: Hank. Lampshaded at one point.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Hank is a genuinely caring person, and does worry about Sean. But, the way he insults Sean's grandfather, in front of Sean, is just a tad mean-spirited. He gets better though.
- Alexander, for mainly the same reasons. He and Hank pretty much take turns insulting and undermining each other for the first half of the movie before beginning to respect each other.
- Male Gaze: Practically the moment Kailani appears, in a tank top, the camera goes straight to her breasts.
- Non-Singing Voice: Averted; that really is Dwayne Johnson singing "What A Wonderful World" with new lyrics (and again over the end credits, with the proper ones).
- The Other Darrin: Sean's mother was played by Jane Wheeler in the 2008 film. Here, it's Kristen Davis.
- Pec Flex: Hank's "Pec Pop of Love."
- Playing Against Type: Given that most of Vanessa Hudgens's screen roles have her as someone who isn't as sweet as she looks, the gentle Kailani practically is Playing Against Type for her.
- Shout-Out: The giant iguana is a huge Shout-Out towards monster movies in the 50s when they used iguanas and gators for dinosaurs.
- Why Did It Have To Be Lizards? Why couldn't it be snakes?