Journey to the Center of the Earth is a delightful explorer movie that should be a part of your never-ending backlog of movies you still need to watch. To clarify, this review is about the made-for-TV version, not the theatrical one starring Brendan Frasier.

As expected of any made-for-TV adaptation, this movie is a cheesy and low-budget retelling of a book of the same name. While I do not know how true this adaptation is to the book, it is an adaptation I very much enjoyed. Full disclosure, I have not seen the theatrical version, and I can’t make the comparison. That said, this film is proof that a movie doesn’t require a huge budget, fancy computer graphics, or big named actors to have a compelling story. While it may not be Indiana Jones, it nuzzles itself neatly into its charming place in the genre.

Professor Jonathan Brook has been hired by an heiress to find her lost husband Edward. With the help of a local Russian settler, his nephew, and the heiress, Jonathan must comb the Alaskan wilderness for Edward. What they find in Alaska is greater than the mere fate of a long-lost Edward.

I loved this movie, but this movie isn’t perfect. You can tell the actors are trying their hardest to do period-appropriate accents, some of the action is stiff and awkward, and the graphics are terrible, but that is part of the charm. All things considered, it can tell a compelling and interesting narrative. 

The only real issue I had with this movie was how they treated the natives. It is unavoidable for movies, especially older ones, to have problematic representations of minorities. It isn’t bad enough that I would discourage people from watching this movie, but it is an issue nonetheless. 

This is a pretty great way to spend two hours, especially if you love cheesy movies. You can watch this movie for free on YouTube. You can do a lot worse for free.