This adaptation of the Jules Verne novel begins with a scientist, Professor Harlech (F. Murray Abraham) talking to his class about venturing to a hidden land beneath the Earth via a drilling machine--and then they build it, though it doesn't go as planned when it's sent down into the live volcano. Ten years later his protegee, Chris Turner, approaches a company to fund his drilling machine--and he finds out they stole his ideas and have already built it. He nevertheless agrees to work for them as this may be his only chance to make the journey. He hand picks seven people for crew, among them an old girlfriend and an over-the-top soldier (Tim Russ of VOYAGER). They make it to a huge underground cavern where they awaken an ancient humanoid who seems to be influenced by Darth Vader. There are also these puppet-looking manta ray creatures that serve him that reminded me of THE BOOGENS. The coolest thing is a Yeti-like being they encounter (Carl Struycken of ADAMS FAMILY). There's also a cameo by Sam Raimi (director of EVIL DEAD, SPIDERMAN) as a helicopter pilot.
Overall, the entire movie is rather pathetic, badly written, over-acted, and has a story that repeatedly grinds to a halt. Why call it JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH when the only thing it uses from the book is the premise?