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Jules Verne's Mysterious Island
Jules Verne's Mysterious Island
Actors: Russell Mulcahy, Kyle MacLachlan, Danielle Calvert
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Television
NR     2006     2hr 50min

Prisoners who escape from a Confederate prison by balloon find themselves stranded on a mysterious island filled with gigantic animals. Genre: Television Rating: NR Release Date: 3-JAN-2006 Media Type: DVD

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Movie Details

Actors: Russell Mulcahy, Kyle MacLachlan, Danielle Calvert
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Television
Sub-Genres: Fantasy, Miniseries
Studio: Platinum Disc
Format: DVD - Color,Full Screen
DVD Release Date: 01/31/2006
Original Release Date: 01/01/2005
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2005
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 2hr 50min
Screens: Color,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 2
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
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Movie Reviews

Little Relation to the Book--A Challenge to Watch
S. Brown | Potsdam, NY United States | 08/14/2006
(1 out of 5 stars)

"As a fan of Verne's, The Mysterious Island, I had high hopes for the movie. The movie, however, was a serious disappointment. The movie was a sub-B grade level -- remember those awful Sunday Afternnon matinee movies on TV? except for the film quality (not grainy), this is worse.

I wish I could say good things about the movie; but in starting, each leads to serious negatives.

1) The movie has little relationship to the book. The characters are distorted (Neb, the black, is horribly annoying with a modern 'tude that is pathetic), characters are added (there are no women in the book), and there are few fantastic creatures (a la Jurrasic Park or the older giant B-movie creature movies of the 60's). This movie may be an amusing test for high school teachers who assign Mysteruious Island and get book reports from this movie instead.

2) Verne's book builds the characters, relationships, problem solving, and plot. The book has suspense and excellent character development. The movie destroys this with almost cartoonish characters. The most annoying are the Neb character in the movie (in the book, Neb is an excellent character). The Neb character in the movie looks and acts like a gangsta rapper. The attitude and annoying dismissal of the time period context go beyond annoying and reach revisionist proportions. Frankly, I found his character offensive and racist. Neb's foil in the movie, Pencroft, again, a well developed character in the book, is portrayed as a southerner, thief, and buffoon. Pencroft is always guaranteed to trip, stumble, or blunder while Neb deftly and lightly perseveres. Apparently, this buffonish characterization is OK since he was a southerner after all. The rest of the characters are hollow. Stewart does an interesting portrayal of Nemo. The other characters are boring. The female characters are superfluous and annoying -- not to mention, portrayed as weak.

3) The giant creatures are comical and are not in the book. Verne uses literary skill to build suspense -- not giant insects as grafted-on artificial suspense. Even more laughable is the character reactions to the attacks by the giant animals (and why was the rat smaller than the praying mantis?). The actors seem like wooden actors reciting lines. My favorite was the young girl commenting after an attack, "I am thirsty," in a tone sounding like a spoiled child.

4) The Nemo character ruins the suspense. In the book, the Nemo character is not revealed until the end (at least openly). This is part of the "mysterious" in Mysterious Island. In the movie, the Nemo character becomes a central and fantastic theme. His sidekick is not convincing and becomes an almost omniscient character vying with Nemo. He is likewise annoying. The Nemo related sets needlessly copy other films -- e.g., the electric fence of Jurrasic Park and the submarine of Disney. Revealing this character too soon undermines the most interesting aspects of the book and sets up a whole new story.

In general, if you like Verne, this movie will disappoint. If you like good acting, this movie will disappoint. If you like a plot, this movie will disappoint. If you like amateurish B-movies with giant rendered animals; a weak, implausible story; and gangsta' rappers travelling back in time; you may tolerate this movie."
It does have part two
microjoe | 11/13/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Some viewers may get the mistaken impression that the movie just ends half way with a "to Be Continued" screen, and you get ripped off on the rest of the story. NOT TRUE. It was a miniseries, and it was produced in two parts. To see part two, wait for the credits to complete rolling by at the end of the movie, and part two will start. Also, once you are watching part one, return to the menu, and you will find the link to part two. So the menu system is weird, but the film is complete.
For a television miniseries it was not too bad at all. The computer animated monsters were very impressive, and the actors were not bad, an it has Patrick Stewart. I think it is a great deal for a blu-ray disc. While I am partial to the classic version of the movie with it's Ray Harryhausen effects, this new version was fun too."
A Whole New Treatment
Joshua Koppel | Chicago, IL United States | 01/17/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Escapees from a Civil War prison camp have their balloon blown to the Pacific where they find refuge on an island. But it is a dangerous island where giant animals run free and man is on the dinner list. But safely hidden away is a recluse and his manservant. The recluse is Captain Nemo. He offers aid to the refugees if they help him with his work. Nemo is creating a bomb that can destroy an entire city. The idea being that when men see how destructive war can be they will stop practicing war altogether because the consequences are to high. Needles to say the refugees refuse to help and they are sent out into the dangerous jungle.

But once in the jungle there are other dangers waiting. A legendary pirate treasure lures deadly pirates to the island. Nemo does not like the pirates but he refuses to help though the manservant does not agree. Finally the forces of good unite to repel the pirates and things pretty much work out.

This is not true to the book or even other film versions and many reviewers will point it out and complain that the story should be true to the original. Of course the original was a sequel to 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA and it was not true to that so even Verne is at fault. But there are worse things wrong that not being true to the book. The balloon is blown over 6,000 miles against the trade winds. The characters survive with a single canteen and no food (that must have been a super-fast balloon). Arial shots show the volcano on the back side of the island but it is usually down the beach in ground shots. It is said the island is uncharted by any man. I am sure Nemo knows where it is. Plus, the pirates have no problems finding it and other survivors have brought out tales of monsters. The end has a moment that implies the survivors will not survive past the credits 9unintentional I am sure but there just the same). The thing in the cave has tentacles according to the shadows but turns out to be spiders later on. Nemo gets stuck for no reason. No mention of the seaworthiness of his vessel is ever made so one has to wonder why he doesn't just drive it away (ho obviously plans to leave and use his weapon). There are too many monsters to be supported on the island. Many of them pass through vegetation due to bad coordination between the sets and the CGI.

It is a fun story but it could have made more sense by just changing a few lines. There was no need to keep brining in new monsters. Just a couple that kept showing up would have done the same job and seemed less ridiculous. But it is fun and full of action which is probably what was trying to be done. If you want entertainment then this qualifies. If you want true Jules Verne, then this does not. Check it out."
Decent TV remake of the 1961 version with Patrick Stewart as
- Durrkk | Ohio/PA border USA | 11/20/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Being a big fan of the original 1961 version of "Mysterious Island," I HAD to see this 2005 TV remake. Despite the somewhat lackluster reviews, a few things perked my interest, like Patrick Stewart (aka Star Trek's Captain Picard) as Captain Nemo, Gabrielle Anwar and the long runtime of 170 minutes, just ten minutes shy of 3 hours (!). What compelled me to seek out this DVD more than anything is the simple fact that I'm a sucker for lost-in-the-wilderness type adventures.

THE PLOT: A handful of people, including a nurse and her daughter, escape in a balloon from a Confederate prison in Virginia. Storm winds ludicrously take them West into the South Pacific where they land on an uncharted island. There they discover numerous huge animals and two men living as recluses, the master being the mad genius Captain Nemo, who hates war so much he's trying to invent the atomic bomb in order to stop it altogether. Add to this mix a ship of pirates seeking a chest of treasure hidden somewhere on the island.

Despite the film's full title "Jules Verne's Mysterious Island," the story is based on the 1961 movie rather than Jules Verne's book. All the elements of the 1961 version are here with a few notable changes: The story is switched around so that Captain Nemo is revealed right away rather than near the end and the castaways don't search the island and make their home in the cliff until the second half of the story. Also, there are way more gigantic creatures -- a mantis, rat, scorpian, ant, eagle, spiders, octopuss, etc.

WHAT WORKS: The Thailand locations are incredibly scenic; the cast is decent -- characters you don't like at the beginning you'll probably start liking by the end; the score is excellent throughout; the story maintains a vibe of realism despite the absurdities (for instance, it's never goofy or campy like, say, "Pirates of the Caribbean"); the CGI special effects for the various creatures are pretty good; the pirates look & act like real pirates (the captain is particularly impressive) with a good mix of races and an accurate Eastern-styled ship; and the second half of the story is much more captivating than the first half (so if you're bored with the first half, stick around -- it gets better).

During the first half of the story you'll note a growing attraction between the castaway leader (Kyle MacLachlan) and Gabrielle Anwar's character. In the second half, this culminates in a seriously passionate kiss. I'm usually not into kissing scenes, but this is one smoking hot kiss!! If you think the greatest cinematic kiss is in "Jerry McGuire" or "The Whole Wide World" (which indeed have famous kiss scenes), check this out.

After hearing the criticism leveled at the black castaway Neb (Omar Gooding), I was prepared for the worst. Upon seeing the film, however, I don't get the beef. Not one bit. Neb, as portrayed, is far from an "1860's gansta rapper with an attitude." When they first land on the island he shows a bit of angst toward the unlikable character Pencroff in response to the criticism, "You're just a slave anyway." Neb rightly responds that they're far from the Confederacy and slavery doesn't exist on deserted islands. Isn't it realistic that Neb would revel in a new-found sense of freedom now that he's far from the social constrictions of the Confederacy and America in general? Besides, his "attitude" is short-lived. He's actually a likable character as the rest of the film bears out. Interestingly, even though Pencroff is an irritating weasel throughout most of the story he redeems himself near the end and even reveals his love and respect for Neb (and vice versa). I wasn't expecting this.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: Captain Nemo isn't remotely likable here -- he's basically just a grumpy recluse who happens to be brilliant; there are probably TOO MANY monsters -- sometimes less is more; the explanation for the numerous large creatures is lame (why didn't they just chalk it up to Nemo's experiments like the original film?); I found it hard to believe that the handful of male castaways could prevail against an entire ship of pirates during the onboard battle in the second half (but this is larger-than-life fantasy, right? And the fight is thrilling); and the CGI effects at the very end depicting lava and an erupting volcano aren't very impressive (although they get the job done).

One of the highlights of the original film was cutie Beth Rogan and her skimpy cavegirl outfit. Unfortunately neither female cast member in this remake dons such an outfit. I suppose it's more realistic, of course. Anyway, Danielle Calvert certainly possesses a undeniable cuteness as Helen, but Beth Rogan blows her out of the water.

FINAL ANALYSIS: The critics are a bit too hard on this 2005 remake. It's a respectable TV updating of the story. If you love awe-inspiring island locations, a great score, island adventure, gigantic creatures, convincing pirates, lost treasure, Captain Nemo and insightful moralizing about the evils of war, you'll want to catch this remake. The original 1961 version is a nigh-masterpiece and I admit that I can't say that about this version. It's somewhat flawed and doesn't have the mystery-build-up of the original, but it has numerous positive aspects the first one lacks, and it'll likely grow on me in years to come.

This is a must if you appreciate adventure/fantasy films like the original 1961 version, Sinbad, Conan, Jurassic Park and Pirates of the Caribbean (not that I'm a big fan of the latter two franchises, but this newer version of "Mysterious Isand" is strongly reminiscent of those films in certain areas)."