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3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
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on February 16, 2000
This is a great movie. I've loved it since I first saw it when I was young. I wouldn't even have reviewed it though except to bring up a point that has always bugged me about it. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea takes place after the Civil War. Mysterious Island begins in the last year of the war. When the stranded soldiers meet Cpt. Nemo they say they had heard that the Nautilus had went down off the coast of Mexico some years before. They weren't on the island that long and even if they were they would have had no knowledge of the Nautilus, since it wouldn't come along for several years after they escaped in the balloon. I haven't read the book, so maybe it falls in a slightly different time frame than the movie. Anyway, that doesn't take anything away from the viewing pleasure of Mysterious Island. P.S. If anyone can clarify this for me please drop me an e-mail. I'd appreciate it. Writing about it just now has got me thinking about it again. Its just one of those odd little things that gets on your nerves from time to time.
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on September 17, 1999
This film is perhaps the best of the Verne adaptations, with solid direction from Cy Endfield, who right after this film , co produced and directed the epic classic, ZULU. Ray Harryhausen's special effects are a major part of the film for sure, but, the acting , script and drama, are also of equal caliber. Bernard Herrmann's score is a milestone in film music history. The London Symphony Orchestra gives the score the full power of Herrmann's genius (the new surround stereo sound is amazing to hear). Contrary to a previous review, the main title theme is not repeated over and over again, but is used only at the beginning, (one of the most dramatic main titles ever composed) and once more before the volcano eruption. Herbert Lom's performance of Capt. Nemo is of equal stature to James Mason's in Disneys 20,000 Leagues. The photography,art direction and sets etc. are exquisite. Of all of the Harryhausen films, this is the most character driven,and, a story where the human element is not secondary to the special effects.Produced with a big budget and with great taste,It embodies the very essence of adventure and drama and fun,that few if any films today can even approach.
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on July 1, 1999
Producer Charles Schneer produced this sequel to Jules Verne's "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" with art direction and special effects under the capable hands of Ray Harryhausen, whose stop-motion creatures are the highlights of the movie. A giant crab, an equally large prehistoric bird and a mammoth bee are but a few creatures that show up in this version, which is faithful to the Verne source material in major plot elements but differs in many details such as the addition of the giant creatures and the incorporation of a love interest.
Composer Bernard Hermann contributed an effective soundtrack that highlights the dangers that the castaways face, but the movie is almost "wall to wall" music, with the brassy main theme repeated again and again. Hermann is arguably the best, most influential soundtrack composer in motion picture history but here his music seems to be repeated and overused to the detriment of the movie.
The film opens during the the Civil War with a very well rendered escape sequence from a Confederate prisoner-of-war camp in Richmond, Virginia. The direction, music and Harryhausen's great effects work all come togther here to produce a truely thrilling escape sequence that opens the film and ultimately places the characters on the deserted, doomed Pacific island. The bulk of the movie takes place here as we see how the castaways survive on the desert isle and learn the ultimate fate of Captain Nemo and his famous submarine, the Nautilus.
This movie is a bit more character driven than most Schneer/Harryhausen efforts, with some emphasis placed on the internal conflicts of the castaways, but ultimately the Ray Harryhausen creatures and special effects steal the show.
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on May 13, 2002
A very entertaining adventure movie for the whole family with the F/X (special effects) of Ray Harryhausen and music of Bernard Herrmann. Once again this adaptation doesn't follow the book entirely. You still get the same great entertainment even though it does not. Castaway some men and women on an island without "Wilson", but with Captain Nemo, giant animals, giant insects, and cutthroat pirates. This all adds up to fun like the older version of Swiss Family Robinson, Treasure Island, or some other equivalent classic. Although not produced by Disney it is the same type of quality family oriented film with great cast, sets, special effects, and music. This was English made so the accents are a little thick for being Americans, but the acting is top notch. Well worth owning on DVD. If you enjoyed the Harryhausen version of "Jason and the Argonauts" you should enjoy this.
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on September 4, 1999
Those who have become accustomed to the virtually limitless possibilities of computer-generated special effects should learn to appreciate the "old ways," the by-now-primitive techniques that delivered the goods while working within the limits of the technology of the time. When you consider that Mysterious Island was produced in 1961, you have to marvel at the way the oversized creatures were brought to life in this film, thanks to the magical touch of Ray Harryhausen, the acknowledged master of stop-motion animation. But more than the special effects, this production is well-acted, beautifully filmed, perfectly scored, and intelligently written. Plus, it's an excellent way to introduce the kids to Jules Verne. I eagerly await the DVD release of this movie.
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on February 13, 2008
I recently purchased Mysterious Island and The 3 Worlds of Gulliver, two of my favorite Ray H. movies. Gulliver, albeit full screen, is a marvelous Dvd transfer and well worth the price. However, I cannot state the same praise for Mysterious Island. The transfer is disappointing, lacking clarity and crispness. Colours and close ups are quite acceptable but generally many far off scenes are not much better than VHS quality. There is a great deal of grain and dirt throughout the entire film. Columbia did not spend a lot on this DVD transfer. So the great story gets 5 stars easily....the transfer 3 stars, for an average of 4 stars. The movie is watchable and enjoyable with incredible special effects......I just feel I was short changed on the transfer...I expected better.
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on April 26, 2003
Finally got this DVD,and again I was disappointed with the less then great remaster of this movie. Just like the " 7th Voyage Of Sinbad" DVD, this one's soundtrack really let me down, especially when I had the vhs version where the picture and soundtrack was really remastered. The soundtrack on the vhs had a great surround sound quality, even though it never mentions it on the box cover,and this DVD sorely lacks this. Columbia Pictures really got sloppy with this like they did with "7th Voyage",and when they claim remastered in high definition sound and picture, and then its not,I think you should get your money back. The only reason I give it 2 stars is being in widescreen, and thats a shame as this is one of my favorite Harryhausen movies.
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on June 24, 2001
This is one of my kids' favorite adventure movies, along with "The Adventures of Robin Hood". It bears only a limited relationship to the book, but it's a great movie. It has those wonderful special effects and a great score, as other reviewers have mentioned, and it's a rousing rip-snorting adventure, too. There is no irony in this movie -- all of the performances are earnest (and I think that it's a good thing, since none of the cast have the panache to be heroic and self-mocking)-- but with a couple of minor exceptions the performances are solid. And watching this with my kids I forgot all about the shortcomings of the special effects, etc., and got caught up in the story.
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on May 3, 2014
Too expensive. Bought it from Wal-Mart for $ 9.95. Should check your partners more often as they sometimes increase prices for anyone who puts items on wish list.
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on October 25, 2003
Well I can't say that Colombia/Tri-Star make the best DVD's. Sometimes they put really boring bonus features on the DVD and a lot of forgetable film trailers added to make up for the lack of bonus features, but the DVD of Mysterious Island is an exception. The print of the movie is very good. Rather exceptionle picture and sound quality, including an informative making of featurette hosted by Ray Harryhausen on how the movie was made. And also a bonus, hardly any boring film trailers were put on it. One of the better Colombia/Tri-Star DVDs.
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