A great cast,but an overly long film,
This review is from: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (Special Edition) (DVD)20,000 Leagues Under The Sea(released Dec/54)stars Kirk Douglas,Peter Lorre,James Mason and Paul Lukas,in Walt Disney's take on the Jules Verne novel of the same name.This was the first of the Buena Vista releases and the first Sci-Fi directed by Walt himself.However,like many other Disney productions,this movie is slightly over done and stretched in length.It comes in around the 127 minute mark and by the end you have looked at the time more than once wondering when the end is coming.
Disney's take in this movie shows us a Captain Neemo(Mason)as a disturbed and conflicted individual;thinking he has found perfection under the sea,coupled with his on going battle and hatred of those from the land.There are consistent philosophic arguments between Neemo and Prof.Arounax(Lukas),but in the end which side,if any,we the audience fall on is left up to us.
Neemo's presence is strongly felt in the South seas as ship after ship succumb to his attacks.Thinking they are sea monsters an expedition is sent out to get to the bottom of things.The Prof.,his assistant Conseil(Lorre)and ship hand Ned(Douglas)have their ship sunk under their feet and are taken aboard Neemo's ship/submarine the Nautilus.Between the Professor and Neemo's philosophical ramblings,we get to see Neemo's world and how he has lived undersea for years and the reason he has such a loyal crew.Also we get some singing from Kirk himself and some comical moments between him and a seal and Conseil.Neemo has set up a base of operations in the middle of a volcanic island.Land,with the support of Conseil,has sent many a floating bottle off asking for rescue and the location of Neemo's base.When the sub Nautilus arrives at the base it has been surrounded by various war ships,bent on its destruction.Neemo sneaks in,plants an explosive device to blow up the island,but in his escape gets fatally wounded.When the explosion occurs,a long shot shows a mushroom shaped cloud(can you say A-bomb?).The Professor,Conseil and Land have escaped the sub in a skiff and the resultant tsunami from the explosion sinks the sub and all aboard.
Technically speaking the film is clear and crisp in its' original a/r of 2:55:1.Extras abound in this two disc edition.The first disc has the movie,commentary and a Donald Duck cartoon in Cinemascope.The 2nd disc contains audio radio spots,Lorre's ADR tracks,featurettes on the making of the film,Disney and Verne and the real life squid,rare footage of the squid sequence,storboarding of the film,the trailer and much more.
All in all a recommended Disney release of this /54 film favourite.Disney does the film up right with the myriad of extras included here.The film itself I found to be a bit on the long side,typical of Disney for many,many years,but the strong cast is A-1.However it is a flick film goers of all ages can enjoy.