20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: A Film Review

This review is a Disney that we saw last week; staring Kirk Douglas and James Mason. I simply had to post about!

I don’t have pictures from it though. SIGH. I have the trailer and the song on my second playlist though. 🙂

Back of Box: “A trouble-shooting 19th century seaman is trying to discover why so many whaling ships have been disappearing of late. Teaming with a scientist and a diver, they set sail to investigate. They are promptly captured by the megalomaniac Captain Nemo, who skippers a lavish, scientifically advanced submarine.”

My Summary:‘20,000 Leagues Under the Sea’; the sea story of a man whose theology is clearly mixed up and the story of the three men whom get themselves ‘invited’ on board. Captain Nemo is a crazed man of hate and love; holding grudges against those who’d hurt him, missing the family who was no longer with him, and puffed up with the knowledge of the sea that he has discovered. His three visitors, victims of his submarine attack, the sympathetic Professor, his poor assistant and the daring harpooner, Ned, all struggle to understand the Captain’s ways. While Ned plans daily for escape, the Professor scribbles away in his diary all the things he sees and learns while submersed underwater. Fraught with wonder of gleaning everything you need from the sea, battling the ferocious giant squid, escaping cannibals, and underwater exploration, ‘20,000 Leagues Under The Sea‘ is an intriguing, mysterious, exciting, and  theological exercise to twist. “

First Thoughts: I didn’t know what to expect. It looked crazy and different but interesting. I knew it would be interesting because it was based after Jules Verne’s book, and I had read other samples of that man’s writing; fascinating stuff. So, I was hoping of an enjoyable old-fashioned Disney film.

Setting:It took place in the late 1800’s, I believe. Dad said it took place not long after the end of the civil war. I don’t remember a date; shame on me. Most of the story takes place on the submarine or in the water.

Characters: I have GOT to start on Ned Land! Absolutely LOVED the guy! It was the first time I ever thought to myself, “I like sailors!” He was cheery, had the best laugh, was determined to escape, and was a MAN. It’s tough to find movies where there are real MEN who are ready to do what a man’s gotta do. Ned was tough. He had plenty of fights, punching, and rescuing. The song he sings in the beginning, ‘A Whale of a Tale’, has been stuck in me and my sister’s heads for days (great tune, by the way). If Ned hadn’t been in the story, I probably wouldn’t have liked it that much. *Grin*. Of course, he’s played by some dude named Kirk Douglas, who must be very famous, but I don’t know that! 😛

The Professor Arronax was sympathetic to Captain Nemo to a degree, and was fascinated by what he had discovered. He was alright; I liked him a lot but not as much as Ned.

The professor’s assistant Conseil was almost as hilarious as Ned but for different reasons. He went between ‘Please, professor, let’s be going’ and ‘I didn’t have a choice’ and ‘Don’t go away! There are cannibals our there!” He was the official ‘please don’t do that’ guy.

Captain Nemo. In one way I was sympathetic to him. In another light, I despised him. He looked like a villain (in fact, Daddy said he was the same actor/villain from Cary Grant’s ‘North by Northwest’ but I didn’t recognize him. I think because he had a beard in this one).  His ideas of right and wrong were very mixed up: he was very mixed up. And even though he mentioned God, he’s certainly a good worldview exercise.

Film Quality: I guess you couldn’t say it was as fine as cinematography today, but I hear it was very good for its day. I wasn’t at all bugged by the quality as it was very good (then again, I am very used to old black and white films of not so good quality. Unspoiled, you might say. *wink*.) Very good. The special effects were good because I couldn’t tell very easily when there was special effects or not, like with some films. The squid battle was fascinating. I keep wondering how they got the arms to wave and grab…oh, I’m rambling.

Plot: The plot was different from anything I’ve seen yet. I haven’t watched many sea films at all (Sea Hawk and Captain Blood are all I can think of at the moment; both awesome Errol Flynn films, by the way.) It was intriguing and kept my interest. I liked the plot of slowly finding out about Captain Nemo’s life, too. And following Ned’s attempts for escape was humorous.

Dislikes: Well, Captain Nemo’s reasons for smashing boats, for one. Captain Nemo in a whole, actually. Lol I am a firm believer in one man for one women; Ned didn’t seem to have the same idea *sigh*, one of the few things I didn’t like about him. I can’t think of anything else at the moment.

Final Thoughts: I read on a review somewhere that someone said one had to grow up watching this film to really love it. I only saw it last Saturday, and I enjoyed it immensely. In fact, if I watch again, I will probably learn to love it in whole by that time. So, I really enjoyed the film; and it’s made me want to dig up the original story to read it. 🙂 I want to see if Ned is really as awesome in the book as he is in the film. I would recommend with caution for small children. We allowed Nathan to watch up to the sea squid. Mom remembered that was a more intense part from her childhood and had us pause and put him to bed before we watched that part. It would be a scary part for a smaller child. The story might also be a bit confusing, too. Other wise, I really enjoyed this film. So…four out of five stars. Watch out. I might come back and change that! LOL And I now am off to find the song “A Whale of A Tale” to learn!

“Gotta whale of a tale to tell you, lads. A whale of a tail or two! Of the flappin’ fish and the girls I’ve loved on nights like this with the moon above. A whale of a tale and it’s all true, I swear by my tattoo!” Yehaa! *Giggles*

~Jamie Joyce


5 thoughts on “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: A Film Review

  1. I enjoyed it too!
    I thought the ending was a little quick but the story plot and characters were lovable and intriguing!!! And I only said I like the chorus of that song!!! lol.

    1. I didn’t say you liked the whole; geez, you are always reading to what I said. I said you had it stuck in your head. You can always have songs that you don’t like stuck in your head. Clarified?!

      ~Jamie Joyce

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