Friday, 9 June 2017
Jules Verne's Mysterious Island (2012)
2012 saw the release of Journey 2: Mysterious Island on the big screen. It was a pretty average film, frankly, but it was a big enough release that it was inevitable someone would trot out a cheapie adaptation of Jules Verne's novel in the hope of riding its coattails.
I actually came to the film via a different route, however: I'd recently purchased the 1961 and 2005 versions of the story and was actively searching for other interpretations. When I discovered this one, with a leading role for Gina Holden, I had to pick it up. Ms Holden makes a habit of turning up in TV shows that almost no-one but me likes (Blood Ties, Flash Gordon) and I thought I'd see if that translated to film.
It doesn't, for the record. Ms Holden was also in Sand Sharks in 2012, and I would not be willing to put money on this film being better than that one.
We begin in March 1865, where several Union soldiers - and one Confederate - end up being blown out to sea in a hot air balloon. A massive storm arises, and they end up crash-landing on a tropical island. An island they soon discover is inhabited with dangerous beast-men.
Things escalate when a small plane also crashes on the island. Aboard are two young women from 2012. Their information that the Union ultimately wins the Civil War is naturally welcomed by most of the men. Though frankly, in March 1865 the Confederacy's end was literally only weeks away, so it shouldn't be the surprise it's presented to be.
Also welcome is a stately home they find on the island, which offers some protection from the beast-men (who are the laughably least menacing menaces that ever didn't menace menacingly), and the occasional gifts they receive from a mysterious benefactor (spoiler for 150 year old book: it's Captain Nemo).
On the debit side? The island has a volcano, and it will shortly kill them all if they don't find a way to escape from this time-lost land.
The cheapness of this film is apparent throughout the movie's run time, but I could forgive that if the script wasn't such a clumsy mess of ham-handed exposition, paper-thin characters, and revelations that don't actually matter.
Hopefully one or both of the other adaptations will be better - they'll both be reviewed here eventually, so we will find out!