6.1/10
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20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1907)

20000 lieues sous les mers (original title)
| Short, Adventure, Fantasy

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Melies Take on the Novel
27 August 2011 | by (Louisville, KY) – See all my reviews

20000 lieues sous les mers (1907)

*** (out of 4)

aka 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

There's no question that this adaptation if more Melies than Jules Verne so fans of the classic novel really shouldn't come here expecting some sort of faithful version. What we see is the maker of a submarine who takes it to the bottom of the ocean where he witnesses various things ranging from mermaids to giant fish to sea horses. While at the bottom of the sea the man must figure out a way to reach land again. At just over 10-minutes there's obviously not enough time to be faithful to the novel but at the same time I don't think Melies would have been faithful had the film ran for two-hours. It's pretty clear that Melies is just wanting to use his bag of tricks at the bottom of the ocean and for the most part this makes for some entertainment. One scene that isn't very entertaining is a rather long sequence where we see some females doing a dance at the bottom of the ocean. I think the film is at its best when the director shows off the creations including the giant fish and a giant crab who attacks our hero. It should go without saying but these creatures certainly don't look real by today's standards but I think they contain a certain charm that really adds some value to the movie. The film never becomes too long, which is certainly a good thing and fans of science fiction should be entertained throughout.


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