The year is 1886, when New England's fishing harbours are the scene for a "creature of unknown origin" destroying ships at sea. It is the job of Professor Pierre Aronnax, a marine expert, ... See full summary »
The year is 1886, when New England's fishing harbours are the scene for a "creature of unknown origin" destroying ships at sea. It is the job of Professor Pierre Aronnax, a marine expert, and Ned Land, the iron willed sailor, to learn the truth of the "monster" roaming the seas. The great novelist, Jules Verne, described this perilous journey to the darkest depths of the sea with Captain Nemo aboard the Nautilus. Written by
Edwin van Oorschot <firstname.lastname@example.org>
As Thierry Arronax makes his speech from the ship's gangway, a woman waives a U.S. flag with the stars in the pattern that became official in 1890 or 1896. The film is set in 1886. See more »
[suspicious that the dinner laid out before them is poisoned]
I'd feel better if I saw you eating some of it first.
I promise you... that if I wanted to kill you, I would resort to more direct means.
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I have nothing against fun and fantasy. But this piece has so little to do with Verne's story that I wonder why the writers didn't just dispense with their token analogies to it and create new characters!
Yes, Caine's performance is "intense", but also utterly meaningless: his Nemo has none of the subtlety, the pensiveness, the drivenness of James Mason's; the two can no more be compared than Kevin Costner's Robin Hood can be compared to Errol Flynn's, or Marlon Brando's performance as Bligh in Mutiny on the Bounty to Charles Laughton's. The ballyhooed "intensity" of Caine's portrayal resolves itself into very little more than hypermanic nuttiness. (Maybe Caine was trying so hard to avoid being compared to Mason that he couldn't figure any other way to do the role than to toss all subtlety overboard?)
The character of Attucks, of course, is the "man of action" that the plot needs, thus totally eclipsing Ned Land and making the latter's presence gratuitous. So if the writers were so obsessed with political correctness that they needed to add a nonwhite character, why in the world not just make Ned himself nonwhite?
And haven't we had enough of upstarts trying to improve on Verne by adding a love interest? Apparently not: this version gives Nemo a daughter, who sails with him on the Nautilus and with whom Aronnax (here depicted as a young sexpot) has an affair.
Of course, the fact that this Nautilus has a multi-ethnic crew (an idea hinted at, but not developed by, Verne himself) is a nice touch, but one that doesn't take us very far because this version tells us so little about Nemo's and the crew's background. In conclusion, a lot of fine acting talent is wasted on this philosophically confused piece of work.
Verne has suffered a bewildering number of bad adaptations, but this is ridiculous.
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