A scientist is nearly assassinated. In order to save him, a submarine is shrunken to microscopic size and injected into his blood stream with a small crew. Problems arise almost as soon as they enter the bloodstream.
During the US Civil War, Union POWs escape in a balloon and end up stranded on a South Pacific island, inhabited by giant plants and animals. They must use their ingenuity to survive the dangers, and to devise a way to return home. Sequel to '20,000 Leagues Under the Sea'.Written by
Stewart M. Clamen <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Although produced by different studios, it is obvious that the exterior design of the "Nautilus" submarine as seen in the film was heavily influenced by Harper Goff's "half crocodile/half shark" Nautilus design in Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954), especially with respect to the sub's top spar and rounded "eye" windows. In the original Jules Verne novels of "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" and "Mysterious Island", the Nautilus is described as being rather plain, basically a cigar-shaped steel tube with very little outside detailing. See more »
In the opening scenes of the film, we see cannons firing that have a system that allows the barrel to recoil to the rear on firing with the gun carriage remaining in place. This type of artillery did not exist during the Civil War. See more »
All right, now get down.
See more »
Opening credits prologue: THE SIEGE OF RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 1865 See more »
Harryhausen crossed Jules Verne with King Kong in his version of Mysterious Island, giving the author's Civil War castaways something really mysterious to look at for a change. The result is a Skull Island-style adventure with a nifty 19th century set-up, and one of the stop-motion maestro's most satisfying films. Harryhausen movies are at their best when Harryhausen is unabashedly the star-as he is here in Mysterious Island. From this high-water mark in the early Sixties, Harryhausen's films slowly began to shipwreck on two constantly reiterated movie-making clichés. First, writers began to tell Harryhausen that his effects ought to be better integrated into the overall plot, that they ought not to be isolated set pieces sprinkled through the picture like plums in a fruitcake. Secondly, critics continued to repeat the old film music legend that movie scoring is best when it fades unnoticed into the background. Both of these old saws were, in fact, horrible lies. And Mysterious Island is great because Harryhausen and his composer were still refusing to take any notice of them. The effects sequences in Mysterious Island aren't plums in a fruitcake, they're solos in a symphony, they're like the soliloquies in Shakespeare. And Bernard Herrmann's scoring for these episodes is in your face as it should be. It jumps up and screams "THIS IS A SET-PIECE AND A GREAT ONE. KICK BACK AND ENJOY IT!" And this, once again, is as it should be. The truth is, that stop-motion isn't an effects technique. It's an art form. If you can't enjoy it for it's own sake, then you can't enjoy it. Every attempt Harryhausen later made to "integrate" his stuff just encouraged people to take it seriously--as a serious attempt, that is, to duplicate reality. Which it isn't. We go to a Harryhausen film for Harryhausen, just as we go to a Chaplin film for Chaplin. If you came in for some other reason, then you picked the wrong movie. That said, Mysterious Island really does work, I think, as a 60s "Jules Verne" picture. The period atmosphere is some of the best in any of those movies and the interesting Nautilus variation we see here is fun to look at in its own right. The acting is quite good also, and Cy Endfield is one of the better Harryhausen directors. But the Verne elements are really just the frame around the picture. Like I said, go for Ray's monsters--then go out and tell the world.
37 of 41 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this