Thursday, January 31, 2013

DTV Crap: Jules Verne's The Mysterious Island

Are there no new ideas out there?  Today's film is Jules Verne's The Mysterious Island, a 2010 film that got a 2012 DVD release.  Gee, why did they decide to do that?  Oh right- The Rock's film came out that year and did surprisingly-well.  So what, if anything, does this film bring to the table that's different.  For one, the giant animals are gone.  To be fair, they don't appear to actually be in the book.  That said, they're in the famous film with Harryhausen's effects, as well as numerous other ones.  They're actually even a big part in the Disney film (which is somehow a sequel to Journey to the Center of the Earth- don't ask), but don't show up here.  They may not be Canon, but we all expect it- dammit.  The movie has no real Stars in it, save for Lochlyn Munro.  So, in other words, there are no Stars.  I hope you never read this, Lochlyn.  The story keeps the same basic formula, but takes a weird turn about thirty minutes in.  I won't SPOIL it...until I do it later in the review.  To see how to make your film turn really weird, read on...
A group of people are being taken to a prison in the Civil War.  Naturally, the only other Actor that I recognized is killed off.  So, the point of him was, what exactly?
They escape in a hot air balloon, but end up going through...whatever the hell that thing is.  It can't be good.
 So, after killing off another character senselessly and having our heroes meander around, they screw things up by having this happen...
As it turns out, the titular Island is a massive time portal dumping station.  Oh and there's a giant squid...for some reason.
When hope seems lost for our characters (including two people from 2012- thanks, ADR), white Captain Nemo shows up with a static gun.

Of course, his presence is ruined by the implication that he took a row boat back to the island...the same one that the guy just got killed in.  Logic!
Nemo explains via narration over his flashback footage.  Kudos to them for using the son of the actor playing Nemo to play him in this.  Of course, he's also the Director of the film so...he was hanging around.

Long story short: Nemo made a time-machine, but an inconvenient squid attack made it create a hole in the time-space continuum aka The Bermuda Triangle.  No, really.
In a story featuring Nemo, it actually comes down to Munro to come up with an escape plan.  Mind you, his plan is 'get away in a balloon,' but it's more than the famous inventor can come up with.
Speaking of which, he dies of Consumption.  Oh the tragedy.  Godspeed, old man who ripped open time itself and killed most of our friends!  Godspeed!
I won't SPOIL the ending too much other than to say these two things.  One- don't expect much of the build-up to lead to anything.  Two- don't expect closure.  The End.
I was expecting something, but not this.  So yeah, what was the point of 'updating' this story.  What impact does it really have to feature two characters from the Present in this tale set in the 19th Century?  Since they have no practical skills, it mostly just serves to set up this one scene where they explain that there is a Black President in their time.  Seriously, that's about it.  The one lady has a romantic sub-plot with a Soldier but that, well, you'll see what happens to him below.  Most of these Characters really don't have much in the way of characterization either.  The racist guy gets killed without learning a lesson, while Munro mostly just reacts to everything around him.  This is more like a plot idea that gets vaguely-filled in.  It sounds weird to say this, but not much happens in a film about people trapped in a time vacuum with a Giant Squid, Captain Nemo and killer Cannibals that Totally Are Not Nemo's Former Crew.  It's oddly lacking in events.  I suppose I harbor some resentment for this film removing Giant Chickens, Crabs and/or Bees from the film.  Bees- My God...I miss them.  This film barely even makes use of the Giant Squid, as it mostly just flails aimlessly during the Finale to no avail.  Oh the drama.  While I won't say the film is terrible, I'd qualify it as underwhelming.  That's even after they steal this iconic shot from Cannibal Holocaust...
Next up, February begins with a wacky 1980's gem.  When you're in love, you'll blow as many hookers as it takes to get your lady back!  Stay tuned...

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