3 March 2007 | Anonymous_Maxine
Wow, this is incredibly bad.
Knowing that several of the actors in this movie have turned in remarkable roles in other films and television shows, I have come to suspect that the massive performance deficiencies displayed in this film are the result of what appears to be nonexistent direction. When I look at the performances given here, I can only picture director Russell Mulcahy standing behind the camera giving the same direction that Bob MacKenzie (Rick Moranis) was given by his brother Doug in Strange Brew ("PSST!! Act! Act!!").
I am familiar with a good portion of the work of Jules Verne, as well as the astonishing and disappointing creative liberties that are so often taken with his work (it still blows my mind completely that they added a DUCK to the 1959 adaptation of Journey to the Center of the Earth), but I have not read Mysterious Island so I don't know how faithful the film is to the original story. In any case, there is not a single passable performance in the movie, the direction is completely witless, and the special effects are deplorable. A 15-year-old with an outdated copy of After Effects could do better than this.
Besides all that, I will be perfectly happy to live out the rest of my life and never again see a movie in which someone washes up onto a beach, sleeping soundly, and then coughs once or twice before getting up to go exploring. Are the giant insects not enough reason for suspension of disbelief? And don't even get me started on the pirates, my god what a joke. First of all, not only do our heroes react with hostility and violence when they finally encounter other normal human beings of the non-gigantic-man-eating-insect variety on the island, but after inviting them over to their humble Robinson Crusoe home, complete with dinner table, place settings for ten, goblets, eating utensils, candles, and the like, but once convinced of the defected pirates' trustworthiness, they give one of them - a caveman looking sort from years surviving on the island a total celebrity makeover, shave, haircut, gel, new clothes, etc. I guess they forgot that they are surviving, too.
The worst thing that the movie does, besides the deplorable performances and ridiculous screenplay (I can even forgive awful direction as long as the effort is there), is that it tries to create dramatic and intense situations when there is no reason for it. The captain jumps maybe 15 feet into the water to lighten the load on the hot air balloon, and everyone freaks out as though he jumped out of a plane. Other humans are greeted with suspicion as though anyone has any reason to be afraid for their lives. At one point, the eagle-eyed Neb, played by Omar Gooding, uses a telescope to spot a massive, four-masted pirate ship maybe a hundred yards off shore. He calls to the captain and explains that he has spotted a pirate ship and hands him the telescope, somehow intuitively knowing that the captain will not be able to see Old Ironsides blotting out the horizon without it.
I'll go right ahead and admit that I had extremely low expectations for the show, it's made-for-TV, first of all, and I've yet to see a single competently made Jules Verne film adaptation, but I've seen better acting in an elementary school drama class, and the script could not possibly be dumber. Who thought it would be a good idea to have the good guys sneak up on the pirate ship behind a floating log, for God's sake?? Come on guys, let's just swim right out to the ship, no one will notice!
Wow. Miss this one.