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20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, 1997 (Hallmark)

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, 1997 (Hallmark TV movie)
STARRING: Ben Cross (Captain Nemo), Julie Cox (Sophie), Paul Gross (Ned Land)
PLOT: A professor and his daughter, disguised as his assistant, embark on a voyage to find a mysterious creature that is attacking boats, only to be captured by the inhabitants of a submarine, a technological marvel not yet dreamed of.
OPINION: I rented this movie from the library with very low expectations. The horrible picture of a blurry submarine on the front cover of the DVD only helped encourage those low expectations. But this movie actually surprised me. It was a funny and cute, even though it suffered horribly from a made-for-TV budget, tolerable acting, and overall corniness. But hey, it’s a TV movie!
I've always felt that 20,000 Leagues was missing something – specifically a girl in the story. I liked the idea of the professor’s daughter, Sophie, coming along with him and getting caught up in the Nautilus’ adventures. But the person who truly made this movie for me was Ned. Not only is a young Paul Gross pretty darn cute, but he was so funny as the sarcastic, selfish Ned.
I thought Nemo was tolerable in this version; personally I liked that he had the beard (reminded me of Mason, okay, I admit) and I thought at times he had a menacing, authoritative presence – but unfortunately he was pushed into the shallow role of practically stalking Sophie and just being a moony romantic creep.
The professor was pretty good, reminding me of who he originally is, though he was pigeon-holed into the role of Sophie’s pathetically dense father at times.
If you’re looking for a simple, fun little adventure – I would definitely recommend this movie.
CONTENT: some kissing, a character relates that he left his wife after learning she was with sleeping with another man, some violence, Nemo asks Ned if he ever “stole” Sophie’s “honor”

STARS: 3.5 out of 5


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