20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, 1997 (Village Roadshow)
STARRING: Patrick Dempsey (Professor Aronnax), Michael Caine (Captain Nemo)
PLOT: Young Professor Aronnax, tired of his father and colleagues belittling his gigantic sea creature theories, joins an expedition hunting for whatever thing is destroying cargo boats, only to be captured by the captain of the submarine Nautilus along with Ned Land and his friend Cabe Attucks. More strange mysteries await them there.
OPINION: I think my expectations rose for this movie after watching the Hallmark movie made the same year. Unfortunately, this movie failed to meet any expectation.
First off, as soon as I saw that Michael Caine was playing Nemo, I winced. It literally felt as ridiculous as Michael Caine playing Batman to me. He just doesn't fit the character. Personally I think Caine is a great actor, but he just wasn't able to bring the menacing power that was Nemo – that feeling that this guy was boss (my word for bad-a**) and wasn't to be messed with.
Patrick did an okay job as Aronnax but his character really suffered from bad writing. The constant nightmares that he had of his father were annoying. Not to mention – don’t ever start your movie off with such a looong nightmare scene.
I liked Cabe Attucks character, but I felt he completely overshadowed Ned Land, whose character really became unimportant; which ended up a mercy because Ned Land was horrible. His lines were few and boring, he had no personality, and I quickly grew tired of him.
There were more girls in this movie than I expected, but they were so poorly used, they might as well not been there at all. I liked the idea that Nemo’s daughter, Mara, was still alive. It might've been better if she had had any personality. I still couldn't figure out why they had a brief love triangle between the young Professor and his father’s mistress, a confused young woman, at the beginning. It seemed the movie was riddled with pointless story arcs, strange steampunk additions (robotic hands??? Say what?), and a plot that left me laughing (Nemo’s great plan is to shift the earth’s plates with bombs thus ending earthquakes, so he can live in an underwater city?). I eventually started fast-forwarding the boring stuff and multitasking as the movie lost interest for me. Not a recommendation, unless you want something to laugh at, adore Patrick Dempsey and would watch him weave baskets, or love Verne enough to watch any adaptation of his work there is.
Did I mention this movie is 3 hours??!?!
CONTENT: some kissing, some violence and torture (nothing very scary), Aronnax’s father has a mistress and she kisses his grown son once, Aronnax tells Mara her father warned him about “seducing” her when she’s with him alone in his room – Mara replies it isn't seduction if she wants it too and starts kissing him
STARS: 2 out of 5