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20,000 Leagues Under the Sea 1954

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An extremely loyal adaptation of Jules Verne's sci-fi classic, personally produced by Walt Disney and released as one of his studio's first live-action features. It's an uneven film. The effects work has aged very well and the subject matter seems ripe for the screen, but the pace is often ponderously slow and the story's prevailing themes are awfully complex and subdued for the intended audience. The scenery is wonderful, the moments of undersea exploration remain fresh and unique, the action scenes are mesmerizing (the crew's struggle against a giant squid amidst a blinding gale is particularly memorable) but it does love to belabor a point and lingers endlessly on hollow in-between moments where it often feels like there's more meat elsewhere on the bone.

Kirk Douglas probably draws the most eyeballs, thoroughly adorned in gaudy sailor gear and strumming merry melodies on a turtle shell guitar, but James Mason delivers the more interesting performance as the stern, enigmatic Captain Nemo; a bitter, broken man who still finds time to dream about the potential of a utopian society beneath the waves. I like the ideas simmering beneath the surface more than I like the film itself.

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I can easily imagine this would have been absolutely fantastic when it was filmed. A great script to start from, and - from 1954 - underwater colour video of turtles, stingrays and a lot more

But the reality is that it was just too old for me and the power of that awesomeness has gone.

But maybe retro sci-fi will appeal to you. Although I didn't enjoy it, you have to be impressed that they made this so so long ago. It's cinematographic history.

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Very good!

'20,000 Leagues Under the Sea' thoroughly took my interest, as I had a fun time with this despite a potentially hindering 127 minute run time. The premise is intriguing, while the cast are great. The special effects used are very impressive, also.

Paul Lukas and Peter Lorre are brilliant as Pierre and Conseil respectively, I really enjoyed them as a double act - they bring comedy too, especially Lorre. James Mason gives a strong performance as Capt Nemo, with Kirk Douglas also doing good things as Ned. I must say, Disney nailed the casting for their early live-action films.

The plot is actually James Bond-esque, it reminds me a lot of the franchise that would start eight years after this production's release. It's real entertaining following their voyage across the Pacific Ocean.

Go watch this if you can!

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This Is a classic one of Disney's best....

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