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20,000 Leagues Under the Sea [VHS] (1997)

Richard Crenna , Ben Cross , Michael Anderson  |  NR |  VHS Tape
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Richard Crenna, Ben Cross, Julie Cox, Paul Gross, Michael Jayston
  • Directors: Michael Anderson
  • Writers: Joe Wiesenfeld, Jules Verne
  • Producers: Joe Wiesenfeld, John Davis, Robert Halmi Sr.
  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Hallmark
  • VHS Release Date: September 18, 2001
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 1574924486
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #614,692 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

vhs movie

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent interpretation, great family film, visually superb December 12, 2004
Format:DVD
Any interpretation of Jules Verne's novel will have limitations. Mostly, this is due to the fact that our images of his fantastic technologies are colored by our own experience with what would be his future. Thus, the inside of the Nautilus becomes cheesy (the 1950s Disney version), or too close to reality (League of Extraordinary Gentlemen). This film, however, does a good job of tempering Verne's own time with ours. The ships in the film look very period - including the Nautilus.

Moreover, the story line itself, while modified, does a good job of portraying the complexity of Nemo's character, leaving the viewer (like Professor Aronnax) torn between admiration and disdain. Yet, this is a television version - thus we see romance and jealousy introduced into the story. Instead of a faithful servent, the Professor is accompanied by his beautiful daughter (Julie Cox), leading to contention between Nemo and the whaler Ned Land. If you are a purist, the story changes may be aggravating.

Where this film excels is in the visuals. Aside from the previously mentioned ships, the underwater shots are great. My kids really enjoyed the shots of the sea life - cuttlefish, tangs, rays - and were drawn into Nemo's underwater world.

While aspects of the movie were not true to Verne's original tale (and how many are), I found it an entertaining movie. Moreover, my kids really liked the movie, and wanted to read about Captain Nemo after the movie was over. I would recommend this DVD. While my rating is 3 stars, I would give it 3.5 if I could.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Voyage to the Bottom of the Ratings July 25, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
1997 saw two, count 'em, two TV versions of the classic Jules Verne adventure "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea." The least literate, this version tosses out much of Verne's loftier discussions of Victorian science and philosophy and replaces them with watered-down romance of the drugstore bookrack variety. Ben Cross is a stone-cold Nemo (how sadly far we've come from James Mason's tortured nobleman in the 1954 Disney version), skulking about his steel-plated creation, the Nautilus, with a seemingly nameless and faceless crew. Into his nomadic existence comes a group of castaways, led by the sympathetic, if tired-looking Richard Crenna as marine biologist Pierre Arronax. There's also a joyless love-story between Nemo and Arronax's outspoken daughter (not featured in the book) that struggles to add emotional fireworks, but simply results in a lurching distraction from the main plot about Nemo's quest for an end to war and human strife. Hammy acting by the supporting cast will make you feel like this is a movie aimed at kids, even with the story's darker overtones. About the only aspects of the film that rise above mediocrity are the production values and special effects. Though this Nautilus is nowhere near as imaginative as the Disney version, it is more faithful to the submarine described in the book, and overall, the look of the film is suitably impressive. Still, fans of Jules Verne will likely appreciate the 1954 film version more, even if poor Kirk Douglas is forced to sing. (The other TV version, by the way, with the usually likeable Michael Caine isn't much better; dark and murky, it bogs down under the weight of its pychobabble script.)
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars appalling, atrocious, and absolutely horrible September 8, 2006
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
In my 40 years, there have been about 3 movies that I walked out of. My wife and the thought of writing this review is the only reason this poor excuse for a movie wasn't the fourth. Other than havine a submarine and a captain named Nemo, this movie had nothing to do with the book. Nemo now appears to be a righteous Middle Eastern terrorist of sorts whose kingdom was robbed from him by the "Armies of the West". He is smitten with the professor's daughter, who of course is in love with the no good harpoonist who I am sure will provide for her needs wonderfully and be very supportive of her future research efforts. Nemo of course keeps the submarine well stocked with makeup, hairdryers, curlers, and dresses, but inexplicably our heroine only manages to find one dress worth wearing for the entire voyage. Incidentally, the crew is all dressed in uniforms constructed from the silk of some exotic shellfish, unfortunately, the producers couldn't be bothered to show the room containing the first operational deep sea weaving loom for making a variety of fine silk fabrics while cruising beneath the waves. Amazingly, Ned the harpoonist is now the only man on the ship with enough testosterone to throw a harpoon into a sea monster. I have a newfound respect for the lifetime of learning it must take to be able to properly through a spear into a large animal at the mind boggling distance of "four harpoon lengths". Also, you'll be intrigued to know that Nemo no longer wrestles with the giant squid, but the new monster du jour is a "proto-leviathan" created to prove the theory of "static evolution". Proto-Leviathans apparently look like a giant manta ray, swim at 5000 fathoms beneath the ocean, and somehow manage to keep their mouth full of air while attempting to swallow their underwater prey. Read more ›
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining- but Disney needn't worry January 16, 2006
Format:DVD
Hallmark's version of Jules' Verne's , 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is entertaining, but suffers from the producer's need to rewrite the story to entertain the widest possible audience. The character of Conseil was dropped to add a love interest in the form of Arronax's daughter, Sophie. The squid is gone too- replaced by a monsterous, star wars universe, creature known as a "proto-leviatian". Though lavish by tv-movie standards, it's obvious that the budget was tight for such an ambitious project. The characters are adequate, but are too modern in speech and character- Ned Land in particular is just your average jock spouting
such lines as, "whatever." Of particular interest is the Nautilus- the production designer did his homework and attempts to put a true Verne
version on the screen, complete with retractable steering house and
triangular ram. Unfortuately, darn little of this is seen onscreen and it would have been nice to have been given a minor tour- though the budget may have killed this. Inside the sub is too modern-and probably
way too large compared to exterior views. The diving shots are nice and try and convey the beauty of the ocean. Anyone familiar with a produce section will recognize some very obvious squash and oranges the divers pluck from the sea floor amid some common variety silk plants! Still, enhanced by a nice music score, it's a nice ride- but if you're only going once- go with the Disney version.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars ... arrived in a short period and was in very good shape. I enjoyed...
This movie arrived in a short period and was in very good shape. I enjoyed the movie and think I madwe a good purchase.
Published 28 days ago by charles w. harris jr.
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, light entertainment
It is not quite the story as I remember it, but it is entertaining. Quite a lot of thought had been put into the new story, but it worked for me.
Published 10 months ago by LAC
5.0 out of 5 stars 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea
I purchased this DVD for a gift and the young man was thrilled with it. I received it in the time that was specified and was a new copy and I really appreciated that. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Ms Duprey
1.0 out of 5 stars Pitiful
OK, I couldn't watch the whole thing, as much as I wanted to see what a proto-leviathan was, but I stuck it out for well over an hour. Read more
Published 14 months ago by A Johnson
1.0 out of 5 stars Lousy, Uninspired Retread of a Great Classic Movie
This is one of those so called reimaginings of a great, classic movie. But it's actually just a very poor retread of a great classic movie. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Gryphon
4.0 out of 5 stars 20,000 Leagues Reimagined
Following in the footsteps of every Jules Verne Remake of this Timeless Classic comes the Hallmark Channel's retelling of Captain Nemo! Read more
Published 16 months ago by Prince Everlove
1.0 out of 5 stars Horrible
First let me confess I never read the book. If the original movie was faithful to the book then this steaming pile must be a love-fest of political correctness. Read more
Published 16 months ago by kperk
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent
20,000 Leagues Under The Sea is a visually superb film from 1997.

The story features just four main characters (mainly) - Captain Nemo (Ben Cross - amazing performance... Read more
Published 17 months ago by V. Ivoska
5.0 out of 5 stars 20,000 Leagues Compared to the Novel
I purchased this video to show to my film and literature class after reading the novel. Although there were a few character changes, it was a good older film to show.
Published on January 4, 2011 by Lizyteacher
1.0 out of 5 stars Repulsively awful garbage
This (made for TV?) movie is so horribly bad it rivals the garbage cranked out by the Sci Fi channel. Perhaps it was one of their efforts? Read more
Published on December 25, 2010 by David N
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