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Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea (Two-Disc Special Edition)
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Top Customer Reviews
Underwater photography was hardly new in 1954, but never had it been used so extensively nor to such visually beautiful effect, and the art designs--particularly those for the Nautilus--are justly celebrated. But for all its beauty, it is the performances which make the film work. James Mason does not merely play Nemo, he seems to be Nemo; after seeing his performance it is impossible to imagine any other actor in the role. Paul Lukas adds yet another brilliantly understated performance to his memorable career, and while Kirk Douglas and Peter Lorre are hardly the Ned Land and Conseil of the Verne novel they have surprising chemistry and lend the film considerable dash.
At the time of its release, LEAGUES was the single most expensive motion picture ever made (ironically it would loose that dubious distinction later that same year to yet another film featuring James Mason: A STAR IS BORN), and every penny of the money spent shows in the onscreen result. While many of Disney's live-action films are fondly recalled, few have had enduring fame, much less claim to status as art--but LEAGUES is the exception, and although the episodic nature of the story seems a shade languid from time to time it remains both a landmark and one of the most influential films of its decade. Truly enjoyable from start to finish.
GFT, Amazon Reviewer
When I viewed the VHS version of this film a couple of years ago, I was bitterly disappointed by the poor quality which made the watching experience actually painful to a fan like me. But, let me tell you, this DVD is as thrilling as the VHS was painful. This fully-restored version of the film comes roaring back to life in all of its glory and then some. It's the best film restoration these old eyes have ever beheld. Watched on a state-of-the-art widescreen TV, this is every bit the experience it was in the '50's and I think it's wonderful that this great film is now preserved for the ages, just as it was when it was first released.
Is this a perfect movie? No. Even as a kid, I noticed that the background music was too cheesy, that Kirk Douglas's songs seemed gratuitous, that the fish swimming outside the large porthole were cartoonish, and that the electrically-illuminated eye of the Giant Squid made an otherwise perfect special effect look a bit fake. I'm just as puzzled by those weaknesses today as I was then, especially since all other aspects of the film, including the numerous, Oscar-winning special effects involving the Nautilus, are masterful. But no movie is perfect and this movie, minor warts and all, is nothing less than a memorial to the genius of Disney, the acting of James Mason, the passion of the Disney staff, and the vision of Jules Verne.
And my story...?
I first saw the film on television as a child. But about ten years ago, I was lucky enough to see the film on the big screen, at a matinee showing in a small-town community theater. The theater was jam-packed with children, ages ranging from about 5 to 10. The kids were chattering like crazy -- the theater was filled with noise. Even when the film started, the kids kept talking.
But very slowly, as the minutes passed, the kids got quieter. And quieter.
Late in the film, when we're moving into the final explosive climax, the Nautilus rams a warship that has been hunting it. The protagonists -- Aronax, Conseil, and Ned Land -- rush to the sub's giant iris window. The iris opens onto an underwater vista -- to reveal, in the murky blue distance, the warship sinking awesomely, majestically, down to the bottom of the sea -- flames and smoke issuing from its still-burning interior. We can hear the muffled roar of its descent.
At that moment in the film, I realized that the audience had become completely silent. They were riveted and awestruck.
That, my friends, is great storytelling. Any film that can cause an entire theater-full of 5-10-year-olds to become completely silent, totally rapt with attention, is worthy of praise.
As far as I'm concerned, this film is the best thing Disney ever did.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
So many remakes or look a likes but James Mason will always be Capt. Nemo. A timeless classic which if it was cast right today with the new graphics what a superb picture it could... Read morePublished 5 days ago by Walter Keller
Jules Verne. Walt Disney. James Mason. Kirk Douglas. Peter Lorre. I have watched this gloriously overacted treasure at least 20 times. Why? Read morePublished 12 days ago by S. A. Eliot
A real classic. I saw this movie many years ago, and I still remember it. Not much in the CGI spepartment, and it doesn't need to be.Published 20 days ago by E. Allen
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