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96 of 101 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Superior DVD Package of a Memorable Film
Loosely based on the celebrated novel by Jules Verne and set in the late 19th Century, LEAGUES offers the story of Professor Arronax (Paul Lukas), his assistant Conseil (Peter Lorre), and harpooner Ned Land (Kirk Douglas), who are coaxed by the United States government to aid in the search for a sea monster said to be terrorizing shipping lanes. But the monster is not of...
Published on January 25, 2004 by Gary F. Taylor

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable movie
Great movie for its time, especially with the Nautilus. Special effects were good for the time. James Mason did a good job. Kirk Douglas was well cast as Ned Land.
Published 14 months ago by Roger Todd


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All this will one day come to pass..., May 26, 2003
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This review is from: Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea (Two-Disc Special Edition) (DVD)
"20,000 Leagues Under The Sea" is, IMHO, one of the greatest Science Fantasy's ever brought to the silver screen, and the one true unquestionable masterpiece from the "House of Mouse!" Being the wrong side of 40, "20,000 Leagues" is one of my earliest cinematic memories, and watching this superb Disney DVD - in wide screen for only the first time since I saw it as a child! - brought the magic of those long ago years flooding back in an instant!
The Amazon review above will give you the bare bones of the story; a terrible "sea monster" - all glowing eyes and "breath like a furnace!" - is sinking ships just after the end of the American Civil War. Things have gotten so bad that maritime trade is being crippled; ships can't sail without a crew, the crews themselves having deserted in fear of the "monster." Almost in desperation, the authorities organize a hunt for the creature, and invite the famed oceanographer, "Professor Arronax," and his research assistant "Conseil," along, on a US warship, to lend the expedition scientific gravitas. Also along for the ride is a fearless harpooner, "Ned Land," looking for adventure, and the rewards of being the man who kills the "monster."
After more than a month at sea, and with no sighting of anything unusual, they are about to head for home when they see a ship, some miles distant, explode with enormous force. They race to the spot and arrive in time to see the vessel slipping beneath the waves with all hands. A lookout sees the creature in the distance, moving away from the area; they fire on it and it turns towards them. Slicing through the waves, the creature races towards its attackers with a hellish shriek, its eyes alight, just as the stories said, with an unearthly glow. Panic ensues on the ship, the gunner's fire repeatedly, but cannot find their range; the creature is covering the distance between them at incredible speed!
The resulting impact is shattering; Arronax, Conseil, and Land, are hurled into the sea, where they are separated. Arronax and Conseil watch helplessly as the crippled warship limps away into the distance, listing badly. After hours in the water, and completely lost in a fogbank, Arronax and Conseil come across the "monster" floating on the surface. They soon discover that what they thought was a supernatural beast, is, in fact, a fantastic vessel, a "sub-marine boat," capable of travel beneath the surface of the sea.
Seemingly deserted, they enter the ship and start to explore, soon to be joined by Ned Land, who paddles into view on an upturned skiff. From a massive view port, they see the crew outside the ship working on the seabed; once the crew returns, the three friends are quickly apprehended... now their adventure, and ours, is about to REALLY begin!
The ship they are on is called the "Nautilus," a technological wonderland, it's commanded by "Captain Nemo;" his crew, all of them to a man, absolutely loyal. The Captain has scant time for Conseil, and even less for Land, but he is pleased to meet the renowned Pierre Arronax, a man he sees, at least as far as their mutual fascination for the sea is concerned, as a kindred spirit. Nemo takes Arronax under his wing, slowly revealing to him the secrets of the deep through which they travel, and the fantastical secrets of the Nautilus itself. Nemo also shares his own terrible secrets with the oceanographer, experiences that have shaped him, and driven both him, and his crew, to disown any allegiances to any and all terrestrial governments and flags.
Nemo is portrayed by James Mason in a magnificently layered, complex performance. At first cold, austere, dark, and brooding, Mason slowly reveals the tortured soul of the man, driven by his own demons to do what he knows are terrible things, for, he hopes, the betterment of mankind. Neither hero nor villain, Mason's performance is beautifully nuanced, and his final scenes are especially moving.
The three other central characters are also played to perfection, Kirk Douglas, especially, has a blast with Ned Land, one moment slap-sticking his way through his song, "A Whale of a Tale," the next butting heads with Nemo, and plotting escape. Peter Lorre, as Conseil, is the perfect foil to Douglas' larger than life character, and the two of them seemed to have formed a genuine friendship on the set, something which shows through in the "hair" scenes... you'll know them when you see them! Paul Lukas is pitch perfect as Professor Arronax, all at once in thrall to Nemo's genius, but at the same time horrified by the terrible deeds he's capable of. And a final word has to go to the `biggest' character of all, the Nautilus itself; a gothic masterpiece, it's quite simply the greatest fantasy vehicle ever created for the silver screen... EVER! The Nautilus departs quite extensively from Verne's description, but, just like the film itself, it's completely within the spirit of the original story, more so than just about any film adaptation of classic Science Fantasy that I can think of!
One minor gripe, Nemo, as I have said before, is an incredibly complex character, so I was saddened to see on the back of the DVD case, the following; "...can the captive crew (Arronax etc) expose his (Nemo's) evil plan before he destroys the world?" After all that Disney has done to make this a landmark release, with hours of extras, including an incredible 90 minute(!) "making of" featurette, it's such a shame that Nemo is misrepresented so crudely.
Almost half a century(!) later, this is still Disney's crowning glory, and a glowing testament to visionary film making... HIGHLY recommended!!!
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lavishly produced classic of the famouus Jules verne novel., March 16, 1999
By A Customer
Made with care and attention to detail, "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" is a recognized genre classic and boasts top-notch performances by James Mason as the mentally tortured Captain Nemo and Kirk Douglas as the happy-go-lucky Ned Land. The art direction, set design and special effects are of the highest order and hold up well today, more than 40 years after the film was made.
The eye-popping wonder of the film is the submarine "Nautilus", a triumph of cinematic design. From it's rivited, faceted hull to it's alligator-like conning tower to it's well designed interior sets, the "Nautilus" is a vibrant, believable vessel that does much to suspend audience disbelief.
James Mason's portrayal of the spirit-tortured Captain Nemo is one of the high points of this prolific, dignified actor's career. His enigmatic, mysterious Nemo is a driven character who is guilt stricken by his deeds but helpless in the face of the impulses that drive him to commit them.
The plot is only loosely based on the Verne book and much has been deleted or changed from it, but the film makers wisely avoided the addition of a female love interest that was common to many later movie adaptations of Verne and Wells.
Sadly, the VHS version is not offered in the widescreen format and it deletes the portions of the image seen at both edges of the screen. For someone who has seen the movie in a theater, this is especially noticable on the interior sets. Still, any tape version is better than none at all and the picture and sound quality are good.
Perfect for family viewing, "20,000 Leagues" offers much for adults as well as children. A must-have classic.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still the Best Version!, December 8, 2003
This review is from: Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea (Two-Disc Special Edition) (DVD)
Neither of the abysmal recent television adaptations of Jules Verne's classic novel manage to capture the tragically noble essence of Captain Nemo as well as this sweeping and colorful 1954 Disney adaptation. Whereas the predictable contemporary direction is to create an obsessed sociopath consumed by his own rage, Disney's "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" sticks to Verne's original vision of an elegant but tortured genius who vows to rid the world of war by hunting the seas for those who traffic in human suffering. The spot-on James Mason brings Nemo to life with just the right touch of brilliance and sadness-we know he is doomed to failure, yet despite his misguided methods, there's a part of us that roots for him and his cause. Paul Lukas is wonderfully sympathetic as Professor Arronax, the soft-spoken, Victorian biologist who begins to identify with Nemo; Peter Lorre, as the professor's skulking assistant, Conseil, and Kirk Douglas, as Ned Land, the brash harpooner that ultimately causes Nemo's undoing, provide much of the comic relief. But even the solid cast must compete with Harper Goff's version of the Nautilus, quite possibly the most successful blend of technology and imagination to ever grace the silver screen. In a production that shines--from the beautiful cinematography to Richard Fleischer's sure-handed direction to special effects that are wonderfully tangible in this age of cold computer effects--there is a feast for the senses in every scene, and Paul Smith's evocative score--Douglas' musical number notwithstanding--will stay with you long after the credits roll. Disney deserves kudos for producing a DVD that is lovely to look at and packed with extras, though we probably could live without the myriad commercials at the beginning of the main disc.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Disney's 20,000 Leagues is better than ever!, May 22, 2003
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This review is from: Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea (Two-Disc Special Edition) (DVD)
If you're as big a fan of Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea as I am then you'll consider this DVD money well spent. This DVD is worth every penny and more considering all the extras Disney included. First off- this is the best print I've ever seen- Disney has remastered the film and it looks brand-new. Vivid colors, sharp details, deep blacks-the film never looked better. The sound is remastered too- the improvements are subtle, but very good. The real meat though is the extras- Disney has found footage that was thought lost forever- and it's a joy to behold. The legendary original "Sunset Squid" fight is here, edited to the film's music to suggest how it might have looked if used. You get a terrific documentary on the making of the film (And I'm not talking about the "Operation Undersea" tv show either. A tour of the Nautilus, Nemo's Organ Music, a Cinemascope cartoon, a documentary on real squids, and lots more. Commentary by the director, film historians and collectors is great too. The only quibble is the box could have looked better- but that's nitpicking of the first order considering what's here. You will be pleased- this is the way DVD's were meant to be.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Douglas' song neatly sums up the whole Disney venture..., December 15, 2006
This review is from: Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea (Two-Disc Special Edition) (DVD)
The film begins in 1868 as news of a mysterious and puzzling phenomenon sweeps the nautical world... Tales of vessels being swiftly destroyed by this apparition reach the public mind... American government and an armed frigate is sent to destroy the mysterious 'thing', most of the time phosphorescent, and infinitely larger and more rapid in its movements than a whale...

But the monster sinks the frigate and only three survivors find themselves aboard 'a floating island' which inflamed their minds... The three survivors were: a roguish sailor (Kirk Douglas), an oceanic professor (Paul Lukas), and his assistant, Conseil (Peter Lorre).

The three men also find that their host, the enigmatic Captain Nemo (James Mason), is a cultured, hospitable gentleman whose big ambition is to destroy the world, which he despises... His splendid ship, the futuristic Nautilus, is a technological, self-sustaining wonder, enabling its crew to investigate worlds hundreds of fathoms beneath the surface...

In their involuntary roles as prisoner-guests, the trio is invited to tour the wonders of the deep... and the walk freely on the bottom of the sea...

Although the professor and Conseil are content to remain aboard to take advantage of the knowledge gained, the 'prince of harpooners' was eager to escape and get back to his own way of life... Douglas makes his great escape when the Nautilus stops at a lonely island but savage cannibals chase him back to the safety of Nemo's ship...

Seizing every opportunity to get away, Douglas inserts notes containing the location of Nemo's secret island, in bottles and tosses them hopefully into the sea... One of the notes finds its way to the Navy...

'20,000 Leagues Under the Sea' deserves acclaim for its futuristic insight... It is the finest visualization so far of a Jules Verne fantasy...

According to Verne, the Nautilus gathered all the treasures of nature and art, with the artistic confusion which distinguishes a painter's studio...

Kirk Douglas is at his best as the extravagant harpooner, occasionally violent and very passionate when contradicted...

With his uniquely expressive voice, James Mason is brilliant as the dark genius, who put himself beyond the pale of human laws, defying all attempts made against him...

Paul Lukas looks like a very curious intruder, absolutely astounded to pass his time in this mystic garden of the deep, on board the land of marvels...

Peter Lorre is quite funny as the true, devoted servant, who despite his name, never giving advice, even when asked for it...

At one point in the picture Douglas sings "Whale of a Tale," which neatly sums up the whole Disney venture..
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my all-time favorites revisited., June 28, 2003
This review is from: Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea (Two-Disc Special Edition) (DVD)
20,000 Leagues under the Sea was always my favorite of Disney's live-action movies. I grew up watching them all; Old Yeller, the love bug, Swiss Family Robinson, but none of them ever excited my imagination quite the way James Mason's portrayal of Captain Nemo and his submarine, the Nautilus, did. I used to watch this movie over and over until my old VHS copy finally gave out. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that this movie had been released on DVD; I snatched up the first copy I saw, took it home, watched it, and was absolutely delighted with it! Captain Nemo and the Nautilus look as good as ever, and I was also extremely happy to see that this DVD is completely loaded with special features; The making-of featurette alone runs well over an hour, which in itself is quite entertaining to watch. Overall, I gave this one 5 stars for two reasons; first, I'm a huge fan of this classic, and second, because of the thoroughness and quality of the job Disney did when they put this DVD together.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Voyage of the Nautilus, August 18, 2003
By 
R. J Rey (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea (Two-Disc Special Edition) (DVD)
Kirk Douglas and James Mason explore the mysteries of the deep in the 1954 Sci-Fi classic "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea". Rumors of a fierce sea monster that attacks ships has open the interests of a curious French scientist (Paul Lukas), his faithful aide (Peter Lorre) and an able harpoonist (Kirk Douglas). Upon a striking encounter, they learn that the giant sea monster is a powerful underwater vessel under the command of the vengeful Captain Nemo (James Mason). After 50 years, "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" still remains as the best adaptation of the classic science fiction novel by Jules Verne. The 1954 live action Disney motion picture features a powerful story, great under-water photography and a rich music score. Kirk Douglas, Paul Lukas and Peter Lorre are well cast but its James Mason's intense performance as Captain Nemo that often drives the whole film. "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" also contains some impressive visuals and thrilling moments including a gripping battle against a giant squid.

Disney gives "20,000 Leagues under the Sea" the full "2-Disc Special Edition" treatment. The 1954 Sci-Fi classic is presented in its original theatrical widescreen format. The DVD contains an amazing video transfer and a clear Dolby Digital 5.1 sound. Disc 2 features exclusive bonus material including the informative "The Making of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" documentary, three behind-the-scenes featurettes, its theatrical trailer, a picture gallery and an audio commentary by director Richard Fleischer & film historian Rudy Behlmer. Like previous Disney DVD, the disc also contains forced commercials and trailers of upcoming Disney releases. Overall, "20,000 Leagues under the Sea" scores an "A".
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Disney's 20000 Leagues Under the Sea, March 26, 2008
This review is from: Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea (Two-Disc Special Edition) (DVD)
Disney's 20000 Leagues Under the Sea was one of the most influential film experiences of my youth. I definitely rate it as a five star film with good special effects, which though dated, were very good for the time. The best of the special effects scenes was the giant squid and I have read that this scene required many retakes and changes in mechanical approach to satisfy Disney who would not agree that it was done until it looked credible. In fact, improving the giant squid scene nearly ended the film and financially broke the studio. Fortunately, additional funding of well over a million dollars was obtained from bankers after their inspection of film efforts to date, with favorable results.

The design of the submarine Nautilus (by John Meehan) is regarded as something which was almost as beautiful as it was functional. Hundreds of models of this design by Disney studios continue to be made which are commercially available in almost all scales. Some absolutely amazing very large scale working submersible models of this original design may be found on the web using Google.

Based on the excellent documentary the origin of Disney's 20,000 Leagues was the work of a single visionary staff member who, unauthorized, story boarded his grand vision while Disney was away from the office. Fortunately, Disney immediately recognized that this film had to be made and his studio would be the one to make it.

I was only eight when I remember my mother taking me into the LUXOR Theater in the old Bronx one sunny Saturday afternoon. She bought me a good supply of candy and sat back expecting to relax while we took in another movie together. I suppose even at eight I had heard about submarines and known in some abstract way that people had experienced the ocean depths. Disney was able to make it very real and magical for me at the same time. The idea that people could walk on the ocean floor in a medium that I considered absolutely hostile was new to me.

I loved this movie and ruined the film for my mother by asking question after question about what I was seeing on the screen. I remember asking her "Can we do that?" and several other questions. Naturally, I had to get the Disney book on the making of the film and remember staying up late into the night and early morning looking at inboard profiles of the Nautilus with a flashlight under the covers reading the book too excited to sleep.

This film has remained one of my all time favorites and I credit Disney for this experience which I rank up there with several other Disney films (I don't mean Mickey). I also blame this film which, for better or worse, encouraged me to become an engineer working in marine engineering.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Installment of the Vault Disney Collection is great!, July 14, 2003
By 
Milan Brandon "Milan" (Elfin Forest, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea (Two-Disc Special Edition) (DVD)
This is one of the greatest films I have ever seen. It has dazzling special effects and the story about the mixed personality Captain Nemo is wonderful. Beautifully restored in widescreen, this DVD's features really make this a jewel. It is two discs: On the first disc, there are two features. The first is an audio commentary with the director. Second is the Donald Duck Cartoon, Grand Canyonscope, which was shown at the original release. Put in the second disc, and you go into the vault to the 20,000 Leagues under the Sea room. Go to the left, and there are three featurettes: The Making of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Jules Verne and Walt Disney feaurettes are two of them. On the right, you could go to the Forgotten Treasures: The Sunset Squid, The 1954 Disney Album, and the door to the Archival features. In the Archival features, you could go to the audio menu, the galleries, or through all the features like theatrical trailers, documentaries, and other goodies. In the audio, you could see hours of audio clips. This is a set, beautifully crafted for this classic film. 5 stars all the way. Walt Disney would be proud!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Totally engrossing on big screen., July 2, 2003
By 
JediMack (VALRICO, FL USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea (Two-Disc Special Edition) (DVD)
When I was 8 years old and saw this on the big screen I was totally engrossed by the spectacle of this movie. I had such strong good feeling about it, that i was disappointed to find that it bored my little ones. I am still giving it 5 stars cause i loved it! My kids would probably give it 2.5 stars.
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