Thursday, 5 July 2018

Jules Verne's Mysterious Island DVD Review

Mill Creek Ent., 171 minutes; $14.98

Do you remember watching those low-budget Hallmark-produced television miniseries?

Well, I do! I have fond memories of watching campy miniseries on network television and cable channels during the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s (aka - during my childhood). Miniseries are pretty much a thing of the past now, though a new one does show up on cable once in a great while.

Anyway, the only reason why I'm talking about miniseries, is because I watched Jules Verne's Mysterious Island a few nights ago. It's a 2005 miniseries that aired on the Hallmark Channel, and as you can probably tell by the title, it's based on the Jules Verne's 1874 novel "Mysterious Island," which is a crossover sequel to Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and In Search of the Castaways. Mill Creek Entertainment re-released the miniseries on DVD. There are no special features or bonus extras, but the DVD does come with a Digital code that can be redeemed at

Directed by Russell Mulcahy (Highlander 1 & 2), the miniseries centers on Captain Cyrus Smith (played by Kyle MacLachlan), his ex-slave Neb (played by Omar Gooding), a nurse named Jane and her teenage daughter Helen (played by Gabrielle Anwar and Danielle Calvert), and a thief named Pencroff (played by Jason Durr) escaping a Confederate prison camp by stealing a hot air balloon. Eventually, the balloon crashes on a uncharted island in the Pacific, the exact same island that occupies the mad inventor Captain Nemo (played by Patrick Stewart).

To survive on the island, Cyrus and company have to outrun giant-size creatures and battle pirates who are searching for buried treasure.

Final Thoughts

If you're a fan of the original Mysterious Island, well, you're going to be a little disappointed, as the miniseries is a very loose adaptation of the classic novel. Actually, it has a completely different plot than what was in the novel. The acting is a mix bag for me. The CGI effects for the animals are horrible! While Kyle MacLachlan is a great actor, his character Cyrus Smith is poorly written and at times his performance is a little wooden. Vinnie Jone's gives an awful (and laughable) performance as the pirate Captain Bob Harvey. Actress Gabrielle Anwar looks bored to death throughout the two-part miniseries. The two best parts in the entire 3-hour film is Patrick Stewart as Captain Nemo and a young Tom Mison (TV's Sleepy Hollow) as the nice pirate Blake.

The picture and sound quality are decent for this type of release. I recall seeing a past release with a different cover art, but out of the two, I would say that I prefer the new artwork the best.

Overall, Jules Verne's Mysterious Island is a campy cheesefest adventure that will probably appeal to younger viewers, especially those who have never read the novel. Besides from my nitpicking, I did like watching the miniseries. It reminds me of the old B-movies from the 1950's and 1960's. 

*Note : I received a complimentary copy for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

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