Now that that brief bit of randomness is out of the way, time to continue with my normal batch of movies. Today’s movie was actually part of a boxed set I bought on the cheap which contained this movie as well as the 1999 remake of Journey To The Center Of The Earth. Just like the other remake, this was actually a two part mini-series when it first aired. Good thing it is the weekend so I have time to watch both parts since this is about 3 hours total time. So let’s work our way towards finishing the letter M with today’s movie, Mysterious Island (2005).
The plot: Three pirates arrive on an island looking for treasure but when they reach a tunnel, one of the pirates is attacked by a strange creature, prompting the other two to run away. At a Confederate prison camp in Virginia, two Union prisoners, Captain Cyrus Smith and Neb, are making plans to escape but they are overheard by another prisoner, Pencroft, and are forced to bring him along in order to keep him quiet. Cyrus goes to the medical tent to get a wound tended too and tells the nurse, Jane, who plans to accompany them with her daughter Helen, as it is too dangerous for Helen to stay in the camp. That night, Helen and Jane carry Pencroft through the gate to be quarantined and when the guards’ backs are turned, Cyrus and Neb knock them out and grab their guns to fire back at the other guards. They head towards a scouting balloon and manage to set it loose but one of the Confederate soldiers, Private Lemay, manages to grab one of the ropes and they are forced to pull him aboard. Drifting along in the wind, they eventually find themselves over the Pacific ocean when the balloon springs a leak. They toss everything overboard that they can in order to stay afloat and Lemay spots a nearby island. Realizing that they won’t make it, Cyrus tells everyone to stay on the balloon as long as they can in order to reach the island, then jumps overboard. The balloon reaches the island and passes over it before it crashes into the water on the far side of the island. Jane and Helen wake up on the beach and after looking around, find the balloon, where Neb, Pencroft, and Lemay all wound up, but no sign of Cyrus. An argument starts about what they should do next but it is quickly defused by Jane, who suggests that Pencroft and Lemay look for food and water while she goes with Neb and Helen to look for Cyrus but while they are looking for food, Pencroft and Lemay encounter a giant praying mantis which grabs and eats Lemay while Pencroft is able to escape. Meanwhile, Cyrus had washed up on the beach and is dragged off the beach by someone. Cyrus wakes up on a bed and explores his surroundings while looking for his friends as well as whoever saved him, eventually finding a hidden passage behind a bookcase that leads into a cave. Jane, Neb, and Helen find some water and run into Pencroft, who tries telling them about the giant bug, but they don’t believe him until Helen spots a graveyard filled with bones from giant animals. In the cave, Cyrus finds a generator and when he activates it, he sees a ship lit up on a dock down below. Cyrus heads towards the ship but is stopped by Captain Nemo, who plans to shoot him for trespassing but is stopped by his servant Joseph, who explains that he saved Cyrus. Nemo tells Joseph to take Cyrus back to the house and as he does so, Cyrus asks about the others but Joseph says he didn’t see them. Meanwhile, on another island, a bunch of pirates are fighting over the map/amulet that a pirate has when the fight is broken up by Bob Harvey, a vicious pirate, who grabs the amulet and then convinces the other pirates to sail with him to collect the treasure. Back in his home, Nemo talks with Cyrus during dinner and tells him that his friends are most likely dead but says he will have Joseph organize a search party. The next day, Neb, Jane, Helen, and Pencroft continue looking for Cyrus when they are attacked by a giant mosquito, which Jane kills. They then see a giant rat and Neb and Pencroft chase after it in order to kill it for food and while they are gone, Helen finds the other half of the map as well as a skeleton. Back at Nemo’s house, Cyrus realizes that he was lied to and gets the keys from Joseph so he can leave but when he comes to the perimeter fence, he learns that it is electrified when a giant cobra tries to attack him. That night, Nemo talks with Cyrus and tries to convince him to help him with his work but Cyrus is more concerned about his friends and Joseph convinces Nemo to find Cyrus’ friends in order to get him to help him. Back at the cave, Jane is attacked by a giant ant and the others try to save her but they are all saved by Nemo and Joseph, who brings them back to his home, where they are reunited with Cyrus. Wanting to know more about the island, they all ask Nemo questions and he says he will andwer them in the morning and as they all leave, Cyrus thanks Nemo and Nemo asks if he will reconsider his offer. The next morning, Nemo joins them for breakfast but when he notices Helen wearing the map, he accuses them of being greedy just like others who have come to the island and later, Joseph tells them that the map leads to a treasure that has been long sought after by pirates. Meanwhile, the pirates arrive at the island and Bob sends his first mate, Blake, ashore with a crew to find the second half of the map but Blake is knocked out and the others leave but are attacked by a giant chameleon. Nemo has invited Cyrus and the others on board the Nautilus and he tells them about how he left to the island after leading the Indian rebellion and developed a weapon that could destroy an entire city, using an element that is found only on this island. He plans to detonate the bomb in order to show the world leaders what would happen, believing it would stop future wars from occurring but Cyrus worries that it would merely make every country want such a weapon for themselves. Nemo wants Cyrus to help him finish the bomb but Cyrus has his doubts and refuses to help, causing Nemo to kick them out of his home. Jospeh gives them a satchel of tools to help them and they make their way through the forest but are soon attacked by a giant scorpion. They try crossing a log bridge over a waterfall to escape but when it chases after them, they jump into the water and are swept downstream. they climb on the bank but the scorpion followed them downstream but the manage to escape when it gets caught among some tree roots. The group eventually reach an old port and a boat, but the boat is too rotten to use. The scorpion appears and attacks Helen while she is in the port, then chases after Jane and Cyrus. The scorpion grabs Jane in it’s pincers and Cyrus jumps on it’s back and tries stabbing it. The scorpion ends up stabbing itself with it’s stinger and Pencroft stabs it in the head with a spear, killing the creature. Pencroft wants to return to Nemo’s but Cyrus says they cant and that they should make camp on the dock and then find a way to survive in the morning. The next day, they are exploring the island and see someone running through the forest and chase after him but soon lose sight of the stranger. They eventually come to the beach where they first arrived and Cyrus spots a cave in the side of a cliff. Using some of the wreckage from the balloon, they are able to climb up into the cave and make plans to turn it into their home. Meanwhile, Bob Harvey tells the man that left Blake on the island to get the ship ready to sail and the pirate thinks they are leaving but Bob Harvey explains that they are merely sailing to the other side of the island. Joseph tells Nemo about Cyrus and the others managing to make a life for themselves on the island, jokingly commenting about having neighbors, but Nemo still seems bitter at them for spurning his offer. One day, as Helen is gathering food, she runs into Blake and they are forced to take shelter during the rain. Helen invites Blake to come back with her but he says he might not feel welcome since he is a pirate and warns Helen to keep the map hidden, saying that pirates have killed for it. Bob Harvey arrives on the island with some of his men when they are attacked by the giant cobra but Bob Harvey kills it and they continue on their way. Meanwhile, Jane and Helen are walking along the beach when a giant crow flies towards them and grabs Helen, carrying it off towards it’s nest. At the nest, Helen calls out for help and is saved by a strange man, who throws a pair of spears into the crow and kills it while Blake grabs Helen. The three reunite with Cyrus and the others, who were looking for Helen, and Blake says they mean no harm. Cyrus approaches the stranger, commenting about how he lead them to water and Blake recognizes the man as Atherton, a former member of Bob Harvey’s crew who had led a mutiny and wound up marooned on the island for 8 years. Cyrus invites them to stay and help them build a raft so they can leave the island but is concerned that Bob Harvey and his crew are still around. Some time later, Neb spots Bob Harvey’s ship anchored nearby and they rush to conceal the raft and hide in the cave. Helen wants to leave the map on the beach for the pirates to find in the hopes that they would leave but Cyrus says if it isn’t left where they found it then the pirates will know someone is on the island. At Nemo’s house, Joseph tells Nemo about the pirates and wants to help Cyrus and the others but Nemo refuses. That night, Helen sneaks out of the cave in order to leave the map where they found it but Pencroft sees her leave and follows her and sees her being captured by some pirates and taken back to the ship. Pencroft heads to the cave to tell the others and they make plans to rescue Helen. Using a log to carry them to the boat, Cyrus, Blake, Atherton, Neb, and Cyrus sneak onto the boat and Blake goes to find Helen while Cyrus and the others get a long boat to head back on. While they are doing that, Pencroft sneaks off and finds the medallion and grabs it but Neb sees him and warns him that it will cause trouble. Blake manages to save Helen and they get ready to leave but Bob Harvey catches Pencroft and Neb as they are trying to leave. A fight breaks out and Cyrus and the others manage to get away but Blake is shot and killed as they row to shore. When they reach shore, they find Jane waiting there with Joseph, who hands the men some repeating rifles that Nemo designed in the hopes it will help them with the pirates. The pirates arrive on the shore and after finding the raft, Bob Harvey spots the cave and they make there way there. Cyrus and the others begin firing at the pirates and the pirate fire back, with Joseph being shot in the process. Bob Harvey and Atherton end up in a standoff and Atherton convinces Bob to call his men off and Bob reluctantly agrees and they head back to the ship but a giant squid attacks them on the way. Joseph makes his way back to Nemo, who chastises Joseph for helping them but Joseph tells Nemo that Cyrus and his friends are innocent and that they could help Nemo remember what it is to be human before he dies. Bob Harvey makes it back to his ship and begins firing his cannons at the cave in an attempt to destroy it. Suddenly, the pirate ship explodes, having been destroyed by Nemo, and Bob Harvey is dragged underwater by the squid. Cyrus and the others find that the raft was destroyed and make plans to build a new one. Pencroft heads out to find the treasure and heads into the cave that the map indicates. He finds the treasure and is dragging it out of the cave when he is attacked by a giant spider. He manages to scare it off briefly and kill a second one but more keep coming and even though Neb arrives to help, Pencroft is grabbed by one of the spiders and carried away. As they hold a funeral for Pencroft, Nemo approaches them and tells them that the volcano is about to erupt and destroy the island. Nemo tells them that there is a boat on the far side of his compound that they can use to escape and says that he will meet them there, as he plans to return to the Nautilus to retrieve the papers on his work. As the volcano starts to erupt, Nemo ends up being trapped on board the Nautilus as the lava flow engulfs his ship. Cyrus and the others reach the boat and row to safety before the island breaks apart due to the eruption and row out into the sea, hoping to be rescued.
I know it was basically a TV mini-series but this still felt a lot longer than it really was. The acting was ok but, and this might sound sacrilegious to some, I felt that Patrick Stewart kind of put in a lackluster performance as Nemo. I did like Vinnie Jones as Bob Harvey and thought that Jason Durr (Pencroft) had the most character. The story was interesting and while there were obvious differences between this movie and the earlier version that I own, most of those differences didn’t detract from it too much. The special effects could have been better but that just goes to show some of the differences in budget with TV and movies. Still, the biggest drawback to watching was the time, as it really did feel too long. There were some of the slower paced scenes that could have been shortened or even cut to make things keep moving. If there was more action, than you wouldn’t really have noticed the time but with the slow pacing that was in most of this movie, it made a big difference. Not a bad DVD to watch but make sure you have plenty of free time if you want to watch both parts together.
Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5