Looking up the title Mysterious Island pulls up over a dozen possible entries, and yet I only own three of them. I honestly don’t know if I should try and rectify that issue or not. Anyways, today’s movie is the last version of Jules Verne’s classic novel turned into a movie and of course, it is probably the most sci-fi oriented one of the bunch that I own. Now personally, I would have probably got this movie just because the director was Mark Sheppard and I think he is hilarious in Supernatural as Crowley but then again, I probably would have bought it because I love cheesy sci-fi movies. Either way, I bought it and now it’s time to watch the most recent movie based on Jules Verne’s classic novel, Mysterious Island (2012).
The plot: In 1865 Virginia, a group of Union prisoners are being escorted by some Confederate troops when they are met by Bonaventure Pencroft, who is escorting journalist Gideon Spilett to join the prisoners. Spilett questions Pencroft about a balloon he noticed earlier and Pencroft threatens to shoot him when some cannonballs explode nearby, knocking everyone to the ground. Captain Cyrus Harding yells for his men to run and the prisoners all take off, with Pencroft trying to get his men to go after them. The prisoners manage to avoid a Confederate patrol and after Spilett introduces himself, Cyrus introduces himself and the other prisoners; fellow Union soldiers Neb Nugent and Herbert, as well as Tom Ayrton, a Confederate deserter. Trying to escape Virginia, Spilett tells them about the balloon and they come up with a plan to deal with the guards and they get in the balloon. As Neb cuts the lines, Pencroft leads some Confederate soldiers towards them and manages to grab onto the balloon. Cyrus has Neb and Herbert bring him aboard and Pencroft threatens to shoot them if they don’t land the balloon. Spilett tries to reason with Pencroft and ends up getting shot and falling out of the balloon before Pencroft is restrained and Cyrus knocks him unconscious. As the balloon continues to sail in the sky, a strange portal opens up in the clouds and the balloon gets sucked into it. Pencroft wakes up on a beach with Neb, Herbert, and Tom but there is no sign of Cyrus. Tensions flare and Pencroft decides to survive on his own rather than join the others but that night he joins them by their fire as the hear something roaring in the jungle. Later that night, Tom wakes up and goes to get more wood for the fire when something grabs him. The next morning, Neb and Herbert suspect Pencroft has something to do with it but Pencroft claims to be innocent and offers to help. Neb and Herbert refuse his help and them men go their separate ways. Neb and Herbert follow a blood trail and come across Tom’s remains and wonder what could have done that to him. Meanwhile, Pencroft finds what appears to be a massive plantation house and when he tries the door, finds it unlocked so he heads inside. The island suddenly starts to quake and Neb and Herbert notice the sky taking on a strange color just before an airplane suddenly appears out of a portal and crashes into the jungle. Neb and Herbert head to the crash site and find Cyrus there using two torches to protect two women from some strange creatures. Neb helps Cyrus while Herbert helps get the women to safety just before Neb and Herbert drop the torches and run, just before the fuel from the plane explodes. The group begins making their way through the jungle, but one of the girls is injured and so they are forced to stop and rest for a while. While they are stopped, one of the women, Julia Fogg, talks to Cyrus and after introducing herself and her sister Abby, she thanks Cyrus for saving them. Cyrus then asks her about the plane, since he has never seen one before, and Julia wonders is also confused by some of the statements that he makes about escaping from a war. Continuing their journey during the day, Julia realizes that Cyrus and the others are from the Civil War and tells them that her and her sister are from the year 2012. Cyrus is relieved to hear that the women are from the US, and Julia confirms that the Union won the war, but she then explains that they might be in the Bermuda Triangle, and explains that it is a place where ships and planes have disappeared along with the people on board. The group eventually reach the house and Julia is surprised to find the first aid kit and flare gun from the plane on the steps. Cyrus and Neb check the house for dangers and find Pencroft in the bath. Cyrus, Neb, and Herbert tell Pencroft what they learned and they find out from speaking with him that he did not bring the first aid kit to the house, which means someone else is on the island. As it starts to get dark, Cyrus wants to make sure the house is locked up and well lit to keep the monsters out but Pencroft thinks that Cyrus is being foolish. He takes a torch and goes out to prove there are no monsters but Cyrus and the others call him back just as they hear something in the jungle and they see strange, plant-covered creatures rushing towards Pencroft. Pencroft makes it back to the house just as Cyrus uses the flare gun to shoot one of the creatures, causing it to burst into flames and scaring off the other creatures. Inside, the group make plans on how to escape the island and Herbert and Neb talk about seeing several ships on the nearby beach, including a pirate ship, and Pencroft agrees to go with them to help look. The next day, Cyrus, Julia, Neb, and Pencroft reach the beach and Julia seems excited to see some of the planes and ship that landed on the island, but the others don’t share her enthusiasm. Finding a small boat they can use, they debate on if they should take it and Cyrus says they will camp on the beach for the night to see if anyone comes for it and if not, they will take it. Back at the house, Herbert is trying to take care of Abby, who is acting like a spoiled brat, and as he goes to get her some fresh water, he is shocked to find the door to the house is open. Racing upstairs to Abby’s room, he quickly grabs her and has her hide under the bed before he joins her as someone enters the room briefly before turning around and leaving. Back on the beach, Julia wonders why the men all woke up on the other side of the island when all of the other boats and planes seemed to land on the side they are on. Hearing creatures calling out in the jungle, Cyrus says they should keep guard and Pencroft volunteers to take the first watch. In the morning, the others wake up to discover that Pencroft had tricked them and taken the boat for himself. Paddling out to sea, Pencroft stops to wave at the others but is soon attacked and killed by a giant octopus, an event that is seen by an old man elsewhere on the island. Cyrus and the others return to the house and find Herbert and Abby still hiding under the bed and Herbert explains what happens and points out a nearby volcano that is threatening to erupt. The next day, Cyrus and Julia head out to her plane to see if there is anything worth taking from it that will help them escape. Hearing something in the jungle, Cyrus goes to look and rushes back when he hears Julia screaming to find her being attacked by three pirates. Cyrus tries to fight them off but he ends up being saved when someone shoots the three pirates with a bolt of electricity. Cyrus and Julia turn to the man, who introduces himself as Captain Nemo, and after the introduce themselves, Nemo invites them to have some tea with him and he will explain things to them. Heading back to the house, they see Neb and Herbert setting up barrels of the pitchoil that Nemo had around the house to use as a deterrent for the creatures. Nemo leads Cyrus and Julia to a secret room under the house which turns out to be the Nautilus. After pouring them some drinks, Nemo explains how he wound up on the island. He had been testing a device that would allow him to travel through time when they were attacked by a giant octopus and as it had the Nautilus in it’s tentacles, a bolt of lightning struck the ship, overloading the device and causing it to open a hole in time. When Nemo and his crew awoke, they found themselves on the island with no way off thanks to the octopus, which attacked anything that came near the island, and so they decided to build the house on top of the Nautilus. When Julia asks about the crew, Nemo explains that they are all gone, victims of the island. As the tremors from the volcano occur again, they all head outside and notice one of the swamp creatures standing out in the field. Heading back inside the house, Cyrus explains his plan to get off the island to Nemo, planing to use lighting from the storm to power Nemo’s machine and open a portal that will take them off the island. Nemo has his doubts but when Cyrus explains that he was an engineer before the war and had been designing a smaller, lighter steam engine for one person locomotives, Nemo thinks they might have a chance. The group make their preparations to leave but one day, while Neb, Abby, and Herbert are working on the balloon, they find themselves facing several of the swamp creatures. Neb and Herbert flip the basket over on top of Abby in order to protect her while they try to fight off the creatures. When Cyrus and the other return, they find Abby is ok and Neb is wounded but Herbert is gone as well as Nemo’s time travel machine. Cyrus wants to go after the creatures to get the machine and Herbert back but Nemo refuses to go, and as he tosses a bloody handkerchief away, Cyrus tells Abby and Julia that Nemo is dying of consumption. The next day, Cyrus, Julia, and Abby head out to find the creatures’ lair and Cyrus finds the machine but when he sees the creature is actually a man, he realizes that the creatures are really Nemo’s crew, who have gone feral from being stuck on the island. Abby sees Herbert’s dead body and screams, causing the men to wake up and attack them but the three manage to escape and head back to the house. Cyrus goes to confront Nemo but finds him suffering from a severe bout of his illness. Nemo apologizes for not telling them about his crew and says that the island drove them mad then he tells Cyrus to leave him and escape with the others as he will soon be dead anyways. Cyrus heads up to the house and tells everyone to get to the roof and they fight off Nemo’s crew as they get ready to sail off in the balloon. Cyrus plans on using the lightning from the volcano to power the machine but they end up being blow out to sea. As the octopus tries to attack them, Cyrus uses Nemo’s lightning gun to attract a bolt of lightning, which strikes the balloon and powers the machine, opening a portal which they go through.
I’m on the fence on this movie but I probably would think better about it if they had a better ending. The acting was ok among most of the characters but I think that Abby (Susie Abromeit) was completely annoying. One thing that I will point out about this movie is a thought I had the first time I watched it. When I saw that William Morgan Sheppard was playing Nemo and that Mark Sheppard played the young Nemo, I thought it was interesting because it was not the first time that those two actors played older and younger versions of the same character, having previously played Canton Delaware in the Doctor Who episode The Impossible Astronaut. Of course, I then looked them up and found out that they are father and son, so the casting made perfect sense. The plot was about as loosely based on the original novel as you could get. In fact, the only thing that had anything to do with the original novel was the inclusion of Nemo and that the soldiers arrived by balloon. And I hate open endings like this where you don’t know if they successfully made it or not. I really hate those types of endings. The special effect were ok and in some cases better than the made for TV version but this was still a low budget movie. Nto the best version out there but it can be entertaining in the right light.
Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5