Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Know what I mean, Verne?

I’m not sure how closely the story resembles The Mysterious Island, the book it’s based on by Jules Verne, but this picture was a great endeavor for its time. It begins with spectacular matte painting of establishing shots set off the ocean. The movie was so visual, I almost didn’t notice that it’s mostly a silent film. They did manage to work in some dialog, though. It must have been an extra cost because sound was used sparingly.
The story takes a long time to get going. People must have had much more patience in 1929. After some time you will be rewarded with brilliant effects, miniatures and camera tricks. The sets and costumes had me believing in under-water baby sleestaks.
It was nice to see that in 1929 the damsel in distress was capable of taking the initiative in her own rescue. The story is very basic, but The Mysterious Island makes up for it in its amazing visuals. I’m not sure if the creatures the people meet are played by children or little people, but they didn’t have CGI, and there were what looked like thousands.
This is a must see classic. Now I have to go find the book to read Jules Vernes’ descriptions.

No comments: