20,000 Leagues Under The Sea - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

20,000 Leagues Under The Sea Reviews

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½ October 22, 2016
Watched this on 22/10/16
James Mason's performance holds uncommon depth and this is one of the very few disney films that are not childish. Mason's role balances out the film and on the whole the film moves at a breezy pace with a plot that is shrouded at mystery for most of the length. Kirk Douglas is also good in his role. The visual effects of the film are mesmerizing and it hasn't aged with time. Much credit should be given to director Richard Fleischer for helming this film.
August 16, 2016
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954) C-127m. ???? D: Richard Fleischer. Kirk Douglas, James Mason, Paul Lukas. Wonderfully upbeat, sensationally entertaining underwater adventure involving colorful crew of advanced submarine and the amazing discovery of the dubious Captain Nemo (Mason). One of the best "looking" films of the 1950s, with dazzling, Oscar-winning special effects throughout; Art Direction-Set Decoration also won Academy award. Grand fun for one and all. A plea to Hollywood: Do not remake this. CinemaScope.
August 13, 2016
With a visionary and surprisingly poignant story so far ahead of its time that even 1950s Hollywood couldn't do it complete justice, this Jules Verne adaptation nontheless thrives on the strong performance of James Mason as the iconic Captain Nemo, as well as the astounding underwater sequences and the giant squid.
½ April 28, 2016
Jules Verne's whale of a tale is captured well visually on-screen with impressive special effects. It's dark for Disney and isn't one my favorite live-action films, but it is a worthy adventure made extra fun by Kirk Douglas. (First viewing - In my early twenties)
March 11, 2016
Good live-action journey underwater, with an interesting concept. There's a lot of good chemistry between the leads and good writing. Disney should try this in IMAX.
March 3, 2016
The best adaptation of one of Jules Verne's greatest stories of all time! Not entirely accurate to the original book, but a satisfying story, and memorable characters. I can never get tired of listening to Ned Lands "Whale of a Tale" melody! Even him singing with the sea lion Ezmerelda is one of my favorite moments in the film!
A made for TV adaptation has been done in the nineties, but it doesn't even come close to this one! Awesome in every way and form!
January 2, 2016
This is an impressive movie adaptation of a Jules VERNE book set in the 1800's, with adventure, drama, action and comedy (slapstick) elements.
January 1, 2016
Amazingly shot and brilliant performances, especially from Kirk Douglas (whose character I found hilarious) and James Mason
November 26, 2015
A great Thanksgiving Classic. I forgot how realistic the giant squid was. Especially swimming backwards like that and all.
½ October 28, 2015
This science fiction, almost steampunk, adventure film must be appreciated for its ambition and what it managed to do in its era. While the fight against the squid is still excellent, the special effects generally look dated and this film generally hasn't aged well. However, it is still more entertaining that many more modern films produced.
Super Reviewer
October 27, 2015
It's one heck of a great ride, but the effects don't cover up the threadbare story.
October 15, 2015
The best adaption of Verne's book.
September 5, 2015
My boyfriend grew up watching this movie on repeat as a child. He was thinking about it for WEEKS and decided to order it online and force me to watch it. Well, he says forced. I've read the book so I was more than willing. Considering this movie was filmed in 1954 it has aged extremely well. I'll give a bit of a description for those of you unfamiliar with the story. These guys try to figure out why so many whaling ships have been disappearing. They discover a highly advanced submarine lead by Captain Nemo. This was the costliest movie Disney produced at the time. There's underwater adventures, exploring other countries, and a companion seal. There are a few mysteries like how is it so bright at the bottom of the ocean? How is the bottom of the ocean so close to the surface parked submarine? But, hey, we must remember it was filmed in 1954 and they actually did a really good job minus a few quirks.
September 3, 2015
A Walt Disney classic and the quintessential Jules Verne based film, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea has an amazing giant squid and a great cast.
½ July 14, 2015
One of the few Disney movies I like - because it has a watery theme :)
½ July 2, 2015
Truly amazing movie, one of the best live action disney movies ever.
½ June 8, 2015
The greatest submarine movies ever are as followed:
1.Yellow Submarine
2.Hunt for Red October
3.20,000 League Under the Sea ? ?? 1/2
4.Das Boot
5.The Abyss
6.Crimson Tide
7.The Below
8.Ice Station Zebra
9.Down Periscope
March 20, 2015
Let's be clear: this film probably does not deserve the star rating I've given it, but it is the only Disney film on my list. I have a nostalgic love for this movie and the theme park ride it inspired that knows no bounds. I am also not blind to its flaws. Nemo was a Megalomaniac who despised humanity and met a well-deserved end, but the serenity of the Nautilus under water has fascinated me since I was a child. I even did a book report on a non-fiction book called Colonizing the Sea. The strength of the story is the same strength of the film version of Jaws--it's the iceberg theory that you're only getting a minuscule part of the picture. In the film, we're never told much about Nemo's background, only that he is the classic iconoclast, and who among us has not wanted to chuck it all and go where we cannot be found?
½ February 20, 2015
The height of family-friendly blockbusters from the '50s.

No, it's not a 100% faithful adaptation of the book (which I also love), ditching Nemo's Indian ethnicity and fury at the Brit Empire for a possible Brit ethnicity and a fury at an unnamed nation. The book's invention of electricity is switched in the film to atomic power (actually a decent idea considering the film was released in the era of the atom bomb, and dotted with sombre warnings about the danger of atomic power). The climactic maelstrom of the book is replaced with a possibly-more-dramatic bombed island in the book. And probably most noticeably, the book's main protagonist (Professor Aronnax) is sidelined in the film (somewhat) to give priority to a character who was less prominent in the book - the North American harpooner, Ned Land.

This latter change makes the most sense from a commercial viewpoint (especially with the casting of megastar Kirk Douglas), but it also pays off with some nicely balanced class-based tension/humour between "the common man" and the "aristocracy" - and leavening what would could have been a lot of dry scientific oohing and ahhing from the book with some more accessible and grounded moralising and much needed humour.

In fact the humour of this film is brilliant - especially the odd couple stuff between the boisterous, OTT Douglas and the stuffed shirt Peter Lorre (again wonderful in a far less creepy role than he became famed for). I especially love the hair-ruffling routines between the two.

Otherwise this film is a wonderful adventure - a little episodic and repetitive and perhaps a tad too long and slow-paced for audiences of today - but its hardly dated at all, in pretty much EVERY way (apart from the shocking clips of Nemo's men "farming" sea turtles by grabbing their limbs and pulling them into the craft).

The effects are still outstanding 60 years later, and the design of the Nautilus especially is steampunk nirvana - so beautifully wrought and detailed, inside and out. The action, when it comes, is unspectacular by today's spoilt standards, but its not hard to imagine '50s audiences going nuts over it, especially the attack by the giant squid, which exhibits true movie craft of multiple levels.

The most memorable contribution to this flick though is James Mason's performance as Captain Nemo. He leavens a dude who is basically a misanthropic murderer with tinges of sympathy...Mason sells not only the genius, or the madman, but also the humanity, and the hatred, and the pain of Nemo.

He's nicely balanced by the other key players - Lukas is an underwhelming "good" version of Nemo for the villain to bounce off, and Douglas and Lorre are more grounded audience substitutes for the insane narrative going on around them.

Yes, the story wasn't as groundbreaking in 1954 as it was 80 years earlier when Verne published his remarkably prophetic book...submarines and electric power were all the rage in the mid-20th century but mere twinkles in some inventor's eyes in the mid-19th. That doesn't make Verne's prophecies any less amazing. Or some of his/Nemo's theories about mankind's tendency for self-destruction, and his preference of eschewing nationality and inter-nation conflict. Not to mention his undersea farming and menu offerings. (How DOES one milk a sperm whale?)

This story was/is a fascinating one. In so many ways, Captain Nemo was a precursor of the classic (late Connery/mid Moore) Bond villain - mad geniuses determined to redefine the world in their own image. But Nemo - in this film at least - and in no small part thanks to James Mason - is something more. A wounded man, hiding from the horrible, "real" world. He gives a depth to this movie above that of the typical Disney blockbuster.

Sure, that depth is balanced with corny and obvious bits with a sea-lion, and a huge fight in a gale with a colossal animatronic giant squid...but those bits are great too, and help give this film a more universal appeal.

Well done, Mr. Disney.

(I especially appreciated this line: "Cheer up, Professor. You'll forget all about fishing when you see the gals in Saigon.")
February 11, 2015
Jules Vernes novelle put into cinema, in a splendid costly manner. Kind of sci-fi adventurous starring stars as Kirk Dougles and James Mason this is supreme given its a 1954 production. Watching this in blu-ray its overwhelming and impressive.
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