Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea Reviews
Filled to the brim with DIY visual effects (no CGI then). One of my favourite scenes is the battle between the submarine & the giant octopus.
This is not a great film but any means, but it's fun & adventurous, it's the perfect movie you'd see on Gem TV on a Saturday afternoon. Very dated but very fun....
A group of scientists and men who specialize in the depths of the ocean go on an undersea voyage for science in a submarine. While in the depths of the ocean the Earth seems to erupt and human existence is put at risk. It is completely unsafe to return to the surface. The scientists onboard are split in terms of identifying a potential solution where they could bomb the core of the Earth and reverse the actions taking place on the surface. Some scientists feel these actions will make things worse. All of these events, including the arguing scientists, make the shipmates nervous and they don't know how to react. Can the scientists save the Earth before the shipmen mutiny and take over the sub and force them to return the officers to their families?
"What did you see out there?"
"Dead men on a dead ship."
Irwin Allen, director of The Lost World, The Poseidon Adventure, Five Weeks in a Balloon, City Beneath the Sea, and The Swarm, delivers Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. The storyline for this picture is interesting and reminded me of 20,000 League Under the Sea. The action scenes are far and few between but well executed when delivered. The acting is above average and the cast includes Peter Lorre, Joan Fontain, Walter Pidgeon, Robert Sterling, and Mark Slade.
"In her current condition she wouldn't even bite a congressman."
"Then she's the only one onboard who wouldn't."
I have always thought that Peter Lorre was a cool eccentric character that played interesting roles so I decided to DVR a couple of his films. I found this on Turner Classic Movies (TCM) this holiday season and decided to give it a shot. I will say the underwater scenes with the squid were cool as were the shots of the surface as the death toll mounted; however, the characters didn't really fascinate or keep my interest as intended. Overall, this is a fun science fiction picture that is above average but far from great.
"I'll remind you to keep your sniveling philosophies to yourself."
Yet despite all that...holy crapenstein this film was errrr...crap!. Now I've seen a lot of these old fantasy flicks from the 60's but this has to be the most boring sci-fi I've ever seen I kid you not. The plot is nuts, something about a meteor shower that is on fire threatening the Earth with an extreme rise in heat temperatures. So the Captain of this fancy ass submarine comes up with a plan to extinguish these flaming meteors by firing a nuke at them on a certain day and at a certain time. It has to be this exact time and day so the nuke will put out the flames and blast the meteors back into space. Wut?? say again? repeat all after the plot is nuts.
The 'excitement' comes from the fact that this plan is rejected (really?) and only the US President can authorise it. So the devious Captain ignores this, gets his sub into position and tries to get in contact with El Presidente before the time slot is missed, of course there is a saboteur on board which makes things even more exciting!.
I mean seriously there is nothing happening in this film! the plot is too stupid for words and makes no sense. When you watch the film you do agree with UN that the main plan is nuts and its probably best to leave the meteors alone. So you spend the entire film thinking this bunch of sailors on this fancy sub are doing something really really dangerous and stupid...without permission!. Of course we all know it will work but you still know its utterly stupid.
There are various issues the subs crew must battle against to try and complete their illegal mission, typical stuff like under sea mines, debris, a mutiny, equipment being damaged blah blah blah, oh and a giant squid attack too. Yep that's right, you can't have an underwater adventure without a giant sea beast of some sort attacking the main vessel. So right away that compromises the films semi realistic approach, at first I thought it was sort of serious, outlandish sci-fi but kinda serious with sensible elements. The giant squid kinda turns the whole thing into complete fantasy and ruins that feel, I mean what next? mermaids saving the crew?.
I think one of the main issues for me was the fact the film just looks totally dull, the action is lifeless and visually its just bland and plain. All the sets are clearly sets (they used the same sets for the TV show), the colours are stale, the costumes are drab, the sub model looks like something you'd see in 'Flesh Gordon' (a dildo with a windscreen) and most of the film is set within this monochrome tin can. I get the feeling the sub has been designed like a spacecraft, sleek, smooth and intimidating like a shark, as apposed to the steampunk-like design of the classic 'Nautilus'. A wondrous and fantastical craft ready to set sail into unknown deep sea adventures...so what happened?.
There are a few scenes outside the sub but nothing much inspiring goes on, the only sequence with some life is the squid attack naturally...but don't go expecting anything of Disney standards now.
Imagine the original Star Trek show but without any planet hopping or alien encounters, just the crew on the ship having mechanical issues and chats...constantly. Yep well this is pretty much this film to a tee, a tonne of blokes on a sub with the obligatory blonde female sidekick doing virtually nothing but talk, with the odd shaky cam action sequence for good measure (with obligatory red flashing emergency light). I don't think any of this film cast star in the TV show, but it really doesn't matter as even the likes of Peter Lorre can't make this film any better.
The films title sounds awesome and thrilling, how wrong could it be!. I was straining to get through this, I do recall the TV show being pretty boring when I was a kid but I hoped this would be much better seeing as it was the acorn that spawned the oak tree. I can't see how this was popular I really can't, there were so many other better fantasy/sci-fi films out around this time and this film totally pales in comparison.
However, despite the esteemed cast, not one of the actors on this film could have rescued the abysmal script. The lines are stilted and unnatural for the dire situation the characters are in, and almost every character seems disinterested and bored. The impromptu trumpet dance scene with Barbara Eden and Frankie Avalon has no relevance or meaning whatsoever to the story.
Things became a tad off kilter in the underwater scene with the obviously fake sea creatures such as a propellor-propelled swordfish and a foam squid. Afterwards, people become ill and lenghty monologues about life and the end of the world ensue.
A somewhat forgettable sequence in an underwater minefield comes next, in which the most memorable thing aside from the blank, bored characters was when I spilt my can of soft drink.
However, like 'Mommie Dearest' or 'Giant Spider Invasion', I couldn't stop watching due to the unintentional humor and dreary plot twists. From that aspect it was watchable, even entertaining. Even the obvious scientific error of 'skyfire' in space posing a threat to earth became laughable after a while.
Despite the stilted acting, the dreary script, the factual errors, the laughable special effects and the irritating sound effects, the mediocrity of the movie makes it worth watching, however not repeatedly. No one should have to do that.
* The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951)
* Journey To The Center Of The Earth (1959)
* Fantastic Voyage (1966)
* Solaris (2002)