(Review originally written at 11 January 2007)

With all these great classic characters, how come this movie isn't that much good?

Yeah, well sure the movie offers decent enough entertainment but really, in its core this movie had far more potential. It features many classic characters everyone all over the world has heard of. Allan Quatermain, Captain Nemo, Mina Harker, The Invisible Man, Dorian Gray, Tom Sawyer, Dr. Henry Jekyll/Edward Hyde, all put together in one movie. It sounds like enough material to make an entertaining adventurous movie with. The movie is however seriously flawed with its story and character treatment and though its entertaining, it at the same time is a rather disappointing movie.

The story is very messy. The reason for this is probably the fact that the movie is filled with so many characters (yes, yes, I know that the movie is based on a comic book and therefor they couldn't do much about it.). Halve of them really don't serve a significant enough part in the movie. Seriously, what are Mina Harker and Tom Sawyer doing in this? Especially the villainous plot of the movie is very shaky and far from interesting or completely understandable, though it really should be, since it's what the movie is all about. The movie tries to put in some clever 'twists' and 'turns' that just don't work out due to the fact that the story is a far from likable or interesting one. It's one of those movies you just couldn't care less about the story.

I can't say I was happy about the casting either. Naseeruddin Shah plays Captain Nemo about as boring as possible. Somehow I have the feeling that the writers didn't intended the character to be that way. And who's bright idea was it to cast Peta Wilson as Mina Harker? And really, Sean Connery is really too old by now to still play a heroic main character convincingly. Richard Roxburgh is still somewhat good in his role, too bad that his character isn't that very interesting.

The action in this movie is pretty big and good looking but it all feels very random. This is due to the poor storytelling, that never ever really gets to flow well enough to consider the movie to be greatly compelling- or even entertaining. Guess that the movie is sort of like "Van Helsing". It also puts many different well known characters in the movie, with as a result that the movie feels too crowded and messy. The movie tries to achieve way too much but doesn't succeed in halve of it.

The movie has a good visual style and some impressive looking sets and costumes. At times the special effects are also impressive but at other moments they're very poorly done.

In essence the movie had far more potential really. Will I give a sequel a chance? It probably will never get made but I'm willing to give at a chance at success, as long as they've learned from the mistakes they made with this movie. In its core the stories and characters show some really good potential to make some good looking and entertaining movies with.

Maybe just good- and entertaining enough to watch it just once.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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