Mysterious Island (2005) starring Kyle MacLachlan, Danielle Calvert, Gabrielle Anwar, Patrick Stewart, Jason Durr, Omar Gooding, Vinnie Jones directed by Russell Mulcahy Movie Review

Mysterious Island (2005)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Kyle MacLachlan in Mysterious Island (2005)

Mystery Pantomime Island

During the American Civil War, six prisoners escape for a prison camp in Virginia by hot air balloon and after drifting unguided come crashing down on a mysterious island in the middle of nowhere. Whilst Captain Smith (Kyle MacLachlan) gets separated from the others during the crash the remaining survivors start exploring the land, both looking for Smith but also food and soon discover the island is the home to some giant creepy crawlies. Meanwhile Captain Smith finds himself in the company of Captain Nemo (Patrick Stewart) who with his remaining crew live on the island in secret. But the island is also prone to dangerous pirates and Captain Smith despite Nemo's request will not leave his fellow escapees to roam unguided.

This version of Jules Verne's "Mysterious Island" was a made for TV epic from 2005, a 3 hour big production which whilst I have never read the original story feels half inspired by the story and half inspired by the 1961 version with some changes to make it appeal to a more modern audience. Now that will immediately cheese off those who are fans of Verne's original adventure story and you don't have to look hard to find those willing to denounce this version as a travesty for even daring to try and alter Verne's original to appeal to a more current audience.

Gabrielle Anwar in Mysterious Island (2005)

But don't worry if you feel left out because you haven't read Verne's story as there is still plenty to mock when it comes to this version starting with the pantomime style acting. Now some of the acting whilst below what you expect from the likes of MacLachlan, Anwar and Stewart is still just about passable but some of it feels like it should be in a Christmas pantomime. From the first inept pirates to over the top characters and those with unbelievable moustaches it all is a bit fun for being bad.

But then there is the look as well and I swear that someone purloined the costumes from "Hook" to give to the variety of pirates we meet including Vinnie Jones in an unbelievable wig. But the costumes are not the only bad thing as the nod to old movies with close ups of actual bugs used to make them look large just ends up embarrassingly tacky. The temptation to keep on ridiculing this version of "Mysterious Island" is there but I feel I must restrain myself as it seems cruel to slam a movie which in fairness tries although just as frequently tries your patience.

What this all boils down to is that this version of "Mysterious Island" is not very good and the only way it comes close to being enjoyable is when you start to revel in all which is bad about it. My advice is that is you are yet to watch a movie version of "Mysterious Island" then just find the 1961 version to watch as whilst dated it is superior to this.