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Mysterious Island(TV) (2005)
Escaping from a Confederate prison camp by balloon, five survivors land on an uncharted island in the Pacific. Far from being a sanctuary, the island is home to carnivorous monsters, bloodthirsty pirates, and the mad genius, Captain Nemo, who inhabits the mysterious island for his own strange ends.
For more about Mysterious Island and the Mysterious Island Blu-ray release, see Mysterious Island Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on February 9, 2009 where this Blu-ray release scored 2.5 out of 5.
Starring: Kyle MacLachlan, Gabrielle Anwar, Vinnie Jones, Omar Gooding, Patrick Stewart
Director: Russell Mulcahy
» See full cast & crew
Mysterious Island Blu-ray Review
Jules Vernre is probably rolling in his grave, but 'Mysterious Island' is one of the better miniseries on Blu-ray.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, February 9, 2009
No person outside my gates is long for this world.
Finally, a miniseries brought to Blu-ray that is worth watching. Mysterious Island manages to capture the imagination and get the heart racing on more than one occasion, and it does so with several novel concepts called "fine acting," "well-developed characters," "steady direction," "good action," and "robust pacing." Who knew? Mysterious Island, like Category 7 and 10.5 Apocalypse, suffers from terrible special effects, but when they serve as merely a part of the story rather than the focal point, they manage to blend in just a bit better than those found in other series that hedge their bets on the effects. Also, like many other miniseries, Mysterious Island offers a far-fetched concept, perhaps even more so than most. Then again, like the bad special effects, such problems tend to take a back seat to the story and don't (often) interfere with the enjoyment of the program, particularly when the actors care, the director stays out of the way, and the script is fairly well-written. Mysterious Island isn't all that great, but taken at face value, and compared to some of the other (and lesser) miniseries out there, this one makes for solid entertainment, warts and all.
Based on the classic tale by author Jules Verne, Mysterious Island tells the tale of a band of Confederate prison camp escapees that commandeer an observation balloon and manage to travel via air from Richmond, Virginia, to an uncharted Pacific island 8,000 miles from the United States. Among the escapees are Captain Cyrus Smith (Kyle MacLachlan, TV's "Twin Peaks"), former slave Neb (Omar Gooding), a Confederate soldier imprisoned for embezzlement named Pencroff (Jason Durr), a nurse, Helen (Danielle Calvert), and her daughter, Jane (Gabrielle Anwar). Smith is separated from the group and awakens to find himself in the home of Captain Nemo (Patrick Stewart, X-Men) and his assistant, Joseph (Roy Marsden). Meanwhile, the remaining survivors struggle to overcome the terrain and a series of terrifying encounters with giant insects. Nemo has secluded himself on the island, away from wars and the troubles of mankind, and has developed a powerful weapon capable of leveling entire cities, a weapon he hopes will be the ultimate deterrent and forever end conflict among man. He has constructed the weapon using Thorium, a substance found only on the island, a substance responsible for the grossly oversized insect life found there. It is Nemo's hope that Smith will return to the United States and tell the world of his weapon, but Smith believes the weapon too dangerous to make its existence known. After Joseph and Nemo rescue Smith's colleagues and reunite them with Smith in Nemo's home, Smith turns down the Captain's request. Furious, Nemo sets them loose on the island with no weapons or provisions. It's all they can do to survive, and matters are complicated when pirates, led by the notorious Bob Harvey (Vinnie Jones, The Condemned), arrive to find the island's buried treasure.
Mysterious Island makes for fine miniseries entertainment, but it does suffer from a few glaring negatives, the terrible special effects leading the charge. Every single effect sticks out like a sore thumb, be they the terribly phony-looking creatures or the plethora of green screen shots, but they are generally par for the course for a made-for-television, larger-than-life spectacle. All things considered, though, Mysterious Island is a winner. The saving grace of the film is the acting and direction. The noble Patrick Stewart takes his role seriously, and turns in his usual high quality performance. He seems far overcast for the film, but a breath of fresh air nevertheless. Kyle MacLachlan, too, delivers a well above-average performance for this sort of material. The two share decent chemistry; it's not a memorable pair, but all things considered, they are amazing in the context of the movie. Vinnie Jones delivers a hit-or-miss performance, though more hit than miss, thankfully. The other primaries -- notably Jason Durr, Omar Gooding, and Roy Marsden -- are all fine in their roles. Veteran director Russell Mulcahy (Resident Evil: Extinction) also lends steady, sure direction to the film. He might not be the best thought-of director out there, but for this sort of material, he's fantastic, sure-handed, and capable. He has a nice, but not distinguished, résumé, and his skills are well served here; he's more than qualified for this sort of film, and aside from MacLachlan and Stewart, he and his direction are the film's biggest assets. Thankfully, the film's positives far outweigh the negatives. Most importantly, Mysterious Island makes for a fun and fast watch, even straight through with little to no interruption between the two halves.
Mysterious Island Blu-ray, Video Quality
Echo Bridge presents Mysterious Island on Blu-ray with a 1080p, 1.78:1-framed transfer. The image retains a bit of noise throughout, though rarely does it appear abundantly heavy. Some edge enhancement is also visible. Blacks are sufficient but slightly lacking, coming off as a very dark shade of gray in most instances, and flesh tones appear red in most every scene. Colors are decent, and there are many to be seen. Daytime shots easily fare the best; the introduction of a red and orange pirate ship in chapter 10 is one of the nicest looking scenes in the film, and all of the bright, daytime shots around the island look crisp, nicely defined, and sharp. Detail is adequate in many shots, certainly no great shakes compared to the best of Blu-ray, but at least average; the numerous plants and vegetation seen around the island, and the many objects scattered throughout Nemo's home, offer viewers a bit of eye candy in an otherwise average looking transfer.
Mysterious Island Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Listeners may discover Mysterious Island on Blu-ray via either a 5.1 lossy Dolby Digital track, or a two-channel PCM mix. Neither are particularly impressive; the Dolby Digital track features a solid presence across the front. Both music and sound effects play adequately; for example, a rain storm during the escape early on in the film, and the subsequent musket shots that try to bring the balloon down, sound reserved and lacking in clarity. Almost the entire soundtrack is focused in the center channel, with some nice ambient effects spilling over to the front right and left channels. Even though it is a 5.1 mix, the rears are rarely utilized, a missed opportunity to truly engulf the listener in the experience. Various sound effects don't add much oomph, either; the film's climax features plenty of loud and varied sounds, but none of them really play with any sort of strength or clarity compared to the best lossless offerings. The PCM track isn't all that much different, perhaps slightly more clear, but no more or less impressive. For a made-for-television miniseries, these audio offerings are about as good as one may expect.
Mysterious Island Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
This Blu-ray release of Mysterious Island leaves plenty to the imagination thanks to its lack of a comprehensive supplemental package. The disc includes standard definition interviews with six cast members -- Kyle MacLachlan (6:24), Gabrielle Anwar (2:22), Vinnie Jones (3:53), Omar Gooding (1:39), Patrick Stewart (5:22), and Danielle Calvert (1:06) -- and director Russell Mulcahy (4:24). The disc also includes Set Design Featurette (480p, 11:03) which takes a closer look at the locations seen throughout the film and the design that makes them unique. Finally, the film's trailer (480p, 2:00) concludes this brief supplemental package.
Mysterious Island Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Mysterious Island makes for a fine time-killer. Unlike some of the lesser miniseries out there, this one features sure-handed direction that stays out of the way, a solid cast that actually cares about the material, and a story that is far-fetched but entertaining and quite often engrossing. The film contains many glaring weakness that are easy to overlook thanks to the many surprising positives. Mysterious Island is not an award winner, but it's good old fashioned entertainment that doesn't completely embarrass itself. Besides, when a movie has Jean-Luc Picard and Dale Cooper in it, how can it possibly be bad? Echo Bridge's Blu-ray release of Mysterious Island is rather weak, but nonetheless sufficient for the price. The video and audio are passable for a high definition release, but the supplements are few and far between. Still, this one is worth the asking price. Recommended.
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Mysterious Island Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Four More from Echo Bridge - July 29, 2008
Echo Bridge Home Home Entertainment has revealed that they will bring four films to Blu-ray this October. Coming first, on October 21st, is the Blu-ray release of 'The Woods Have Eyes'. A week later, on October 28th, they will release 'Cruel World', 'The Final ...
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