20,000 Leagues Under the Sea The Disney studio's first American-made live-action spectacle remains one of its best, thanks mainly to James Mason's portrayal of Jules Verne's antihero submarine commander, Captain… 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea The Disney studio's first American-made live-action spectacle remains one of its best, thanks mainly to James Mason's portrayal of Jules Verne's antihero submarine commander, Captain…
Movie on DVD Review

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Special Edition DVD (2003)

James Mason, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea | 'LEAGUE' OF THEIR OWN Nemo explored new depths in Disney's underwater adventure
Image credit: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: Kobal Collection
'LEAGUE' OF THEIR OWN Nemo explored new depths in Disney's underwater adventure
EW's GRADE
A-

Details Release Date: May 20, 2003; DVD Release Date: May 20, 2003; Movie Rated: G; With: Kirk Douglas and James Mason; Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures

The Disney studio's first American-made live-action spectacle remains one of its best, thanks mainly to James Mason's portrayal of Jules Verne's antihero submarine commander, Captain Nemo, as a misguided Victorian-era terrorist. Mason brings such feline assurance to the part that he makes Kirk Douglas' hound-dog overacting as captive harpoonist Ned Land a forgivable counterpoint. (But not entirely: You may want to hit ''skip'' when Douglas sings a sailor's ditty.) Disney milked every promotional angle for the film's debut, which makes for a supplemental disc overflowing with goodies in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Special Edition DVD. Highlights: a cut animated-fish sequence that evidently influenced Pixar's upcoming ''Finding Nemo,'' excerpts from the Disneyland TV show cannily plugging the picture, and new interview footage with Douglas and director Richard Fleischer taking affectionate swipes at each other. Asked on a commentary track whether Douglas rose to the challenge of being an ensemble player, Fleischer cracks, ''Sometimes he rose too far [and I'd] have to knock it down a bit.''

Originally posted May 16, 2003 Published in issue #710 May 16, 2003 Order article reprints