I’m dipping into the vault for a review of the Asylum’s adaptation of Jules Verne’s classic novel, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea! Say what you will, but this film definitively answers the question: Is Jules Verne’s work now in the public domain where any studio can make a movie and not have to pay royalties? The answer is yes, friends.
Written in 1869, 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea comes from a very different age. For example, people knew what a “league” was back then. No, stupid readers, the title does not imply that there are lots of aquatic sport federations. Leagues would be a measure of distance. 20,000 leagues is the equivalent of . . . a long distance. To give you some perspective, 20,000 leagues was at least twice as far as 10,000 leagues. And back in ye olden times, going . . . a long distance underwater is really mind boggling.
20,000 Leagues presents submarines, which at the time counted as science fiction. Can you even imagine a world without submarines? Without submarines, it would be a world without the incredibly tedious movie Das Boot! The hunt for the Red October would be much less intriguing! How would mad scientists travel to and from their secret lairs? On the bright side, the Lusitania would have been a much more uneventful voyage. (Too soon?)
On to the movie: How does the Asylum approach 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, which has been adapted into movies several times already? By increasing the leaguage by 10,000, and adding one giant Lamas. Yes, it’s 30,000 Leagues Under the Sea starring none other than Lorenzo Lamas!
Lorenzo Lamas plays a scientist who has invented the bubble. Not just any bubble, not even a bubblicious bubble, but a super duper air bubble that functions under water. This air bubble is demonstrated by Lamas, as he lounges in an air bubble under the sea.
Lamas and his crew are dispatched on a rescue mission, to rescue the crew of a submarine stranded at the bottom of the ocean after their sub was attached mechanical squid. You read that right.
Did I mention that the Navy assigned Lamas’ ex-wife to assist the team on the mission, just like in the book?
Anyhoo, on the expedition, the crew comes across Captain Nemo (Sean Lawlor), in nuclear sub the Nautilus. Captain Nemo is no relationship to Captain Neo, FYI. And this Nautilus isn’t your great grandpappy’s Nautilus, it’s got a disco room, hot babes, and even a brainwashing chamber (I gotta get me one of those)! Nemo’s objectives are rational and obtainable: He plans to destroy the surface world with nuclear weapons, and start a new, clean civilization under the sea. This plan somehow involves Lamas’ BubbleMaker 4000 device and the lost city of Atlantis, but let’s not get bogged down in the details.
If one were to get bogged down in the details, one would talk about scenes where a crew member swims outside the submarine sans scuba gear at an incredible depth to perform some repairs. Our heroes think their mate is dead, until they hear a banging on the hull. Relieved, they open the hatch to find their mate alive and well, just a little wet. Standing in the hatch, without the ocean rushing in or even a trickle of water coming through the doorway, the saved crew member is snatched by the tentacles of the killer squid outside. Oh, Asylum!
As with all Asylum films, the ultimate question (for me) comes down to – is it fun? 30,000 Leagues Under the Sea is a hoot and a half. It’s more fun than a barrel full of Lorenzo Lamas’!
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