Mysterious Island is the original Lost World. Famed French author Jules Verne is known for his spot on predictions about the future. 1874 novel The Mysterious Island is actually a sequel that follows in the footsteps of In Search of the Castaways and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. I don’t know much about the former, but concepts from the latter are unmistakable. Mysterious Island follows a band of Union soldiers from the Civil War who escape a Confederate prison.
There’s the leader Captain Harding, the youthful Herbert, the African American Neb, accompanying war correspondent Spillet, and Confederate prisoner Pencroft. They’re later joined by two shipwrecked women named Lady Mary and Elena. Mysterious Island almost feels like a cross between every Jules Verne movie I’ve seen up to this point. The men use a hot air balloon to escape just like Around the World in 80 Days. The titular mysterious island is populated by giant creatures just like Journey to the Center of the Earth. The primary difference is that this island mainly consists of giant animals like a giant crab, giant chicken, giant bees, and a giant cephalopod.
Since I wasn’t overly familiar with the cast, I mainly focused on the always stunning Ray Harryhausen stop-motion effects. Aside from a lot of the danger centering around water, the strongest connection to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is Captain Nemo himself. He’s alive and the Nautilus is still operational. Though it isn’t a direct sequel to the Disney movie, Herbert Lom does feel like an older version of James Mason’s portrayal. The castaways build a civilization, but have to flee when an active volcano erupts. Mysterious Island is an exciting mystery I’m pleased to have solved.