The 2012 Movie “Jules Verne’s Mysterious Island” Adds a Time-Traveling Twist to this Steam-era Classic

Alternate poster Jules Verne’s Mysterious Island


What Was Different?

In this made-for-SyFy flick, the island is relocated to the Bermuda Triangle. Ships regularly disappear from this spot because of a rift in time that sucks in travelers. This allows them to include pirates and refugees from the American Civil War, but also some ladies from the present.

Ever since the 1961 film, the trend with movie adaptations is to add some kind of creepy critter. In both the 1961 the 2005 versions, all of the animals on the island grew to huge proportions. In this one, there’s a giant octopus blocking their escape by sea. Plus, the island is overrun by apelike creatures who (spoiler alert) turn out to be Nemo’s disenfranchised crew.

Verne’s original story is a fairly subtle tale about people trying to figure out who is helping them. It is first and foremost a mysterious puzzle to solve. Like fixating on the giant squid attack in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, the filmmakers seem a lot more interested in making a monster movie than actually telling Verne’s story.

What did I think of Jules Verne’s Mysterious Island (2012)?

Even though it’s not a faithful adaptation, I really enjoyed the time-travel twist. It really called attention to how much has changed in the past 150 years. Despite many of the characters coming from the same country, there are culture clashes because of advances in technology and social norms. The writing had a few holes, and the acting was pretty hit or miss, but it was a fun movie all the same. Of course, I like “bad” movies so I will probably put with more than your average movie viewer. If you want a bigger-budget experience, I’d recommend  the 2005 made-for-Hallmark film, Mysterious Island. That one stars Kyle MacLachlan as the leading man, and Patrick Stewart as Nemo.

This mockbuster was made to piggyback on the major motion picture release the same year of Journey 2: The Mysterious IslandThis decidedly in-steamy film is a sequel to Brendan Fraser’s Journey to the Center of the Earth (2008). I’ll bring you reviews of those steam-adjacent films as well, so stay tuned for even more Verne before the month is over!

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