Posted by:
Byron Brewer

TV Review: Jules Verne’s Mysterious Island (SYFY)


682 Louisiana and cajun country didn’t get to star in SYFY’s Swamp Volcano, but it did play host as the filming locale this past Saturday to the network’s adaptation of Jules Verne’s Mysterious Island.

And let me tell you: It wasn’t half bad!

Now that may not sound like much of a recommendation, but for these Saturday movies (if you have seen many of these SyFy originals), it’s a flarkin’ gold star.

Well, not really --

The great cast in this work -- Gina Holden, Lochlyn Munro, J.D. Evermore, Caleb Michaelson, Edrick Browne, W. Morgan Sheppard, Susie Abromeit, Pruitt Taylor Vince and Mark Sheppard – helped to keep afloat this tale of five Northern POWs from the Civil War escaping in a hot air balloon only to land on a desert island.

Later, these Yankees discover they must face evil pirates, frightening creatures and a volcano about to go boom; surrendering to the Confederacy, all of a sudden, doesn’t sound so bad!

The adaptation itself of Verne’s 1874 novel is also, well, not too terrible for a TV movie. In fact, there are a few new elements that I have never encountered before in a telling of this great adventure. Oh, some of the speaking parts may seem childish or corny, if you will, but that can be expected because writer Cameron Larson’s whole script is nothing if not very 19th century -- and I for one think that is a good thing.

The special effects were nothing to write home about, but then there was never a high expectation in the first place, at least by this viewer. That said, there were not that many of them and again the great work of the actors and the direction by Mark Sheppard really pulled this fantasy adventure tightly together.

After several disappointing efforts, it was good to see this small gem among the ghost town of SyFy original productions.

Some flaws, yes, but all together? By Grant, I think they’ve got it!