30,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA
* * * (2007, 85 minutes, Rated TV-14)
Because 20,000 leagues under the sea is for wimps!
It’s funny: For a mockbuster patterned after a classic novel, this movie feels a whole lot more like a
rip-off of “Star Trek.”
The control panels in the subs look like the control displays in “Star Trek: The Next Generation”
and sound like vintage “Star Trek.” The doors open and shut with the same whooshing sound as
on “Star Trek.” Hell, at one point, a character clicks on the emblem on his breast pocket to
communicate with other crew members – that’s straight outta "TNG." It’s hard to tell who should
be demanding a greater royalty check: Jules Verne or Gene Roddenberry.
The opening scene is cut whole cloth out of “Star Trek” convention. A Starshi-- eh, nuclear sub
picks up an "unidentified wessel" and suddenly the camera shakes and crew members throw
themselves around the bridge. They’ve been hit! The captain shouts out a bunch of orders, all of
which are shouted back to him. More camera shaking! More crew members falling out of their
seats! “You have the comm!” barks the captain to no one in particular. Where is he going? And
what is that thing attacking the sub?
It’s… LORENZO LAMAS!
|Who do you think would win in a fight between Verne
(left) and Roddenberry (right)? Let us know -- and why --
in the Comment Box at the end of the review.
|This one's for the ladies...
No, not really. It’s just a new scene.
Lorenzo Lamas heads up a special rescue unit for the Navy.
We know they’re with the Navy because they all wear giant
patches on their shirts that read “NAVY.” Very helpful. Lorenzo
Lamas also appears to be some sort of scientist, and he’s
invented a new kind of bubble that-
Yes, it’s very silly. Let me know when you’re done giggling so
we can carry on.
Right, so about Lorenzo Lamas’s bubbles… They’re some sort
of super underwater bubbles. The bubbles are capable of
transforming the oxygen in the water around it into breathable
oxygen inside the bubble. And as we see from his opening
scene, these WonderBubbles[TM] are big enough for Lorenzo
Lamas to hang out in for an hour. No word on how the
WonderBubbles[TM] are strong enough to hold a man (perhaps
they’re made for a woman?) without popping, or how the person
in the bubble doesn’t succumb to any kind of air poisonOWW!
I just hurt my brain. Let's move on.
Lorenzo Lamas and gang are sent out to rescue the downed
sub from the “Star Trek”-y opening. It’s a pretty raw deal for
The Lamas: He’s being forced to use his WonderBubble[TM]
to rescue the sub, even though it hasn’t been tested 30,000
Leagues Under the Sea yet AND he has to retrieve an
undisclosed number of warheads that were stored on the
sub AND the mission will be led by his ex-wife. Good times.
Off they go, with a weaselish little bureaucrat in tow who has
never been on a dive before – he’s handy for all the
whimpering and whining needed for the rest of the film. They
have a required Technical Difficulties Lead to Lack of Oxygen
scene, which effects everyone except for The Lamas
because he’s too Lamasome.
Things are looking bad… and suddenly, they’re on the
Nautilus. Like so many other aspects of the film, an
explanation is not offered. Instead, it was like the movie
suddenly remembered that it was supposed to be ripping off
“20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” and had to get itself back
(WonderBubbles) in the wine
(in the wine) make me happy
(make me happy) make me
feel fine (make me feel fine).
In the original "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea," Captain Nemo is portrayed as surly, swarthy
bearded adventurer, an anti-imperialistic icon and a man who was both highly intelligent and
highly likely to kick your teeth in.
Here, as played by Sean Lawlor (Prof. Lucky McCharms from
Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus), Nemo is like a delightful British
uncle, proudly showing his new guests around his "underwater
cruise ship," the Nautilus. So delightful, in fact, that he
delightfully explains away the need for the whole "rescue the
sub" thing in a way that's still confusing... but he's so damn
Soon enough, Nemo goes from Delightful British Uncle to
Delightful Bond Villain, and the rest of the film is devoted to
incoherent negotiations, giant squidbots, Goggles of Neon
Brainwashing and lines like, "The Earth-World is dead! We've
been defecating on it for decades!" Lawlor's Nemo made me
wish he had mechanical hook hands or at least an eye patch.
It all builds to one of the more confusing escape scenes I've ever
sat through, where things don't work except for when they do and
people are where they're supposed to be except for when they're
not. Yes, I know that didn't make a lick of sense... and neither did the end of the movie. All I can
tell you is that stuff blows up real good, and it all seemed like a long way to go for some Bubble
If you enjoyed this review -- and who didn't? --
and are interested in some other
bastardizations of classic literature, then check
out these Bargain Bin Reviews: