Movie Review – Mysterious Island (1961)

Mysterious Island is a film where a group of American Civil War soldiers escape in a balloon and up shipwrecked…erm… make that balloonwrecked on an island, which is mysterious. They set about making a camp and exploring the island and trying to survive, but they’re shocked to find giant creatures populating the land. They make a home for themselves while they build a boat, but then some other surprising things happen, which distract them from their task.

I love shipwreck stories and I also love giant creatures so this movie was right up my alley. Perhaps I’m being a little ungrateful here, but I was actually a little disappointed by the amount of creatures that were shown. A few were quite terrifying, but I wanted more! I did like the dynamics between the soldiers and I liked how they kept to their chain of command, and all worked together to try and survive rather than let interpersonal conflicts get in the way. The film is bright and colourful and the island sets look amazing. I loved the locations and the landscapes, I just wish it had been explored a little more.

There was a lot of good action, the special effects were excellent (but from Ray Harryhausen what more can you expect?) and it was just a fun, straight-up adventure story that had a bit of a mystery to it as well. I’d like to have seen more of the island and I’d like to have seen more creatures, but those factors don’t harm my enjoyment of the film. The dialogue had a bit of spark to it and the narration had a suitable amount of gravitas and drama. There were a few meditations on the nature of war and peace and morality as well, overall it’s a pretty fun film.   

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