"Mysterious Island (1961/Blu-ray/Twilight Time)" Review

Synopsis: The film centers around Union soldiers escaping in a gas balloon from a Confederate prison camp during the American Civil War. They end up crashing in the ocean, only to find themselves washed up on an unknown island where gigantic animals abound. It would later be revealed that the animals were the result of experiments by the presumed-dead Captain Nemo. He has been an unknown benefactor to the castaways as they struggled to survive on the island. The island's volcano threatens to erupt. After a skirmish with pirates, the stranded group manages to escape from the island on the pirates' ship as the volcano destroys the island.

 Review: Finally after waiting Mysterious Island is on blu-ray and looking better than it ever has on any home format! There was a hand full of films that when I was younger always seemed to capture my imagination and enthrall me in wonder and Mysterious Island was one of those few. Like many others what made this film so cool to me at a young age was of course the giant animals that the survivors had to fend off, the octopus was my favorite. Now as I got older I was able to appreciate the rest of them film much more from a more mature view, don't get me wrong I still love the giant animals. Just a little piece of knowledge, the crab they used in the film was a real crab that had died and Harryhausen had turned into a stop motion puppet!

I could always tell that they of course were not really fighting the animals which of course opened my imagination to how they did the special effects. Watching Mysterious Island in HD really shows the layers between the animals and humans which could turn off some viewers, but ones like myself it will not bother and do the opposite. Now there has been pleantly of other versions of this story made into films as well, but none of them will ever live up to the 1961 version due the charm it has. Now as far as the plot goes it's not simplistic but not overly complex so weather you are young or old I think you will still be able to enjoy it. The characters are likable and work well off one another even when they don't get along or agree. Now the cast is not very big but that really does help the viewer get to know the characters involved and make it easier to follow. My personal favorite character besides Captain Nemo (Herbert Lom) was Gideon Spilitt (Gary Merrill) who is a very fun character who makes wise cracks and a bit of humor to the film which was needed amongst a cast of a little more serious characters.
 Now as far as the aspect ratio goes the original ratio was 1.85:1 and it was that same ratio on the DVD release but has been done into a 1.66:1 ratio for this release which is very similar to the Jason and the Argonauts blu-ray release. The grain is still very much intact and is quite visible throughout the film. There are a few spots where it does get quite grainy which is mainly when they have special effects on screen.It also seems like they used the same source for this release as they did for the DVD, but more cleaned up and in a different ratio of course. As far as the audio goes you get a choice between the original DTS-HD Master Audio Mono or an English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio  which both are great but for someone like myself I prefer the original mono soundtrack. For what they had to work with Twilight Time has done an awesome job with this release of Mysterious Island and makes me want to see what else they will have to offer in the future!
Overall this is a great release of Mysterious Island and should please any fan of this film! Also I must add that if you are wanting this release I suggest you pick it up asap because it's limited to only 3,000 copies which means they will be gone in no time!

-Daniel "Damnation" Lee

Director: Cy Endfield
Genre: Action/Adventure/Fantasy
Blu-Ray Release Year: 2011
Theatrical Release Year: 1961
Time Length: 100 mins.
Company: Twilight Time
Website: www.screenarchives.com 
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