Filmed in black & white & "Mysti-Mation," The Fabulous World of Jules Verne (Vynalez zkazy, 1958) is part stop-motion animation & part live action.
The look of the film is derived from or designed to appear to be antique woodcut & lithographic engravings sprung to life from Victorian editions of Jules Verne novels. This affectation of appearance is alone enough to make the film thrilling, & it's fantastical content is all bonus.
This film is freely adapted by the Czech animator from select bits of three Jules Verne novels from the Extraordinary Voyages (Voyages Extraordinaires) series, & mainly from Facing the Flag (Face au drapeau, 1896).
We see numerous amazing flying machines & a submarine, extradordinary ships at sea.
Professor Roch (Arnost Navratil) & his assistant Simon (Lubor Tokos) are kidnapped from Roch's castle to the high seas.
Exquisit scenes of the submarine, inside & out, hold the eye's attention. We soon realize the captain of the submarine, Count Artigas (Mirosav Holub), wishes to rule the world with the professor's scientific knowledge.
Assisted by a pirate ship at the surface, Count Artagos "the last & most diabolical of the buccaneers" uses the tall-ship above, & the battering ram of his submarine, to sink vessels.
Then hardhat divers are sent forth to salvage the seabottom for wealth to be used for nefarioius experiments. His pirate island it a place of scientific advancement.
An underwater battle with a giant octopus is iconic, with many of the seabottom explorations, & the madman's island, rendered most beautifully.
The naive & duped professor was all too easily won over to vassalage to the Count, though his assistant has been trying to reach him & apprise him of the realities of the would-be totalitarian tyrant he is assisting.
Realizing at last what has been obvious from the start, the professor is horrified to know how wrongly used his inventions & super-explosives will be.
The professor sabotages the evil Count's plan with what amounts to an atomic explosion, after his assistant & the leading lady (Jana Zatloukalova) have made good their escape by balloon.
This film is a great accomplishment with retro art design reminiscent not only Victorian woodcut engravings, but additionally inspired by George Melies' art design for A Trip to the Moon (), & Zeman in turn influenced such filmmakers as Terry Gilliam, Jan Svankmajer, the brothers Quay, Jiri Trnka, & Tim Burton.
copyright © by Paghat the Ratgirl