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Harryhausen's eighth feature contains all the elements that make his movies great, and the pacey script, based on the Jules Verne novel, has you gripped from the off. One of his more modern-feeling early films, the colour film stock, the exotic settings and wider stable of stars (black and English actors feature alongside a pre-Clouseau Herbert Lom) move it forward an era from his dated black-and-white schlock-fests. Gripping, erudite and easily on a par with the more well-known Sinbad and Argonauts movies, this is one to be marooned with.
On the DVD: Mysterious Island's colour picture is bright, clean and crisp in this anamorphic 1.85:1 widescreen transfer, and the Dolby digital mono soundtrack is clear enough. The theatrical trailer will please the kitsch fans, as will the featurette "This Is Dynamation" produced at the same time as the first Sinbad movie. The real corker here though is the generously lengthy documentary "The Harryhausen Chronicles". Narrated by Leonard Nimoy, it features a stellar cast of devotees (George Lucas among them) waxing lyrical about the influence of Harryhausen's films, and allows the man himself to ramble fascinatingly over clips of his filmic canon. If you're a fan, it's Harryhausen heaven. --Paul Eisinger