This is an enjoyable adventure film from Disney, but it doesn't really measure up 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea or Journey to the Center of the Earth.
I can't quite put my finger on why it fell short of my expectations when I got it from Netflix a few years ago, but I liked it well enough to buy the DVD.
It certainly has it moments, like the first "reveal" of the airship Hyperion when its lively little French inventor presents it to our stalwart "Professor Challenger" type scientists.
The dawn launch is beautiful, and it sets the right tone for an adventure which employs such a stately way to travel.
Along the way we get a scene which is both exciting and humorous, when the French airship designer has to do an inflight repair that requires the skills of a trapeze artist!
It's a funny moment in the movie.
When the explorers reach the North Pole, the majestic maneuvers among the icebergs treat us to some impressive special effects.
I love airships almost as much as submarines. Both cruise serenely through their own medium with no need for engines other than to propel them forward. Airplanes fight the air . . . and without engines, the air wins!
As the poster below suggests, this movie does something unfortunate to the wonderful airship. The magnificent machine which carries our heroes on a great adventure is eventually treated badly, and it isn't brought back in good condition. :roll:
This has often happened in other movies, and I always hate it. How many times have we seen the Enterprise destroyed over the years? Filmmakers don't seem to think that an appealing and imaginative vehicle deserves the same respect and tender lovin' care the lovely heroine of any story does!
The plot of this enjoyable movie seems to work harder and harder to get the audience excited, but somehow the excitement peaks early and levels off, never reaching the heights we hoped for.
Still, if you know not to expect too much, you'll enjoy it for what it is. Here's the trailer. (The picture quality is disappointing, I'm sorry to say.)
The Island at the Top of the World (trailer)