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November Movie of the Month

This month we give thanks for the stories of Jules Verne.  One of the grandfathers of science-fiction, Verne’s stories have fascinated audiences for generations.  Countless authors have been inspired by Verne’s tales of adventures – but really, what famous author hasn’t inspired other authors?  What makes Verne different is that he’s also inspired generations of scientists, explorers, and inventors.

Submarines didn’t exist when Verne wrote 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and solar sails and lunar module spacecraft weren’t invented before he published From the Earth to the Moon.  Skywriting, television news, tazers, Jurassic Park, Skype… all Verne – along with countless other ideas.

As one of France’s most celebrated authors, we can enjoy Verne for his science and his fiction – his action and his adventure – and his mystery and fact.

There are quite a few Verne movies to choose from, so have some fun on your own Vernian adventure!

  • 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was one of the most popular live-action Disney movies of the 1950s.  So much so that for decades there was a Captain Nemo ride at Disneyworld.  Yup, that’s right – even Nemo from some other Disney movie was named after the famous crazy captain in Verne’s adventure.  20,000 Leagues is the story of a man who hates what humanity has become so much that he invents a giant submarine and sets out to start a new civilization under the sea.  Of course, he’s crazy and kidnaps a few innocent people, fights a giant squid, and has some serious anger issues – so it’s a fun story.
  • Around the World in 80 Days is the story of a bet that gets a bit out of hand.  Phileas Fogg is a young rich gentleman who can get quite boastful.  At a gathering, some other rich guys bet him he can’t travel all the way around the world (this is the days before planes) in less than 80 days.  He takes them up on the bet, and with the aid of his hilarious servant, he sets out on the adventure of a lifetime.  Of course, the bet is made more difficult when the men send someone after Fogg to make sure he doesn’t make it back on time.  There is an older version of this story starring David Niven that is also great, but I thought you guys might like the modern version better.
  • Journey to the Center of the Earth is another adventure story.  This time a college professor discovers a tube in Iceland that leads all the way to the Earth’s center – which isn’t the ball of magma we’ve been led to believe it was (okay, so sometimes Verne got the science wrong, but it’s still a great movie.
  • Of course, there have also been some more modern versions of Verne’s works in recent years.  The new Verne stories add another layer to the adventure by showing Josh Hutcherson (from The Hunger Games) as a big fan of Jules Verne’s work, going on adventures to find that the stories are based in truth.  Journey to the Center of the Earth and Journey 2: The Mysterious Island are both really fun movies and will give you a taste of Verne’s work.
  • If you’d prefer, watch some documentaries and/or YouTube videos about the French Revolution, the time period the story was set in, the people involved, or anything else related to this topic.

To participate in the November Movie of the Month conversation, use the comments section below to add your thoughts to the discussion.  Make sure you do the following things:

  1. Start off by telling the group which movie you watched.
  2. Tell us what you thought of the movie, and why.
  3. Most importantly, tell us what you learned that you think will help you be better prepared for our trip to France.

Then, come back often to share ideas, ask questions, or gain insight from your fellow travelers.

Don’t forget, Scotty Thompson is hosting a TAP movie night in a few weeks where he’ll be showing one of these wonderful Verne films.

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. Jasmin Zielinski permalink
    November 15, 2015 10:39 am

    I watched Journey 2: the Mysterious Island for my November movie of the month. I thought the movie was very interesting and appealing. There was always some unexpected turn that forced the characters to change their plan to get off the island. The movie was never boring and had many cool action-packed scenes. Everything is extraordinary, creative, and odd on the island. This shows me that Jules Verne was a very interesting man and an amazing author. I know there are more people in the world with that gift, and I believe we can find them on our trip. We would be so lucky as to find someone like that, as that would better our experience, by giving us more of an understanding of Verne and other authors like him.

  2. Jared Weis permalink
    December 4, 2015 8:45 pm

    I went to Thompson’s movie night to watch Journey 2: The Mysterious Island. The movie to me was amazing. The world around the characters felt like an actual place that somehow feels familiar.The most memorable part to me though was moment when Alexander shows up and bashes the giant iguana’s head in with the traps. The characters however, besides Alexander, because he’s just that awesome, are very bland to me. Each character had a set way of doing things, trying to make a plan or figure out how to mount a giant bee (Alexander on the other hand just goes with his gut). I feel as if this movie has taught me how the French author’s thought of things like fantasy and adventure. This will better help me understand why people love the books that were mentioned in the story.

  3. December 12, 2015 12:49 pm

    I watched Journey 2: Mysterious Island. The movie was really good. It really talked about what happened with Jules Verne really good books. Me, I agree with Jared Weis that it made it sound like a real place. hat I like was when they had to escape the island with Nemo’s sub Most character except for Alex were very normal in a movie. Each character had a different way of doing things. Like one wanted to leave and another wanted to find his grandpa. The characters were all different which I like from a story or a movie. This will really make me know why people really love his work.

  4. Hannah Jackson permalink
    December 29, 2015 11:50 am

    I watched the modern version of Journey to the Center of the Earth with Josh Hutcherson. I liked the movie, it had a lot of adventure and suspense. I liked the familiar actors and the modern take on Verne’s story. It was cool to see the characters experience what happened in the book as they took an unexpected journey to the center of the Earth. I liked seeing what Verne visualized to be in the center of the Earth. Verne is very creative for coming up with a plot like in Journey to the Center of the Earth. The movie was exciting with challenges coming at the characters throughout the movie. The movie illustrated how much of an impact Verne’s’ work has on his readers. In the movie his book Journey to the Center of the Earth inspired the characters (including a scientist) to find the center of the Earth to see if the book was real, which in the movie it was. The characters found themselves on the same path as Verne’s character in his book. Watching this movie helped to show me the impact this author had on his country and the world. It was great to watch work inspired by one of France’s most popular authors. We will be visiting the land in which he worked and was inspired, and that’s amazing. Also, before our trip it’s great to know classic stories originated from French authors. This movie also inspired me to be adventurous, which will be key during our travels.

  5. Cayla Werling permalink
    January 6, 2016 10:23 am

    I watched both Journey to the Center of the Earth and Journey 2. I thought the movie was great! The actors did a very good job with their roles and made the characters from the book come to life. For one of my book reports I read Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne. Yes the movie is always different than the book, but they did a good job sticking to the book. This movie will help me be prepared for our trip to Europe because of many reasons. First it has taught me to be prepared for the unexpected. The characters encountered one thing unexpected after the other. A flight may be delayed or an activity may get cancelled last minute but we have to go with what happens and make the best of wherever we go, because at the end of the day it doesn’t matter about all of the different things we do. We will still be in Europe and that’s a trip of a lifetime. Secondly, it is always possible to be separated from your group-but if this happens, do your best to take care of yourself, while keeping a level head to reunite with your group.

  6. Paige Bjerke permalink
    January 14, 2016 10:26 am

    I watched 20,000 leagues under the sea. The movie itself was a good story but it would be better if the effects were better. It would add more suspense. I think it is hard to watch old movies sometimes because everything looks so fake. Captain Nemo seems a little crazy. At the beginning everyone heard about a sea monster, some people believed it and others didn’t. Some men went out to try to find and capture it for the museum. They eventually figure out that there is no monster and that Captain Nemo was the one causing the problems. He seemed to be part good and part bad. He wanted to learn about the sea but also attacked ships and captured the people that fell off the ship. The most interesting thing to me was how they got food. They would go out of the ship in a SCUBA suit. Seeing how people used to explore the ocean compared to how we can do it now was neat. I SCUBA and I can’t imagine wearing such heavy equipment and not being able to swim freely with the fish. Overall I don’t know if I followed everything correctly and don’t think I would recommend this movie to others.

  7. January 18, 2016 10:30 am

    I watched the original 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. I thought it was an interesting movie. Nemo had some interesting views on the world around him. His thoughts went a little deeper than I thought they would for a Disney movie. I liked the juxtaposition of the characters and the foils between the professor and Ned Land. They were presented with various conflicts throughout the story that the characters had different ways of dealing with. The movie was an apropos adaptation of Verne’s book. I however do not feel that the movie is going to prepare me in very many ways for the trip to Europe. It was just a movie version of a book. What I have taken away from the movie is how Verne viewed the world and what artistic (not just art) culture was at the time the book was written. The movie was enjoyable to watch, and it showed me some more of the cultural ideas that France has to offer.

  8. Scotty Thompson permalink
    February 14, 2016 12:26 pm

    Sorry it has taken me a while to comment. I hosted the November movie of the month with Journey 2 Mysterious Island that was based on the book by Jules Vern. It was a good movie but I talked with some other people and it seems like Hollywood did kind of a number on the actual book. Although it is all filled with adventure it had to be made more exciting for people these days. I like all the action and twists and turns that the movie has. I’m sure that Jules Vern had a wild imagination for things that can’t be explained. I’m sure the other books he wrote were just as exciting. I am glad that all of the people that could come were able to come. It was fun. Thanks to everyone for making it a success.

  9. Tommy Stadler permalink
    February 17, 2016 4:40 pm

    I watched the modern version of Around the World in 80 Days. I thought that this movie was pretty good. Having read the book by Jules Verne it was clear when the movie followed the book and when it did not. In the movie Phileas Fogg and his valet Lau Xing played by Jackie Chan travel around the world in under 80 days in order to win a wager. Along the
    way they encounter many events explained in the book and some new ones. These include Jackie Chan’s famous fight scenes and a side story revolving around his home town. Despite following the book in an ok fashion I do not feel that this movie really helped me to prepare for my trip. Since they were traveling around the world, only a fraction of the movie took place in France. While they were in France, there was an emphasis on the art there and they showcased some of France’s true beauty.

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