Jule's Verne's Journey to the Centre of the Earth
As anyone who follows my errant scribbling will know I love 1950’s science-fiction films. Be they invasion narratives such as Earth vs. The Flying Saucers (1956), giant bug films such as Them! (1954) or Tarantula (1955) or displaced prehistoric monsters such as The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953). The charm of these low budget films lie in their relationship to the creation of visual and special effects, and in their hysterical attitudes to politics, authority, and scientific endeavour. The special effects are not seamless and always betray the fact they have been created by human beings. I think this essential humanity, the fact that we can see on screen the culmination of an artistic process (be it convincing or otherwise) is one of the most endearing aspects. Although modern day CGI is programmed and created by human beings, it lacks the sense of warmth and humanity that is all part of the cinematic process. I find that CGI is a barrier to me completely suspending my belief and stepping fully into whatever fictional universe has been created. In this regard I believe modern day special effects have actually suffered something of a regression. One of the most enjoyable and convincing is 20th Century Fox’s 1959 production of Jules Verne’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth. A film which draws one effortlessly into the fabric of its narrative in a way which trash like Avatar (2009) simply does not.
© Shaun Anderson - 2010