In February 2012, two films were released purporting to be adaptations of Jules Verne’s 1874 novel, The Mysterious Island. One was the major motion picture, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island. It had little to do with the book other than to suggest an actual island inspired Verne’s story. On Saturday February 11, the SyFy Channel aired Jules Verne’s Mysterious Island which took another tact completely. However, what the two films share is a large dose of science fiction in their scripts, something that wasn’t in the original book.
Clearly influenced by Robinson Crusoe and Swiss Family Robinson, Verne’s story opened with five Union soldiers escaping from a Confederate prison camp in Richmond. They stole a Rebel hot air balloon and floated for several days until they crashed on a deserted island in the South Pacific. Marooned, the castaways began building a settlement and battle both the elements and pirates. Along the way, someone or something was aiding them. This turned out to be a dying Captain Nemo, the protagonist in Verne’s earlier 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. After he tells the men his story, he is buried in his submarine, the Nautilus, and a passing ship rescues the soldiers.
Much of this plot is retained in Cameron Larson’s 2012 TV movie script. This time, the soldiers include Emmy Award-winner Pruitt Taylor Vince (The Walking Dead, JFK,Constantine) and Lochlyn Munro (Dead Man on Campus, White Chicks. However, the company doesn’t end up in the South Pacific. Instead, they travel in space and time to an island stuck inside the Bermuda Triangle. They learn this after meeting two women from the 21st Century, Abby and Jules Fogg, played by Susie Arbromeit (Battle: Los Angeles) and Gina Holden (Alien vs. Predator). (The names were clearly homage’s to both author Jules Verne and Phileas Fogg from the 1873 Verne travel adventure, Around the World in 80 Days). The soldiers learn the North won the Civil War, that the “flying locomotives” they see littered around the island are called airplanes, and that strange monsters torment them at night.