Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea is a movie that already sounds pretty promising from the jump but the execution is even better. It definitely surpassed my expectations and made for a great film all the way around. The cast is really solid and the film manages to tackle a whole lot about how everyone starts to go crazy without being too extreme about it. If you ask me the film absolutely nailed the tone and atmosphere that you would expect from this kind of title.
The movie starts off with Harriman showing around a congressman and Dr. Susan the submarine that he and his team work in. The congressman throws a lot of snide remarks the whole time but admiral Harriman parries and counters them all with ease. Eventually they get that guy to leave and continue with their mission. Unfortunately it has to be aborted when ice chunks start falling everywhere and the heroes return to the surface to find out that the sky is on fire. Harriman meets with the government and it seems that the world is about to end. There are only two plans to stop this. One is to travel over a week’s journey to a specific point on the planet where they can fire a missile off to release the heat and save the planet. The opposition believes this is what would doom the planet and instead we need to wait it out as this is just a temporary planet condition. The problem is that there is no way to test both theories. You either fire off the missile at the precise time where everything is aligned or you don’t. Many of the world’s foremost scientist recommend not firing the missile while Harriman’s friend the ultimate genius says to do it. Harriman trusts him and so they go forward with the mission. As the world melts around them, members of the crew wonder if they are on the right side.
One of the most impressive things about the movie is that it is able to balance both sides of the argument without making one side look crazy or suddenly turn comically evil. In a lesser move you can bet that Harriman would have been portrayed as being completely insane. They would not have been able to resist the temptation to do this, trust me on that one. Instead in this film he makes a lot of unpopular decisions and you have to wonder if he is going off the deep end but the film keeps it ambiguous. Much like the members of the crew on the ship you have to decide if you are on his side or not.
For the record I am definitely on his side to fire the rocket. Deciding to just sit back and wait for the inevitable is never a good idea. Why would this fire eclipse suddenly stop? Sure some experts say it would but I’d rather take my chances for better or worse than to just give up. As for Harriman’s controversial calls that the team took offense with, lets break them all down. The first was to dive while people were still on deck trying to get onto the ship. This one’s obvious, he had to dive because otherwise they would have been infiltrated and the mission would have been stopped right then and there.
Yes, it was a ruthless call but there are times where you have to stand in the driver’s seat and make that call or else all is lost. Then you have him turning off the comms so people on the ship couldn’t hear about what was going on around the world. This one’s definitely a bit trickier and I would say he should have kept it on. Sure the news was disheartening but shutting it off would just make people more paranoid. You shouldn’t try to control the news that the crew is hearing. Then later on he strikes a member of the crew and of course there is no defending that one. No matter how annoying the crew member was being you should never resort to violence like that.
So Harriman was right on some accounts and wrong on others. He certainly wasn’t perfect and the film wasn’t trying to portray him as such. So it works out well and considering the stress on everyone at the moment, it’s not as if he was immune to it. It makes sense that he would also be feeling its effects and having a rough time of it. Meanwhile Captain Lee was one of the main people opposing Harriman. I give him credit for doing it to Harriman’s face unlike other members who were always scheming in the background. They had a lot of differences of opinion but I have to say that I was rarely on Lee’s side at all here.
They have another debate over splitting the crew and considering what had been going on at the time with a sabotage attempt and a near murder it makes sense to try and filter those people out. It may be breaking standard procedure but there was nothing standard about this situation. That’s why for me it just made a lot of sense. Lee also got a little too emotional at times which is why I don’t think he’s quite ready for the admiral role yet. He needs to take more time to calm down and look at things logically.
Then there is Miguel who is one of those religious fanatics who seems more interested in talking a lot than actually trying to help out. He has his moments sure but his speech to the troops about just giving up wasn’t particularly inspiring. There’s a big difference between feeling safe in your faith since death isn’t the end and just letting it swallow you whole. He really was spreading a lot of defeatism within the camp so you can see why Lee was mad at the guy.
The longer the film went on, the more everyone started to crack but it never got to a Lord of the Flies level where everyone just turned into mass murderers. Everyone here mostly stayed within reason. You had some blows thrown, insults hurled, etc. At the end of the day these were all still grownups who could reason and think for themselves. That’s exactly what you wanted to see here. The writing is also excellent as I mentioned earlier. The script is on point with every character making well reasoned arguments too. The story keeps you engaged and they really packed a whole lot into the run time here. The movie felt long but in a good way as it kept adding in new elements and expanding the story so you felt like they got every drop out of this premise. Nothing was held back.
Overall, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea is a great movie. It’s really a timeless flick that has a lot of replay value. I would highly recommend checking it out. It’s a very mature movie with a lot of characters trying to handle their disagreements like civilized people while also keeping in a good amount of humor and fun as needed. There are more than a few moments that will make you smile here and they never break the tension of what’s going on above ground. We even get some action scenes here with a force that disagrees with the main characters. Yes this is a movie that really hit all the right buttons and there’s even a mystery plot that factors into the equation later on so that’s another fun plot to sink your teeth into.