The Czechoslovakia-filmed Fabulous World of Jules Verne is based on the 1896 Verne novel Face the Flag. The story concerns the machinations of evil millionaire Artigas (Miloslav Holub), who plans to use a super-explosive device to conquer the world.
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Méliès, of course!, but also an entire Cinema that inherited the soul of pure cinematic inventiveness, from "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" by Richard Fleischer to "Le Soulier de Satin" by Manoel de Oliveira. Although the rhythm of the narrative is somehow a bit loose, what matters is the astonishment at the formal achievement that puts in the same level of visibility the human and trickery, that is, body and spirit.
Zeman's masterpiece: gorgeous, elegant, unfailingly droll and even gripping!
This towers above the works of Svankmajer Gilliam, Burton, Maddin, the Brothers Quay and any number of the unique director's would-be pupils, despite its relative obscurity.
Among Zeman's many tributes to the cinema of fantasy that captivates equaly children and adults. This may lack the splendid color of Munchausen, yet it is extremely imaginative in the mode in which the story unfolds and in the uncanny fusion of technology (as content and form) with awe and wonder. Immensely enjoyable and a great tribute to the genius of Jules Verne!
Combinant merveilleusement les ancestrales techniques de la manipulation des poupées marionnettes, du dessin et des prises de vue réelles, sur des décors finement dessinés en hachures noires, le solide Karel Zeman nous livre une oeuvre étonnante et plutôt fort inclassable... www.cinefiches.com