Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Iron & Steel. Art of the Industrial Revolution
53 years ago, Walt Disney Productions released their full length motion picture adaptation of Jules Verne's classic, 20,000 Leagues under the Sea. I wasn't around to see the film when it was first released however I had seen it when I was a kid. About a year ago, I saw the newly digitally remastered version on a Best Buy shelf so I picked it up. I remember liking the film as a whee lad and figured it would be a good flick to add to my collection. When I got home I popped it into my dvd player and watched it. I was shocked at how vibrant the colors were and how detailed the set pieces were. I had forgotten how amazing the Nautilus interiors looked. There were details that I had never seen before especially when viewing the film on a tv. I believe the movie was filmed in 72mm which means there are beautifully composed panoramic scenes that one can only appreciate if you watch the letterbox version. Now the special effects are a bit dated compared to any major film or decently funded tv show nowadays, but the craftsmanship of the Nautilus still impresses me. The ship is piece of artwork from the apex of the industrial revolution. A sea monster made of iron and steel with an interior of velvet, brass and oak. The interior of the ship overflows with late 1800's decadence. The ships heart beats with an intense energy source that at the time made reference to nuclear power. Although I know the Nautilus is just a movie prop, I recently took a ride on an old steam locomotive constructed in the mid 1800's. The shear size and mass of this train reminded me of a iron dinosaur. I would not call this thing an iron horse, it was 4 times taller. While this train rested idly on it's tracks, you could hear loud and clear the churning of the massive pistons. It sounded like a very low, powerful, prehistoric heartbeat. This massive work of art could have only been created in the hottest of foundries and been built with raw determination and will. The Nautilus blue prints I found online represent three appreciations of mine. The imagination and craftsmanship of the Disney imagineers, the forward thinking and adventures of Jules Verne and the awe inspiring testament to human ingenuity. In this day and age everything feels like it has become disposable digital, downloaded and stored as ones and zeros. Just a movie prop, like the Nautilus.