'A Journey to the Centre of the Earth', written by Jules Verne, was first published in 1864. Jules Verne was a pioneer of the science fiction genre, he and H.G. Wells (Creator of War of the Worlds) are considered the 'Fathers of Science Fiction'. Verne was French, studying in Paris and living throughout France for all his life. His books are the second most translated, after those of Agatha Christie, which is no surprise as his works include 'Around the World in 80 Days' and 'Twenty-Thousand Leagues under the Sea.' Throughout his works, Verne has predicted the inventionof the submarine, the helicopter, projectors and jukeboxes, this is one of the reasons he is considered a genius, both in fiction and science.
I read the book in the first week of the project to assure I could get as much out of my design concepts as possible. I really enjoyed it, for several reasons. Firstly, the way it was written I thought was very easy and enjoyable to read, the story is told in the way of a diary, almost like a mountaineer climbing Everest. The professors Nephew keeps a log of their adventure, which is what the author is having you read. The details that are given also make the story seem almost non-fictional with the correct measurements of atmosphere, dates and progress. Secondly, the story is bold, exciting and also fast-paced. The enviroments change as quickly as the professor's temper, from the city of Hamburg to the Icelandic plains all the way to the huge sea inside the earth.
The character of the professor helps push the story along very quickly, as he is incredibly intelligent and doesn't take long to plan the next route or work out the next step. I did think it was quite a short book, the version I bought only had about 250 pages, and I would of liked there to be more description and detail, but nethertheless I really enjoyed it, and I think I'm lucky to have been given it for this project.
There have been quite a few adaptations of the book for television and film. The most notable is the 1959 film of the same name. Directed by Henry Levin , this was an American production, starring James Mason (Who also was in the adaptation of 20,000 leagues under the sea, playing Captain Nemo) and Pat Boone. The film was received very well and was regarded highly for its use of special effects,it was nominated for three academy awards including Set-Direction, Best Effects and Best Sound.
The next notable adaptation is the 2008 film of the same name,which in comparison to the last, is bloody awful. Directed by Eric Brevig, who before this film had only directed a couple of episodes of 'Xena: Warrior Princess' it starred Brendan Fraiser (The Mummy) and Anita Briem, an unknown Icelandic actress who has since been in 'Doctor Who'. This adaptation followed a similar plot to the book, however the main character was an American who takes his nephew (whos father journeyed into the earth and died) on a irresponsible trip into dinosaur infested lava pits in the centre of the earth, which was reached quite leisurely through a cave within a day. This was a very hollywood version of the original, even creating the gimmick of allowing to watch it in 3D in cinemas. It did however sell well,and the almost-confirmed sequel set in Atlantis keeps me dreading those trailers before worth-while films.
I've seen both of these adapatations, and neither justify the story or description of the book's enviroments. Though I must say, I'd rather watch the 1950's version twice over than the modern action-adventure sponge.