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Category:    Home > Reviews > Science Fiction > Action > Horror > Disaster > Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea: Global Warming Edition (1961) + Season Three, Volume One

Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea: Global Warming Edition (1961) + Season Three, Volume One


Picture: B-†††† Sound: B-†††† Extras: B-†††† Film: B/Episodes: B+



The 1960s represented a turbulent time where the sci-fi genre came of age. Shaped by a world seemingly on the brink of atomic armageddon, science became both a harbinger of life and death. This dichotomy is easily seen in Irwin Allen's wondrous Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, and by season three, all of the episodes aired in glorious DeLuxe color.Of course, this meant the viewer had an even better look at the many flaws in the show's wonky special effects, but it's the wonderful content of the episodes' plots that won the show its acclaim, not the "Captain Crunch Baking Soda Submersible" quality of the heroes' tricked-out atomic submarine, the Seaview.


Voyage began with the 1961 feature film starring a different cast from the television show, and featuring the talents of such luminaries as Walter Pidgeon, Barbara Eden, and Peter Lorre.It was the B-Movie goodness of this production that spawned the TV show, but the overall the film's weak plot does not measure up to the quality of its cast. It was only later, as the TV show wore on that Allen and his creative crew found their stride, stretching Voyage into nearly every corner of the science fiction genre.


Both movie and television show featured the exploits of an intrepid band of Naval researchers and their incredible atomic submarine, and in their travels the crew encountered all manner of strangeness ranging from menacing sentient rocks to atomic-powered werewolves. Producer Irwin Allen clearly wanted the show's stories to reflect the times, and so many of the episodes deal with the effects of radiation on the human body, or of menaces from distant lands (or planets) who threaten the freedoms and safety of the American people.


In the thick of The Cold War these themes rang true with audiences, and principal TV show cast members Richard Basehart and David Hedison do great work convincing the viewers to take these threats seriously. One of the funnier testaments to Basehart's great work on the show as Adm. Harriman Nelson is the love he inspires in Mystery Science Theater's taciturn robot, Gypsy, as she fairly cous his name in several hilarious skits peppered throughout the history of a show that both pays homage to and sends up classic sci-fi.


Voyage's legacy still resonates, its influences felt and seen in such shows as Star Trek. Powerful visuals like the flying sub and the crew's distinctively colored diving gear made a lasting impact of the genre. The Seaview's ostensibly peaceful research aims always seemed to bring it and the crew into conflict of one sort or another, and the crew's encounters with strange creatures and weird phenomena again and again cause one to draw parallels to Rodenberry's Trek. Although seasons two and three angered some fans who were fond of Season One's more mundane, intrigue-laden plots, Allen and his creative crew must have seen greater fan appeal and ratings value in moving the show fully into the realm of science fiction.


The TV Show boxed set containing three discs features episodes 59 - 71.Presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo and Mono, the sound is adequate on most normal sets but may be found lacking on higher-end units equipped with more sensitive speakers, while it can show sonic limits on home theater system as the past sets reviewed elsewhere on this site.The picture's 1.33:1 aspect ratio proves more than capable of meeting the task of showing Voyage's wacky special effects and Baseheart's many brow-furrowing monologues.


The Voyage feature film benefits from a Dolby Digital 4.0 mix representing the magnetic 4-Track Stereo form the 35mm release and an anamorphically enhanced 2.35:1 aspect ratio of its CinemaScope production, making it a better viewing experience than the TV episodes from its sister boxed set. The picture clarity is also sharper than the TV episodes, but on larger sets, it shows the limits of the two-lens CinemaScope process about to be succeeded by Panavision.


The extras on the 1961 film is rich and includes a Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo isolated music score track, full length audio commentary by author Tim Colliver, featurette Science Fiction: Fantasy to Reality, great Barbara Eden interview, Working with Irwin Allen piece, Storyboards and Sets, piece on Peter Lorre and Walter Pidgeon, piece on the Sets, Irwin Allenís Vision, Castmates, Escaping Reality, Original Props: Admiral Nelsonís Seaview Display Model, Mini-Sub Miniature, Torpedo Rack & Sea Mine, original theatrical trailer, Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea Comic Book, Collectables, Production Code documents and galleries on Production Art, Production Stills, Posters, Lobby Cards and Exhibitorís Campaign Manual.The Season Three set include interviews with star David Hedison (including an audio-only chat from 1966), galleries of publicity and episode shots (with a nifty look at the Voyage comic book), letters from admiring fans, and a few other tidbits. Though not plentiful or terribly creative in the TV setís case, what is included adds value to the overall package.For the feature film, more is good, but not necessarily better.


For more on the original film, read about its limited edition soundtrack at this link:





You can read about the previous season sets at these links:


Season One (2 volumes)



Season Two, V. 1



Season Two, V. 2




-†† Scott Pyle


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