Reviewing classics is hard. There is barely anything new to add to the pool of numerous critiques. It’s also hard to say something negative without raising brows. It’s a classic, so it’s supposed to be ingenious, right? However, after reading Twenty Thousand Leagues I am left with mixed feelings. On one hand the adventures of Capitan Nemo are fascinating: walking on the bottom of the ocean, finding long lost treasures, witnessing great wonders hidden under miles of water. On the other hand there is Jules Verne’s habit of cataloguing every single fish, seaweed, and sponge out there that takes up pages and is present in every chapter. Do we really need to know every little detail that Professor Aronnax sees outside his window when none of it has to do anything with the plot? I am not a marine biologist and do not need to know every sea creature’s Latin name. I found these lists very distracting and hard to follow. I was also looking forward to the infamous battle with a giant squid, but was rather disappointed by the lack of impact the scene left on me. I expected something like a final showdown between two lifelong enemies or something. But that’s just me ranting.
I noticed a few moments of situational comedy that left me chuckling and thinking, hey this century-old humour ain’t all that bad! And I also enjoyed the unusual way in which Jules Verne decided to say goodbye to Capitan Nemo. Nautilus’s last moments turned out exceptionally dramatic and mysterious. Overall, I think if you skip the repetative biology lessons you would definitely enjoy Twenty Thousand Leagues. [Buy]