20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Customer Reviews

551 Ratings

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2 out of 5 stars
By Tad Davis on 09-02-08

Lousy translation

(It should be noted, to begin with, that the narrator of this version is Frederick Davidson, NOT Alfred Molina.) It's not Frederick Davidson's fault, but the translation chosen here is the worst of many Victorian hatchet jobs that were done on Verne's prose. For example, in the second chapter, the narrator speaks of returning "from the disagreeable territory of Nebraska." What Verne really said was "from the Badlands of Nebraska." About 25% of the original novel is missing in this translation, sometimes suppressing Verne's politics; Verne's careful calculations are recalculated in slapdash fashion; and mistranslations abound. (In one chapter Captain Nemo refers to a small island which he "would have jumped over" if he could. In Verne's original, he says which he "would have blown up" if he could.) You will get a LITTLE something of Verne in this, and it may remain an entertaining story, but it's not the real thing. Unfortunately, all other unabridged recordings I'm aware of use the same translation.

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73 of 75 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By Captain Wafer on 07-03-15

A superb performance of this classic story

What did you like best about 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea? What did you like least?

This is a visionary science fiction story - Verne's ability to imagine what could be done with an up-and-coming technology like electricity is brilliant. And I really like how he weaves that ultra-modern (at the time) technology into the old classic tale of the sea.
As for what I liked least, read on to the next question...

What was most disappointing about Jules Verne’s story?

The most disappointing part of this story is...the story. The vast majority of the story - excepting the first few chapters and the last few chapters - is completely bereft of a plot. It is one endless travelogue, listing the sights and wonders they see around the world. And that frequently descends into such tediously pedantic lists of plants and animals that I just want to yell "get on with it!"
Oh...and the other disappointing part is the characters. All of the characters in the story are cardboard cut-outs with no depth or humanity. Captain Nemo is the inscrutable loner. Arronax is the man of science. Conseil is his devoted servant. But none of them are anything more...interesting.
With no interesting characters, and little plot, to drive the story, I frequently found it dragging.

Which scene was your favorite?

My favorite part of the book is the beginning chapters, as Prof. Arronax speculates as to the nature of the creature that has been sighted, and then the chase aboard the Abraham Lincoln.

Do you think 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

Certainly not. This book is a work of its time; it would not make sense to try to follow it up.

Any additional comments?

I purchased this audiobook because of the narrator, David Chase. He did not disappoint. His reading brought life to this book - even to some of the tedious lists of the types of fish and plants they saw on their journey. It is an excellent narration.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By hillarie on 05-30-16

The best book ever

this was one of my favorite books of all time it was amazing I loved it.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Happy2b on 05-22-15

Good story, well worth it.

Finished it in just three days fantastic book. The voices are interesting and of course it's an incredible story

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

2 out of 5 stars
By Judy Stone on 09-22-12

An oldie but not a goodie.

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

The story is extremely tedious. I guess I remembered some action in it, but no. If you are an oceanographer, plant or animal biologist it may be interesting.

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3 of 4 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By Helmut on 07-12-18

Not a fan of the Narrator

While not the most riveting content to begin with, I had a very difficult time with the narrator and, ultimately, this became my 'go to sleep' book. The narrators voice initially seemed to be a good fit. He could do the accents and keep the various male voices distinct. But, as I got further along, I realized that every sentence (or phrase) was one of two or three patterns of intonation. And it seemed like every other sentence ended on the up, as if asking a question. It got very monotonous. I think I would have actually enjoyed this book, even the exhaustive descriptions of every single organism ever to inhabit the ocean, if there had been a more dynamic reading.

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