When Disney’s “20,000 Leagues Beneath The Sea” came out in 1954, it was something of a watershed, if you’ll pardon the unavoidable pun. It was a huge hit for the studio, it was arguably the first genre effects picture to be an unquestioned success with mass audiences, and of course it whetted people’s appetites for Victorian SF on the big screen, and SF in general. Had “Leagues” not been made and successfully marketed, you would not have had a zillion other Verne stories made in to lesser films like this one. Nor would you have had things by HG Wells and others from the era up on the big screen.
This movie sets the bar high. With a comparatively big budget, a good enough cast, and the rights to the sequel to a story that had already been a hit movie, they aimed to re-capture the magic of the flick that started it all.
And they miss by a mile, sadly.