Published in 1864, Jules Verne began his journey into becoming the Father of Science Fiction with this science-adventure classic theorising a subterranean, prehistoric world existing deep under the earth's surface (and potentially within the human psyche). How Ol' Matty thinks this will help him out of the catacombs, Zeus freakin' knows.
In a severely over-budgeted and tragically lost filmed sequence, Ol' Matty slew Breaderick the demon, who turned out to be a lousy side-kick, friend and understandable co-host. Our hero now follows the advice of Jules Verne's subterranean adventurers, delving deep into the earth, the courage of humanity, and his own snickers bar food reserves in an attempt to finally escape the catacombs. I keep telling him Snickers weren't a good food ration for his journey (other than his delicious word sandwiches), but he keeps bringing up that they're full of nuts. Well, so is he.
His spirit has somewhat returned since slaying Breaderick. It was brutal. I wish you could have seen it. I think at one point Ol' Matty literally consumed all of the souls Breaderick himself had harvested. I guess that makes Ol' Matty a demon as well as undead, but who's counting? Me. I'm counting. The idiot is going to become a God with his lunacy, while me, with my stupid sane and responsible decisions, shall die a sane mortal, and he'll be all like, "The key is just enjoying yourself" as he ascends to Valhalla and Olympus at ONCE.
Despite losing oxygen and a lot of bread, Ol' Matty explores every layer beneath Verne's earth's crust. He always was one to eat the whole pizza. With neither Hemingway or Plath to guide him, Ol' Matty returns to the glamorous whimsy of French literature of his youth, and using a variety of sources, spelunks through bread (Background), meat/meat-substitute (Story), cheese (Characters), sauce (Themes) and seasoning (final thoughts/feelings). It's not easy to make a sandwich out of a story that takes place 20,000 feet below the earth's surface, but by gum my boy did it.
A Journey to the Centre of the Earth is the second of Jules Verne’s “voyages extraordinaires,” a vast project entailing nearly a score of novels about adventures on, beneath, and above the earth and seas. By combining diligent research into scientific fact and hypothesis with his natural bent as a storyteller, he moulded a popular form of narrative which appealed to his nineteenth century audience’s appetite for tales of wonder.
Keeping with the theme, somehow, of The Bell Jar and The Snows of Kilimanjaro, the story is yet another journey through the darkest layers of the human psyche and back, as well as a ripping story of adventure. Yes, Ol' Matty, I know you wanted more swords. Science was their sword, sir! ...no, you're lame.
Love stories? Love hearing about the tales of old with Ol' Matty but want to know them yourself? Want to join the Book Club Sandwich but don't have the time or desire to sit down and read? Well, you dolt, check out Audible, where you can drive to your destination and faraway lands all at once. P.S. Audible, please sponsor me.
I read this story twice, once with that tiny narrator in my mind, the second on Audible listening to Tim Curry's superb read through. I must say, my Quixotes, that I think Jules Verne himself would be proud of this somehow at once fresh, faithful and buoyant revival of his story, and would laude the use of technology to listen - so by no means feel unfaithful or less legitimate by taking in the story with Audible's production of Journey to the Centre of the Earth, read by Tim Curry in a way that makes every layer of Verne's first iconic world bloom into life.
The 2008 adaptation of Journey to the Centre of the Earth I will confess got me through purely on the shoulders of the mighty Brendan Fraser, however I did very much enjoy the concept of Vernians, a secret society that function on the premise that Jules Verne's works were non-fiction. Like the rest of the world, the 4D gimmick I found pretty lacklustre alas. The 1959 adaptation did its best but hasn't aged well, but if you really don't want to read I would say is the better bet, being labelled, "a silly but fun movie with everything you'd want from a sci-fi blockbuster – heroic characters, menacing villains, monsters, big sets and special effects," which ain't half bad at all and can scratch a mighty grand itch.
Until next time, my Quixotes! Tuesday week Ol' Matty might just find his way out into the land where "The Sun Also Rises", returning to the land of the living and his more beloved land of Ernest Hemingway, celebrating with nothing less than a Fiesta.
Ol' Matty doesn't have a literature degree, but he does read a lot:
For wanting to look more into the bulk of this analysis, refer to:
David Niven's The Moon is a Balloon
Sauce, Cheese and meat: