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249 11 Biography or Pastiche, 2000–2003 Even as the canon of Jules Verne stories adapted for the screen diminished to retellings of Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Seas, Journey to the Center of the Earth, and Around the World in Eighty Days, Hollywood would build on the growing number of pastiches involving Verne’s literary characters. In Return to the Center of the Earth (1999), Rick Wakeman’s rock opera and album followed his similar musical treatment of the original novel a quarter-century earlier, but in a modern version that retained fidelity to the author’s conception of the journey .1 Sequels to Verne tales appeared in the 2005 anthology edited by Mike Ashley and Eric Brown, The Mammoth Book of New Jules Verne Adventures; Adam Roberts’s novel Splinter (2007) was a sequel to Hector Servadac.2 More innovative were the fictionalized treatments of Verne himself in the wake of the discovery and publication in 2001 of Mark Twain’s novelette A Murder, a Mystery, and a Marriage, written in 1876, in which Twain invoked Verne as a character to mock the 1870s vogue for all things Vernian. Twain’s views were already known in his day; Tom Sawyer Abroad (1894) had been a pastiche of Five Weeks in a Balloon and The Mysterious Island. For the centennial of Verne’s death in 2005, such novels as The Extraordinary Voyage of Jules Verne by Eric Brown and Flaming London by Joseph Lansdale, featuring Verne as a character, were published. Imaginary versions of Jules Verne the man offered the most filmic possibilities, and it was Disney theme park offerings that best realized the possibilities. Beginning in 1992, an attraction featured an Audio- 250 Hollywood Presents Jules Verne Animatronic “Timekeeper” who has overcome science’s last challenge, time travel. He sends his robot sidekick, 9-Eye (for the number of screens shown in 360-degree Circle-vision), on a journey through the ages. After pauses in prehistoric times and a glimpse of Leonardo da Vinci and Mozart, Timekeeper wants to view his heroes, Jules Verne and H. G. Wells, at the Paris Exposition of 1900. As the two men meet hurriedly, discussing their divergent approaches to writing, Verne (played by Michel Piccolini) emphasizes the possible and Wells (Jeremy Irons) the impossible. The Englishman must hasten away to give a speech, but Verne sights 9-Eye and grabs on. Taken on a trip through time, the white-bearded writer rides a high-speed train, causes a traffic jam at the Arc de Triomphe, drives a racing car, descends in a submarine, and rides in a helicopter, enjoying the sort of scenic views for which Circle-vision had previously been used in Disney travelogues . The adventure ends with Verne taking a space walk. Back at the exposition, Verne and Wells meet again, and in a glimpse of Paris in the times to come 9-Eye observes the writers flying together, for, as Verne exclaims as he waves good-bye, in the future anything is possible. Although purely imaginary (no such meeting between the two writers ever took place, but they did write and speak about one another), this glimpse of Verne associated with the wonders to come was absorbed by millions, especially children, far more than ever saw a more factual presentation. The title varied according to location and whether it was the film itself or the attraction: it was Le Visionarium and Un Voyage à travers le temps in France, Visionarium and ビジョナリア ム— in Tokyo, and The Timekeeper and From Time to Time in the United States. As directed by Jeff Blyth, this first Disney Circle-vision film in narrative form rather than travelogue reveals its shortcomings in that the story foregrounds an individual who can be on only one screen at a time in the theater, while the surroundings cover the horizon. The film was finally replaced with new attractions in the first decade of the twenty-first century , and although its closing marked the fading of Verne from Disney theme parks in America, the author continued to have a major presence in Paris and especially Tokyo. Lacking the imaginative success of the Disney presentation and even less related to Verne the author was The Secret Adventures of Jules Biography or Pastiche 251 Verne, an independent, Canadian-produced television series that lasted one season upon syndicated release in 2000. The potentially rewarding premise remained unfulfilled, with Verne (Chris Dematral) introduced as a young, aspiring writer and inventor in the 1860s (when...


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