Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"


Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Book Review

This book has been reviewed by Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Beginning in the year 1866, coastal communities around the world buzz with rumors of a sea monster. Sailors report seeing a large, fast-moving creature accompanied by a strange glow. Several ships, attempting to approach the creature, have been seriously damaged.

In 1867, renowned French naturalist professor Aronnax, who had been studying in America, publishes his theory on the monster. It could be an enormous narwhal, the horn of which could have caused the reported damage to the ships. Many people agree with his theory.

Just as Aronnax and his servant, Conseil, are preparing to leave New York to return to their home in France, Aronnax is invited to join the American vessel the Abraham Lincoln, whose crew plans to hunt down the narwhal. Aronnax, enticed by the thought of discovering the creature, cannot refuse. He and Conseil sail with the Abraham Lincoln to the Pacific Ocean, where the creature was last sighted. There, Aronnax befriends Ned Land, a Canadian harpooner.

After eight months, Ned Land spots the creature in Japanese waters. The Abraham Lincoln gives chase, but it can’t catch up to the creature. Ned’s harpoon hits the creature. The monster collides with the ship. Aronnax and Conseil are thrown overboard on impact. After a long night of swimming, the two find Ned Land, who was also thrown overboard. Ned had taken refuge from the waters on the creature—which turns out not to be a narwhal, but an iron ship. Eventually crewmembers find the three castaways on their ship and bring them inside. The crew speaks an odd language, and Aronnax and his friends are left in a dark room without explanations for some time.

After a few days, the three meet Captain Nemo, a reclusive genius, who built the submarine, The Nautilus, in order to live and explore, unbothered by human society. His crew is made up of others who also have chosen a life of seclusion. Nemo declares Aronnax and his friends are prisoners of war, since Ned tried to harpoon his ship. He won’t allow them to return to the world above, for fear of being discovered. However, he will allow them to live on The Nautilus, in comfort.

Ned Land is furious, but Aronnax and Conseil are fascinated. Nemo has a high respect for Aronnax. The two have many long conversations about how The Nautilus works.

Over several months, Aronnax learns more about the world’s oceans than he was ever been able to on land. The Nautilus is equipped with powerful electric lights — the glowing that sailors reported — and large windows that allow a perfect view outside. Nemo has constructed diving suits that allow people to take walks along the ocean floor. He uses these suits to make his living: He and his crew find sunken ships and take whatever treasures remain. He also has a collection of ocean finds, from shells to pearls, onboard that Aronnax declares more valuable than that of any museum in France. Nemo allows Aronnax to accompany him on many of these trips — including one to visit the lost city of Atlantis.

One day, Nemo demands that the prisoners return to the dark room where he first kept them. Aronnax suspects the ship is under attack. Nemo drugs their food so that they fall asleep after dinner. When the three wake up, all seems normal, except for one crewmember. Nemo asks Aronnax to inspect him. The crewmember suffers from a mortal head wound. Aronnax can do nothing for him, and he dies in the night. The next day, Nemo and the crew bury the man in a coral reef.

Ned Land longs to return home. He and Counseil, who share a room, plot to escape. Aronnax half-heartedly helps — he misses France, but he’s reluctant to leave The Nautilus, the only place he can truly study in peace. In spite of Ned’s hopes, Nemo never brings the ship close enough to land to allow them to escape. Ned Land grows more and more despondent.

Nemo charts a course to the South Pole, a region no man has seen. The Nautilus weaves its way through fields of ice, eventually having to go beneath icebergs in order to reach the very end of the world. The ship finally arrives at the South Pole. Because this is land no other man has trod, Nemo exits his ship to explore it, eventually claiming it as his own. As they continue their ocean journey, a falling piece of ice traps The Nautilus inside a submerged cavern in an iceberg. Unable to replenish their supply of air, the crew spends five days trying to escape, slowly suffocating. Toward the end, Aronnax nearly dies, but Conseil and Ned Land have saved some air from their diving suits, which they give to him. Finally, The Nautilus reaches the surface. Aronnax thanks his companions for saving his life.

A few days after, a group of giant squid descends upon the ship. A bloody battle ensues as the crew attempts to defend themselves. Although Nemo and his men eventually defeat the monsters, one of the crewmembers is carried away into the depths of the sea. Nemo is crushed, growing even more reclusive in his sorrow. Aronnax asks him, for Ned Land’s sake, if they could be allowed to return home. Nemo, angered, flatly refuses. Even so, The Nautilus begins to sail closer to land.

A large warship catches sight of The Nautilus floating on the surface and opens fire, even though Aronnax and his friends are on board. Aronnax realizes that when Ned Land struck The Nautilus with his harpoon so many months ago, the captain of the Abraham Lincoln must have heard the metal sound and told the world of the mysterious submarine vessel. Now the nations have teamed up to hunt a human enemy, not a narwhal. He also remembers the crewmember they buried in the coral, and realizes this is not the first time since he and his companions boarded The Nautilus that a warship has attacked them.

Nemo tells Aronnax and his companions to get below while he attempts to sink the warship. Aronnax pleads with Nemo to just submerge — The Nautilus could easily elude the warship’s guns — but Nemo refuses, blaming the enemy crew for the death of his own family. Once Aronnax sees Nemo’s hatred for the unknown men in the warship, he finally agrees to attempt to escape with Ned and Counseil. They plan to jump ship once The Nautilus gets closer to the warship, but they are trapped again when The Nautilus submerges. Nemo drives The Nautilus through the hull of the warship, sinking it and drowning the crew.

The whole crew, including Nemo, feels the horror of these events. Ned and Aronnax finalize plans of escape. The night they attempt it, however, The Nautilus floats into a mighty maelstrom near Norway. The lifeboat is torn from the vessel. Aronnax hits his head and is knocked out. When he wakes, he, Ned and Counseil have found shelter with a fisherman. As they wait for a boat that can take them to France, Aronnax calculates that they had traveled about 20,000 leagues with Captain Nemo. No one knows what happens to The Nautilus, or whether Nemo still lives. Aronnax hopes that if he lives, the wonders of the ocean will quell his vengeful spirit and he will die in peace.

Christian Beliefs

Nemo buries one of his crewmembers in a coral reef, using a cross-shaped coral as a tombstone. While in the Red Sea, Nemo and Aronnax discuss the Exodus story. Nemo admits that he’s never found remains of Egyptian chariots on the sea floor, but he theorizes that the place where it actually happened is too narrow and shallow for his ship to pass through to see. While passing through the icy plains and mountains of the South Pole, Ned Land says that God never intended for man to see the glittering sight — it is too beautiful. After his journey’s end, Aronnax quotes Ecclesiastes in saying that he and Captain Nemo know * that which is far off and exceeding deep * (Ecclesiastes 7:24, KJV).

Other Belief Systems

In studying marine life, Aronnax briefly mentions Darwin’s theory, but does not go into detail. Nemo and Aronnax find the lost city of Atlantis. When The Nautilus is floating near the African coast, Aronnax can see mosques on the shore. Nemo explains that sailors of old used to make sacrifices to their gods before crossing the dangerous Red Sea. Aronnax prays to the sun to appear so that Nemo can correctly calculate whether he’s made it to the South Pole.

Authority Roles

Conseil, and eventually Ned Land, refer to professor Aronnax as “master.” Although Conseil is just 10 years younger, Aronnax refers to him as “my boy.” As captain, Nemo has final say over everything that goes on in his ship.


On one of their ocean walks, Nemo and Ned Land battle a giant shark to save a fisherman. Nemo sends The Nautilus literally through a pod of sperm whales, tearing apart their bodies and turning the ocean red with their blood. Later, the Nautilus is beset by a group of giant squid. The crew attempts to fight them off, hacking off tentacles in a bloody fight. One of the crewmembers is carried off. God’s name is used in vain, but minimally.

Nemo uses his submarine to ram into ships. Crewmen from those ships die.



Discussion Topics

Get free discussion questions for this book and others, at FocusOnTheFamily.com/discuss-books.

Additional Comments/Notes

You can request a review of a title you can't find at reviewrequests@family.org.

Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. The inclusion of a book's review does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

Episode Reviews

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!