I saw a "behind the scenes" clip for this movie on Entertainment Tonight years ago and thought, "Cool, that looks alright, I'll have to see that when it comes out."
Nearly 20 years later, I've just watched the James Mason version & thought, "Whatever happened to that 80s version?" Now I know. I feel sorry for the original director. Having your film hijacked and desecrated by clueless suits would truly suck.
It is a great shame that the original version has still to this date gone unreleased. I hope Rusty Lemorande finds the time to complete the real 'Journey...'. At the time Cannon ran into financial difficulties and were unable to fund the special effects shots that needed to be inserted into the final edit. What is so frustrating is that the eventual 1989 release pieces together bits and pieces of what could have been in splapdash dream sequences. And even MGM who released the movie on DVD used production stills from the unreleased version! They even placed the underground race (who our heroes encounter in the original screenplay) on the cover art!