Thursday, June 4, 2020

Fantasy Island

Well. That was a movie.

Fantasy Island is a fascinating beast, I really wasn't for it when I saw the trailers, not because of certain actors or how they take a 1970s TV show and add a sinister edge to it, I just didn't think too much about it. Full disclosure, I've only seen two episodes of the original show which takes a page out of Rod Serling's book, centered around a mysterious island and host that makes every person's dreams come true with a moral message in each anthology story. I'm a huge fan of The Twilight Zone and those types of stories so I really should sit down and watch the original show. But how's the movie? Complicated. It isn't hot garbage but it ain't good either. I can easily tell you Michael Pena and Maggie Q are the best characters and actors in the movie. Michael Pena I felt was a strange casting choice for the Ricardo Montalban role but he proved himself with his own story and one small scene with Maggie. Maggie Q is lovely as always and never once have I seen a bad performance from her, who has the most dramatic arc in the story and you really root for her until the end. Everyone else...they're there. We got skinny Joe, dude bro's, and bitchy McQueen, who's only real interesting bits occur when their fantasies actually overlap into one another causing a bit of plot intrigue but not much more. I'm not saying Blumhouse has made Shakespearian characters in the past, but they do good work to make them feel real and even a bit relatable but here it just falls flat. And that's the core problem of the movie, it focuses 99% of the runtime on these characters, and when the majority of them are just sort of there and don't have much to contribute you kinda just keep checking your watch. I'm gonna be a massive dick here but, these were the most basic bitch fantasies like ever. One guy wants to be a soldier so he can Call Of Duty it up, just...ugh. A girl wants to pretty much play Jigsaw and torture a elementary(?) or middle school(?) bully, but she honestly looks like she's still in high school and she just needs to get over herself real damn fast, I mean Christ woman. The bros want a big rocking party which, makes me want to swallow pills and drink heavily, I mean f***ing really that's your fantasy? You weak dipshits. And Maggie Q wants a do-over at a point in her life which starts out boring and cliche but gains a bit of interest near the movie's end. There's a twist and my God is it so uninteresting and just, what? I can't. I will say the location shooting in Fiji, though strangely limited considering they could make the island look any way they want, all you see is the resort, a bit of jungle, and a cave, but regardless looks nice. Even the messages the movie has is admirable, not well executed, but you know reaffirming that revenge is the most worthless of causes, and you can't focus on the mistakes of the past but strive for a better future is not bad stuff to say! I was shocked at the budget, shot only for 7 million dollars which is friggin' absurd to hear nowadays with so much inflated multi-hundred million dollar projects left, right, and center. I do hate how they de-mystified the island and explains how almost everything works, how the fantasies come true, why people are working at this resort on the island, the conditions of the fantasy and their limits, how Mr. Roarke our host got his position, I quite liked the sort of mystery aspect of the show. From what very brief, like 5 minutes reading Wikipedia articles kind of brief, research I did on the show it sounds so damn interesting, and I'd much rather have a unique theory of my own and never know if I'm wrong or right, even the creators and main star didn't know what the deal was with the island (insert Lost joke here), than you tell me everything when I didn't even ask. But I can commend the movie for at least drawing attention to an older show that not many people talk about and one I fully intend to dig into, and with better writing the movie's ideas and tone could make this kind of an underrated gem. It has elements to it that can work, but they needed to spend time on refining it more to make it as good as possible. I give it 2 stars, 5/10, I gambled a bit and got a totally average movie. What's my fantasy? Spoilers.

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