Fantasy Island

Fantasy Island ★★

Oh, how I miss Ricardo Montalban and Hervé Villechaize. I'm reminded that their involvement and chemistry in the original TV series was nearly irreplaceable. This re-imagining from Blumhouse tries to capture at least some of the look and feel of the original and at times it succeeds.

Video Review just left the theater (no spoilers)

Opens with four guests who won some kind of contest with Julia, a woman who greets them and says that Mr. Roarke is essentially busy -- he almost always met the guests upon arrival. We find out very little about them except these two brothers who high five each other a bunch, a stoic looking man, a woman who complains about technology and another woman who seems apprehensive. They are about to get their fantasies fulfilled.

My problem throughout this movie is that everything is driven by a need to be explained. The original series always had a mystique to it, a mystery to each fantasy that made you wonder how the fantasy was being fulfilled. Here there seems to be a need to tie everything together and explain every twist so that there isn't that much supernatural or mystique to anything.

I now understand why Blumhouse wanted to put their name in front of Fantasy Island because this is clearly their interpretation of the series and an origin story of how the island came to be, what makes it work and even Mr. Roarke's character background. While in some cases this might be really cool, it didn't work at all for me here. It spoiled my enjoyment of concentrating on the fantasies themselves.

As for the fantasies, they were kind of standard fare and could have been ones in the original story. Sometimes the fantasies did tie together in the original series and viewers learned that another guest's fantasy was being fulfilled. Here this is taken to the extreme.

This wasn't a bad movie, it just isn't very good. I would rather have seen Blumhouse tell their own original story instead of them buying up a license and making whatever this is. It wasn't faithful enough and the ending, which I won't spoil, that attempts to creates an origin story for one of the main characters is completely dumb. When it happened my mind was saying loudly, "WTF?!?!"

They should have gotten one of the many fine little person actors to play Tattoo and Michael Pena's version of Roarke is a pale imitation of Montalban's. His accent in particular is more horrific than anything that happens on screen. Put all this together and it wasn't for me. Blumhouse, I'm begging you, please stay away from making your version of The Love Boat, Knight Rider and, well, every other TV show in the 70s and 80s. Not recommended.

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