Pros: the idea of an island that makes wishes come true; split into different storylines Cons: failed horror; failed comedy Fantasy Island
Genre fantasy, horror
Director Jeff Wadlow
Cast: Michael Peña (Mr. Roarke), Lucy Hale (Ariel), Maggie Q (Elena), Portia Doubleday (Sonya), Jimmy O. Yang (Brax), Ryan Hansen (Bradley), Michael Rooker (Morgan), Parisa Fitz- Henley (Julia), etc.
Columbia Pictures, Blumhouse Productions
Year of release 2020
The plot of the film follows a group of tourists who come to a beautiful tropical island. The heroes rejoice at an anonymous invitation to an expensive resort, about which in return they can leave their review. This place has an owner who introduces himself to guests as Mr. Roarke. The man claims that each of the new arrivals has one cherished desire that can become a reality within the island. Not everyone believes Roark’s words, but when each of them’s fantasies begin to come true, it becomes clear that every minute of joy will have to be paid for. Mr. Roarke decided to tactfully remain silent about this.
It’s funny that the 2020 film is not the first remake of the island story. The series, released in 1998, was also a reboot of the serial fantasy drama from the 1970s. The reason why screenwriters return to the same idea is quite understandable – the idea of the existence of a mysterious secluded place that embodies the wishes of visitors can turn into a successful horror or comedy if the project falls into the hands of a smart filmmaker.
Alas, the new film was realized by Jeff Wadlow (who directed the films Kick-Ass 2 and Truth or Dare) – a director who is not yet able to put on exciting or at least partially meaningful stories. Under his direction, an ordinary, undramatic script turns into a poorly developed sequence of events, which is exacerbated by poor dialogue and a lack of charismatic characters.
In principle, the premise of “Fantasy Island” is quite good – it promises a light movie, like an attraction. A film like this should provide plenty of entertainment without leaving behind a heavy burden of philosophical reflection. In the case of Jeff Wadlow’s work, it turns out a little differently. The film does not become an exciting adventure, but rather an annoying two-hour waste of time.
At first, “Fantasy Island” tries to be funny (but it turns out stupid) and a modern film hybrid that is about to split into several genres. Some of the heroes will get a grand party, while others will have to save their lives, finding themselves in extreme conditions. As events begin to take a threatening turn, it turns out that the director does not know how to escalate the situation at all.
It is possible that the atmosphere of the film could have been influenced by the PG-13 rating, which cut down any bloody or violent scenes (which still does not justify the directorial failure of Jeff Wadlow). This is the decision of Blumhouse Productions, which released “Fantasy Island” in mid-February, apparently with the hope of attracting as many viewers of different ages to the screen as possible.
When it comes to the cast, there are a few familiar faces in the film. For example, actor Michael Peña (Ant-Man, Dora and the Lost City of Gold) and actress Portia Doubleday (Mr. Robot). They, as well as the other actors, have no chance of being taken seriously, thanks to awkward transitions between storylines and extremely poor dialogue.
“Fantasy Island” still succeeds in some ways. The screenwriters break the picture into several storylines, highlighting their own story for each character. And then they rush to surprise with a denouement, for which they sacrifice logic and common sense. The result is a “you didn’t expect this” effect, which collides with the tired viewer’s “yes, we didn’t expect anything except the credits.”
The director fails to create the desired atmosphere of the film. Of all the entertaining techniques, the only ones that work are unexpected twists, and even those aren’t particularly impressive.