RETURN TO FANTASY ISLAND (1978)
Article 2715 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 10-10-2008
Posting Date: 1-18-2009
Directed by George McCowan
Featuring Ricardo Montalban, Adrienne Barbeau, Horst Buchholz
Several more people come to Mr. Roarke’s island to have their fantasies come true. An executive gets to spend the weekend with his female boss, a young couple hopes to relive their honeymoon so that the woman can recover her memory, and another couple hopes to meet the daughter they gave up for adoption…if they can figure out which of the three girls she is.
I was surprised that I liked FANTASY ISLAND (the first TV-Movie, not the series) as much as I did; what I thought would be insipid turned out to have a real air of mystery and a surprising dark streak. This, the follow-up TV-Movie, is a lot closer to what I envisioned the TV series would be like, and that’s not good. The writing is noticeably worse, the sense of mystery is gone, and the dark streak now feels mannered and forced. Furthermore, Montalban now plays a much more passive role in the proceedings. The story of the couple trying to figure out which of the three girls is really their daughter is an example of tepid drama and never becomes engaging. The story of the man and his female boss is incredibly predictable and utterly insipid. The story of the couple reliving their honeymoon plays like a bad horror movie, with Karen Valentine playing one of the least effective horror heroines I’ve ever encountered. From what I gather, the series itself was even more of a piece of fluff than this TV-Movie, so I’m now pretty sure it was a wise choice to skip the series. On the plus side, it does have Cameron Mitchell (whose acting I enjoy) and Adrienne Barbeau (whose…well, it’s not really her acting I enjoy).