THE HARLEM GLOBETROTTERS ON GILLIGAN’S ISLAND (1981)
Article 4506 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Peter Baldwin
Featuring Bob Denver, Alan Hale Jr., Jim Backus
What it is: You don’t know?
An evil scientist plans to get possession of the island in order to corner the market on a rare mineral only to be found there. Can the castaways keep from getting bilked by him? And can the Harlem Globetrotters come to their rescue?
I was of the generation that grew up watching reruns of “Gilligan’s Island” in syndication, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I’ve seen every episode of the series at one time or another. And, yes, I have a soft spot in my heart for the show. But I don’t have any illusions about the quality of the show; it was what it was, a compendium of dumb silliness. This revival of the show is pretty bad, but I can’t really call it disappointing; it’s as dumb and silly as the original show (so I can’t call it a betrayal of any sort), but an aging cast, a loss of freshness, and the stretching of something that worked better in thirty-minute doses to feature length are the biggest culprits here. There is, however, plenty of fantastic content, what with the super energy fuel and the presence of several robots in the storyline. The saddest thing about his is that Jim Backus is barely in it; he was ill at the time of its making and could only do a cameo at the end of the movie. I can’t recommend it, but I can’t hate it, either; it is what it is.