Fantasy Island (2020)
Updated: Apr 26
My fantasy has always been to extra in a Baz Luhrmann film...but how could Fantasy Island possibly twist that? It's untwistable! Inconceivable, if you will...along with a few other things in this film...
Fantasy Island is a movie about an island, powered by the magic of water (you might have heard of it). But this water is extra special! It contains a rock, that reveals a person's deepest, truest fantasy and also turns the water black (sometimes). Anyway, enter five young and energetic competition winners, who are very excited to have their deepest fantasies become an actual reality. Or, a virtual reality. None of them really believe the island to be as powerful as it is. You may have seen some of their fantasies in the trailer. Melanie (Lucy Hale) wants revenge on a high school bully, Gwen (Maggie Q) just wants to be happy, Patrick (Austin Stowell) wants the chance to be a soldier, and Brax and J.D. want it all! Two things:
1. This review now sounds like a letter to Santa Claus.
2. I cannot express more disappointment at the fact that, when Brax and J.D. exclaim in unison that they "want it all," Sharpay's music didn't start.
Actual footage of Brax and J.D. hoping for all of their wildest dreams to come true.
Anyway, their respective fantasies start. Their respective fantasies go sideways (as displayed in the trailer). And it turns out that Fantasy Island's greatest fantasy is just to mess with people....or is it? I won't tell you! But I will tell you that there is more to this story than appears in the trailer... #suspense
Although this film does have a few surprises in-store, it's definitely not scary. Alarmingly, in my reviews I always write that I am easy to scare, but that the film I've most recently viewed, "isn't scary". So maybe I'm more difficult to scare than I think I am. Regardless, this is the least scary "scary film" that I've reviewed so far. Don't go to this film if you'd like to be scared. You will be certifiably un-scared and disappointed.
I did actually enjoy the way that the plot unfolded. This film was described as a "tonal mix of Westworld meets Cabin in the Woods". If I'm honest, I can see why that was said. However, unlike Westworld or Cabin in the Woods, this film leaves audience members with lots of questions. I don't like to be spoon-fed. However, Fantasy Island feels like it was very well-thought out and carefully pieced together in it's early conception, but then when writing the script half of the puzzle pieces were left behind and audience members are now being left to scrounge things together. After watching this film, I feel like I half understand how and why everything works, but also, I have needed to suspend my disbelief and fill in the blanks for the other half. Anyone remember those "cloze activities" in high school English? Yep, Fantasy Island is a big ol' cloze activity.
Let's talk about continuity. Rather, let's dedicate a whole paragraph to Lucy Hale's hair. (And let the reviewer-job-offers pour forth, because I'm tackling the real issues). About halfway through this film, after lots of DRAMA. Hale's curls go limp. She has been running around on this island for quite some time, and doesn't have electricity or a curling iron to fix her locks. I LOVE IT. Yes! A movie that understands the effects of humidity on hair after time. A movie that understands the trials and tribulations of maintaining the perfect curl. But alas and alack, it does not last. The next scene begins, and those bouncy curls are back. Hale looks more beautiful than ever. WHY!? WHY!? Not only is this unrealisitic, the continuity is shocking. My hopes were lifted by this glimpse of realistic styling, only to have them crashing down again in the next scene; filled with disappointment by both the hair department AND the continuity department. Shame on you stylists. Shame on you continuity people.
On a final positive note, Bear McCreary did the music. So that's very cool. Possibly the most cool thing about this movie (apart from Michael Pena who is equally as cool).
Overall, I can see why this film was made, and how it could be awesome. I think it deserves better than the 9 per cent it is currently getting on Rotten Tomatoes. However, I think they needed to fill in some of the gaps and fix up Hale's hair continuity before they had a real hit on their hands. I actually found it pretty enjoyable whilst I was viewing it. Unfortunately though, once I started actually thinking about the film on the drive home, it started coming apart a little for me.