The famous Harlem Globetrotters crash land on Gilligans Island, immediately dispatching a terrifying 'shark' by throwing basketballs at it. A mad doctor and his accomplice plan to take over the island for its rich energy supply by scaring off Gilligan and his buddies, but it soon settles to a basketball match between the doctors robots and the aforementioned Globetrotters Written by
Paul cartwright <firstname.lastname@example.org>
At the time this movie was being made Jim Backus was suffering from Parkinson's disease thus preventing him from being in the movie. Originally his character was written out of the storyline but at the last minute Backus felt well enough to make a small cameo at the end of the movie. See more »
I've had a strange fascination with this movie since it came out in '81. It's not great cinema, not a great TV movie, not very good by the TV-series' standards. But...
*It is the "last roundup" for the original cast. Jim Backus, Alan Hale and Natalie Schaefer have passed on in the years since, and there seems no clamoring to reunite the surviving members with a new Skipper and Mr/Mrs. Howell. As an admirer of the spirited, surreal comedy of the original series, I found this movie to be a not-too-bad farewell.
*I'm a big hoops fan, and this is one of the rare opportunities to see the Globetrotters on film. (The Globetrotters' cartoons and old film clips are shown occasionally, and ABC televises a Globetrotter game once a year, but that's about it.) They are master ballhandlers and showmen, and they demonstrate that here. (Also, we get to hear "coach" Scatman Crothers sing "Sweet Georgia Brown," which ain't bad.)
*This may be the final joint film appearance of Martin Landau and Barbara Bain before they divorced. In any case, it's fascinating to watch Mr. Landau mug and overact, in the days before he became a "serious," bankable character actor in films.
*Because Jim Backus was ill during the filming, the "Mr. Howell" role is filled mostly by the Howell's son, "Thurston Howell IV" -- played by David Ruprecht, who now hosts "Supermarket Sweep." I don't believe the Howells ever mentioned having a son in all the prior episodes/movies, but there he is, all of a sudden. (Backus does make a cameo at the end, thank goodness.)
*Longtime Laker announcer Chick Hearn's in the film, as the announcer for the "big game" between the Globetrotters and the Robots. He talks and talks and talks...and after a while, his yakking gets somewhat distracting. (The very final scene, the producers cut off Chick's mike while he was still talking!)
The humor's cornball and slight, and the site of the aging Bob Denver as the supposedly child-like Gilligan is laughable. But Ruprecht acquits himself pretty well, as do Russell Johnson and Alan Hale. (Dawn Wells doesn't have much to do, Natalie and Jim are too old -- and minus Tina Louise, the character of Ginger is lifeless.)
It's not as good as "Rescue From Gilligan's Island," but better than "Castaways On Gilligan's Island." For fans of the show (and the Globetrotters), it's worth a watch.
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