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A young European boy living in San Francisco is reluctant to marry his long-term girlfriend because he wants to travel around the world first. His wealthy uncle agrees to send him on a global expedition aboard his ship, but en route the boy and his travelling companion are shipwrecked on a remote island, populated by countless prehistoric creatures as well as gold-hunting bandits. Written by
Jonathon Dabell <J.D.@pixie.ntu.ac.uk>
Wow... So much assurance from the would-be critics...
Let me begin by saying that I had read Jules Verne's original source novel BEFORE seeing this movie... and the source is NOT "The Mysterious Island", as most of the would-be intellectuals who reviewed the film would make you believe.
While "L'Ile Mysterieuse" ("The Mysterious Island") was written in 1874, the source of this film is actually "L'École des Robinsons" (which could be translated as "The Robinson School"), first published in 1882... and the entire "plot twist" criticized by the others before me is actually Jules Verne's original idea... it seems he used the "plot twist" before M. Night Shyamalan! Seriously, people... this is a fantasy, a farce, lighten up! Jules Verne himself was winking at his readers throughout the pages of his novel, and the movie only took it further. Since I knew the source of the film, it was a great fun ride to watch a retelling by a director who thought his viewers would laugh with him, not at him (probably just as foolishly as Ed Wood, but that's another story!) I enjoyed this bizarre flick, it was just as fun as some Russian fantasy movies I'd seen as a child, except that it had the brazen attitude of a more adult-oriented fare, but without becoming a "Gwendoline"...
Also, movies are not created and do not exist in a void. When this film was released, in 1981, the era of the blockbuster was not yet upon us, Reagan and Thatcher had just been sworn in, and the Cold War was entering its fourth decade, flaring up again... The great era of the '70s, which had given us so many introspective and serious movies, was over, and people felt they needed more comedies, even hysterical comedies. It all probably started with "Airplane!" in 1980, and the ball just rolled on. There was at least one other title that came out in 1981, blending comedy, spoof and horror as a perfect companion for "Monster Island" - I'm thinking of "Saturday the 14th"...
All in all, the criticisms leveled here don't surprise me. Truly, it's probably not the kind of film appreciated in the U.S. culture.
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