"The Wonderful World of Disney" Phenomenon II (TV Episode 2003) Poster

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...could've been called "Phenomenon, Too".
Dimarc1 November 2003
Warning: Spoilers
I can't figure out why this is called "Phenomenon II"--it's more accurate to call it "Phenomenon, Too". Gerald Di Pego wrote both scripts, but this is no sequel. A complete re-telling of the original, maybe he felt a re-write was in order? Presented by Walt Disney--complete with an appearance by Michael Eisner alongside the original Phenomenon's John Travolta, this new version explores more of the dilemma of our hero's quest to learn and contribute as he faces his apparently impending end.

George Malley (Christopher Shyer), mechanic in 'smalltown', CA--smart, but no genius--sees a bright light in the sky that seems to overwhelm him. From then on his mental prowess skyrockets, complete with extra sensory perceptions including telekinesis, premonitions, and telepathy, but also severe insomnia and headaches. Having been shunned by frightened and jealous townsfolk, including his own mother (Jill Clayburgh), George must now find a way to live in a world that either hates him or exploits him the moment he's brought to light.

The original supporting roles seem to be downplayed in this version in lieu of adding some new figures. The initial love interest is a local potter (in the original she's the chair-maker across the street), and in both stories she distances herself despite George's sincere efforts to get to know her better. But instead of inevitably opening to his interest as in the original, the new script has her gently but firmly shutting the door surprisingly early.

Once it's revealed that George's increased mental abilities are the result of an inoperable tumor, the two stories finally diverge as George sets out to live and learn as best he can, for as long as he'll live--he's told it's a matter of weeks. We also see an aspect here that was not explored the first time around. Along with his new mental faculties, George seems to have healing abilities as well. This suggests that perhaps he can hold the tumor at bay for some time to come, if not indefinitely.

Oddly, there's something significant missing from this latest telling--an ending. Fade-out sees our hero standing by himself gazing at the sunset through the distant Golden Gate. This, after successfully misleading and evading the NSA (who mistakenly believe him a military computer saboteur), having successfully installed himself in yet another small town as an electronics repairman, having reached a withdrawn, child-prodigy and healed the rift between the boy and his father, having made a new acquaintance with a mounted police woman (with an unruly horse and a broken VCR), all while continuing to send his ongoing, independent, scientific research to his professorial contact at Berkeley. Hardly a spot to wrap things up.

Now I don't read up on TV news, so I certainly wouldn't know if there was a plan here or not, but this thing screams 'TV Pilot' loud and clear to me. The performances are appropriately warm and the direction secure, but the writing is definitely more about continuing conflict (vs. tying things up in two hours).

Seems to me we've got a new spin on 'The Fugitive' as George strives to maintain his freedom (and perhaps clear his name), continue his quest to use his gifts for the common good of man and mankind, and, of course, stay alive. If they develop his relationship with the police woman, then we'll either see some tap-dancing as he's forced to hide his identity from a possible love interest, or convince her to become his partner in goodness.

While the workings to set up a series pilot are obvious and numerous, they seem sound. If they do launch a series, I'll watch. Whether it grows or tanks, I'm interested to see what more's in store for George.
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Loved the Movie
mmwdhale30 June 2007
I loved the theme of this movie and would love to see it turned into a series along the lines of the fugitive. Lead character only wants to exist in peace and use his powers for good but people's fear of him drives him into hiding. The theme of people fearing anything they can not understand and the governments attempt to control everything. The acting is superb and believable and the writing warm and intelligent. This version was more family friendly and lest dark than the Travolta version. The relationships between the lead character and the local residents are special and touching. Again the charm of these relationships would play well in a weekly series. The ending leaves opening for further stories.
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Better than your average 'midday movie'...
No One29 January 2006
Warning: Spoilers
The midday movie is a time-honoured tradition. Washed-up soap stars appear in films made on tiny budgets with as many clichés as possible squeezed into 90 minutes of running time. But 'Phenomenon II' is different.

I haven't seen the original, 1996 film with John Travolta but there's something about this that I like. Less of a sequel and more of a remake, there's a fair few enjoyable, 'feel good' moments in this film that make for good viewing. Its an 'everyman' story and the science fiction element is not layed on thick. It may not be as good as the Travolta film and many will not see it as being absolutely fantastic, and while it's not in any way deep or thought-provoking, I found it to be an interesting and enjoyable flick.
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my 2 cents (spoilers if you haven't seen Phenomenon 1)
blueeyedguy2523 July 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I really liked Phenomenon number one. I thought it was very well done and made good sense. Today (7-23-07), I watched Phenomenon 2. It was on the Lifetime Network and this is probably the one and only show or movie I have ever sat and watched on that network. I liked this movie quite a bit because it followed in the vein of the first movie but carried it further. Chris Shyer does a pretty good job with the George character although he doesn't seem to build the in-depth relationships with his radio buddy and the Doc like Travolta did. There are differences: George's attempt at a relationship with the "new woman in town" falls through and the only person he heals is himself. He does learn Spanish, predict and earthquake and mess with the government's secret codes. This second movie I think was just a pilot for a weekly series spin off that could have been , but wasn't. It focuses way too much on a cat & mouse game between George and his adversary in the govt who is trying to catch him (O'Quinn).If you can catch this movie on cable, take a look at it. Its definitely NOT a sequel as the name would imply, sort of more like a cable TV revisiting. Not bad at all, just a little different take on ole' George O'Malley.
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A Waste Of Time
telepathical9 October 2006
I really enjoyed the first Phenomenon movie, John Travolta carried the part well enough to surpass the somewhat obvious Hollywoodisation and gave a truly heartfelt performance.

This movie is nothing like that movie, yet it is exactly the same; and this is why. Phenomenon 2 is pretty much word for word, scene for scene, storyline for storyline as the original, but without any emotion. I don't know what the producers were thinking here but I bet they thought "Hmm, Phenomenon got a good review and net income, lets make another one exactly the same so we don't have to write a new story, the public will buy that right?" No they won't. Oh no no no. If I wanted to watch a rubbish version of Phenomenon I would of gone to a high school musical version of Phenomenon and even then I have the option to throw things on stage. Unfortunately, this movie stole from me approximately 90 minutes where I could of been doing something more constructive... like licking broken glass.
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Michel van Dijk29 July 2006
Very sad, that people make the exact movie twice, with the same script, and that only a few years after the first one. I don't understand why they made it twice, but i guess they are having there reasons for it. It's almost miserable that they used they exact lines that John Travolta used on the first movie. I just don't understand why they made it twice, with only a few years between it, it's against all movie rules. And the second one is even worse, you see almost no emotion in the leading role called george, it's like he studied the first movie (John Travolta), and is trying to act like John Travolta, almost like a robot, because i totally mis the emotion in his words and face. If you remake a movie, than make it good.
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An enjoyable movie, with just one bump in the road.
dmwoodland22 January 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Phenomenon II was a very enjoyable movie. It was clearly written to be a pilot; and it's regrettable that it only got that far. We haven't had a really intelligent protagonist to follow in a TV series since David Janssen was The Fugitive.

You couldn't have a more likable lead than the one played in Phenomenon II by Christopher Shyer as George Malley. He was buoyant, engaging and thoughtful. The part seemed made for him.

Claudette Mink was a wonderful choice to play Lace Pennamin. She was believable both as an actress, and also as someone who would actually attract George Malley. The attraction in the first Phenomenon movie was always a mystery, although it was certainly well-played by Kyra Sedgwick.

The script moved along at a nice pace. It was really interesting how quickly it got through the basic story points and character definition, in order to improve on Phenomenon I by adding a formula for a future television series. It would make a good one too; most viewers are probably left wanting more.

The only thing that detracted from Phenomenon II was the part written for Jill Clayburgh -- who played George Malley's mom. As written, it was utterly unbelievable. A loving mother would not have turned her son over to a brain surgeon like this -- nor would she have insisted he leave town. She would have defended him.

The latter scene would have been better left out completely. Or it should have been written for another character...maybe the Doctor.

Jill Clayburgh certainly did her best to play the part as written, but it wasn't believable.
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Is this another script?
thrill_515012 January 2004
I just saw this film this past weekend, and I can't for the life of me connect the storyline. My only realistic conclusion is that this was one of the possible scripts for the first movie that was being made to be true to the writers vision of the movie.

The first film was very "Hollywoodized", with John Travolta, Forrest Whitaker and Robert Duvall.

Just a thought.
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Too good for Just TV
daves_of_yore5 November 2007
Why wasn't this fine film made for theatrical release? This movie is as good as "The Fugitive," and "Chain Reaction." The leading role played by Christopher shyer was outstanding. I sure wish this was an ongoing TV series which I imagine what the film was expected to launch. The plot of a person with special abilities is one that does draw one's attention. It's an old film concept and has been done in different ways. An old Twilight Zone episode had such a person waste his powers. But in this film the leading character tries to use his remarkable mind in ways that are helpful to others. The leading actor played his role with dignified restraint which made him all the more likable. I would watch that actor in any role or film.
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Where is the TV Series?
john-shannon-903-42651020 November 2010
While this TV movie is based on Phenomenon (starring John Travolta), and while a lot of the lines are the same, I did find the original movie quite sad and without hope. I think we need to see more hope in "TV movies" and "movies" in general. This was a very positive movie on every level. Like "a beautiful life" it touched on the connectedness of all things, and that our brains are hardly ever utilized to its full extent. Liked the spin on relationships - with the Autistic child "Jay", how George understood and could get through to him, when so many could not. Would have loved to have seen this become a TV series - its not too late for it to happen - with say someone like th SciFi channel (syfy), who pick up series like this when many other channels don't. (Surface was one such example). This movie went further than the original so to that extent its both a remake and a sequel.
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