We can’t blame Blumhouse for asking, it’s Sony for giving it up with almost zero quality control.
Jason [Blum] wanted to keep working with me. He heard that I had this idea, and being the master producer that he is, he went to Sony and he said, “Can I have the rights to Fantasy Island?” They said yes. They gave it to him.How Fantasy Island Reimagines the Classic TV Show | Den of Geek
Thanks a lot, Sony for just giving up the IP without any sense of quality control. Blumhouse gutted the TV show and gave us a shell of what it once was.
Before I can get into specifics with this critique, you best know SPOILERS follow. If you don’t want the film to be spoiled (pretty difficult, actually), then bookmark and come back … now.
… you’ve been warned SPOILERS AHEAD ….
Blumhouse leaves the filmmakers alone — for better or worse
On one hand, you can applaud Blumhouse for having a reportedly hands off attitude. They set a budget and let the filmmakers make the movie. That’s amazing creative freedom, if the movie doesn’t suck.
Apparently, Sony is also hands off with their IP. Respectfully, I’d suggest with IP somebody should be test screening these films a little better.
The fantasies aren’t that good
There are four fantasies and none of them are spectacular. Let’s take them one at a time.
Woman who wants to get revenge on a childhood friend. Then she gets the chance to do that, but wimps out. She steps off the plane complaining about the lack of Wi-Fi on the island and doubts the fantasies are real and then her fantasy seems real. She also is the one with the lamest twist of all the fantasies.
Two brothers who want to party it up and yet are then attacked by a gang of thugs.
A man wants to honor the life another man in the military who fell on a grenade.
Woman who wants to change that one mistake she made, by saying yes to a man she loved instead of no. Then she gets that fantasy and has a child.
It’s like we’re checking all the cliche story boxes versus telling anything that fresh and new. Or, heck, if you can’t do that, then go back in time and retell some of the best episodes of the TV series.
Then there’s a bonus fifth guy running around all Rambo on the island, because he doesn’t want Roarke to know what he’s up to. Ok, yeah.
These were pretty average to bad fantasies.
Why Explain The Origins of the Island?
I’m still reeling, still trying to understand why it was necessary to explain how Fantasy Island works? And the whole fountain of fantasy water idea was dumb. So Roarke has guests drink the tainted water and then their one fantasy is fulfilled? How does the water “just know” to only issue one fantasy per person?
We didn’t need the origin story. The mystique surrounding the island was enough to make it all work. Also, when you make Roarke so absolutely tied into the process, he doesn’t have the man of mystery vibe working either. Making him a pawn to the island’s power just weakens a character that is supposedly in charge of the island. This is so completely out of the character played by Ricardo Montalban I don’t even know where to start.
Wait, it’s Blumhouse’s Fantasy Island. In parallel reboot world, Roarke can be weak and strong whenever he wants to be. O…k.
Tattoo isn’t a midget, he’s a gay Chinese man with a tattoo that says, “Tattoo”
Can’t make up this stuff. What were they thinking when they took a gigantic crap all over the legacy of Herve Villachaize?
Not a midget (that’s what Herve referred to himself as). It’s a full height man. Why not give this role to another little person?
Why gay? Herve was not only heterosexual, he was hyper heterosexual. Known for his strong sex drive which today might register as sexual harassment toward his co-workers and guests on the show. There’s nothing wrong with gay people, don’t even go there with me, but making an iconic straight character gay is saying what exactly? We can do it, just because we can? Stupid and wrong. Let’s not make established straight characters gay and vice versa.
Chinese instead of French. Herve was French, so why make his character Chinese? Maybe it would be different to find a little person that was French like Herve, so fine, maybe a little person that is Chinese. But a normal height Chinese man? How about a normal height French guy? How can we screw up this character tribute so badly?
Again, you just can’t make out how horrific this treatment of Herve Villachiaze is in this movie. Let’s just dance on his grave while we’re at it, Blumhouse. You should be ashamed. Seriously.
Reviews by Others
A lot of these reviews of Blumhouse’s Fantasy Island by others are unfavorable. Rotten Tomatoes critics have it sub 10% rotten, but audiences are treating it a little better.
- But Why Tho? (5/10): “is everything you want and expect from a theater Blumhoudr film. It stumbles a bit but winds up where you need it to.”
- Andrew Reviews: “But it’s an intellectual property that can be exploited, and it’s being packaged for the young lovestruck souls on Valentine’s Day by furnishing watered-down PG-13 horror that only ever elicits predictable jump scares and a cheap lugubrious aesthetic (an eerily slow camera that always implies a forthcoming scare, ear-splitting sound design, and a terribly on-the-nose score).”
- Becky Tyler Art & Photography: “This film is so abysmally bad I wasn’t even going to bother with a review after I watched it yesterday, but if this review keeps anyone else from wasting their time then I guess writing this is worth it.”
- CULT FACTION: “Within the script is a great movie plot that somehow got manipulated into a presentation that more resembles Love Island than Fantasy Island.”
- Drew’s Writing Loo: “….is clearly aiming for absurdist B-movie enjoyment, but that’s a tough invitation to accept when the choppy tone seems just as lost on the cast as it is to the audience.”
- Dyl’s Movie Stuff (1/10): “…is so very dumb and embarrassingly unscary. Please do yourself a favor and skip this one.”
- Flag of Ulysses: “It works marginally better as a mystery in the film’s latter half but it comes at the expense of over-explaining and completely demystifying the very premise of the titular island and its enigmatic overseer, which the original series wisely never did (to my best recollection).” (ed. one of the few to title it as Blumhouse’s Fantasy Island)
- Halloween Year Round: “It’s everything that a remake should be…at least in theory. In practice, this film wastes its immense potential on annoying characters and a plot that completely falls apart when you approach it with logic.”
- High Contrast / Nate Blake: “Despite the presence of smartphones, social media and a cast that’s just a bit more representative than you would have seen on ABC four decades ago, this is mostly a lazy transplant, not a worthwhile re-imagining. If only I could go to an island where lame remakes didn’t exist.”
- Jordan Peterson / Movie Minutes: “It’s when all those seemingly disparate stories start to come together down the back half of the film where things get messy. The more fascinating elements that make Fantasy Island what it is quickly give way to an overarching narrative that is more convoluted, formulaic, and exhaustively dull.”
- Jaedennoel / Keithlovesmovies: “Other than a few references to the original television series, Fantasy Island will surely disappoint fans of the television series which could have lead to a whole other demographic viewing the film.”
- Keith & The Movies (2/5): “…does nothing to justify its existence. It’s just a blob of fairly interesting ideas pasted together and thrown out for consumption. And you can bet Blumhouse is already eyeing a sequel.”
- Nightmare on Film Street: “…the reality here is, Fantasy Island is a sightly miss of a movie. The malefic update has a lot of creative potential on paper. The film just so happens to lose steam whenever it comes time to gel everything together.”
- Ready Steady Cut: “Not enough of Fantasy Island lands in this precious space of engrossing idiocy to go down as some kind of cult classic midnighter or anything, but it’s at least a high note to end on for a film that is mostly otherwise just an obvious misfire.”
- Red Mango Reviews (5.5/10): “I’m sure the age 13-17 crowd and people who don’t watch ACTUAL horror movies will get a scare or two, but for me, this movie was an overly bloated story with WAY TOO many sub-plots and an ending that you’ll see coming a mile away”
- rogerinorlando / Movie Nation (2/4): “The moments of peril seem like “Saw” outtakes, and the big “EXPLANATION” could bring Harlan Ellison back from the grave for another lawsuit.”
- Society Reviews (1/5): “It is a shame that Fantasy Island fails on the only interesting concept the movie had going for it but at the end of the day, this proves to be just another low budget horror film with little effort given both in front and behind the camera.”
- The Jam Report / Doug Jamieson (1/5): “Sadly, there’s little enjoyment to be found with Fantasy Island. It’s as uninspiring as the horror genre gets. You won’t be scared. You won’t be terrified. And you sure as hell won’t be entertained.”
- The Monster Lady (4/10): “The storyline, “twists” and character deaths were way too predictable and it felt as though the movie dragged on with trying to make the character backstories complex. There were a lot of random plotholes with how the island and fantasies operate, but honestly I stopped caring halfway through”
- Voice of the Hwy: “If crimes against cinema merited prosecution, Blumhouse’s Fantasy Island would go directly to death row. “
- Zach’s Zany Reviews: “Never, ever have I’ve seen a great concept to a feature film, let alone one from an old television show, be so terribly fucked up in its execution. I mean, where to start?”
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