Movie Review: Fantasy Island (2020)

Synopsis: A group of vacationers arrive on an island run by the mysterious Mr. Rourke, who promises the island will make their inner-most desire come true. They are skeptical at first but quickly realize Rourke was telling the truth. Unfortunately, their fantasies eventually take a turn for the worst and put their lives in danger.

Who's in it? The movie stars Michael Pena, Maggie Q, Lucy Hale, Michael Rooker and Portia Doubleday.

Review: I grew up watching the original Fantasy Island on TV and even enjoyed the short-lived remake starring Malcolm McDowell. So, when I heard about this movie, I was definitely interested, though I also had my doubts about it. My wife and I finally had a chance to watch it last night and, overall, I have to say it was better than expected.

OK, to tell you the truth, I'm not 100 percent sure I enjoyed the darker plot the movie chose to take. But, this is only because the movie felt like it was trying to be considered a thriller but was reluctant to commit to that angle. And, for a while, I began to wonder if the film was a complete mess because some of the things happening in the various fantasies didn't quite seem to fit.

That being said, I did think the movie deserves some credit for being a halfway decent mystery, especially when the stranger events were put in a better context and we find out what is really going on. I'm even willing to admit the film did a halfway decent job throwing up just enough of a smoke screen to make it difficult to figure out who the real bad guy was, though I'm also going to add the movie cheated a bit by doing things early on that didn't quite mesh with their explanation later in the film (almost as though the person was chosen at the last second and the filmmakers didn't bother making corrections).

My only real complaint about this film is I feel the various characters needed more background information to give them a bit more depth. They just seemed to be a little on the thin side as far as the overall picture goes.

I also kind of feel Michael Rooker was a bit wasted as Damon, the ex-guest who is now trapped on the island. He was kind of a cool character but, ultimately, didn't do much more than give a couple of the characters some exposition. To tell you the truth, I'm not even sure what happened to him. I don't remember him being killed, but he also wasn't around at the end of the film. I don't know if I missed something or if the writers forgot about him.

Final Opinion: I think the film might have been slightly better had it just focused on the guests' fantasies and dropped the darker overall plot. But I still think it was an entertaining movie overall.

My Grade: B


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