Abc Thursday Movie Secrets of the Bermuda Triangle

Dr. John Everman and wife Dr. Grace Everman (Sam Behrens, Susanna Thompson), their teenager Annie (Lisa Jakub) and 10-year-old Sam (David Gallagher), with their 23-year-old captain, Michael Resnick (Michael Reilly Burke), are sailing out of Florida when the weather shifts, their compass goes cuckoo and their ship sinks. The solid opening works well, but when the sailboat crashes, so does the vidpic.

With:
Cast: Sam Behrens, Susanna Thompson, Lisa Jakub, David Gallagher, Jerry Hardin, Michael Reilly Burke, Naomi Watts, Sandra Thigpen, Dennis Neal, Michael Campillo, Jane Daly, Gustavo Laborie. What could have the makings of a charming, fanciful tale about a family stranded on a Bermuda Triangle island, complete with idyllic lagoon, shifts too soon into a pastel-hued attempt to jazz up a good adventure yarn. Half-suggesting a flighty, vacuous "Swiss Family Robinson," even a tropical, silly "Lost Horizon,""Triangle" instead trails off into an inexpert, humorless "Gilligan's Island." Flimsy whimsy.

Dr. John Everman and wife Dr. Grace Everman (Sam Behrens, Susanna Thompson), their teenager Annie (Lisa Jakub) and 10-year-old Sam (David Gallagher), with their 23-year-old captain, Michael Resnick (Michael Reilly Burke), are sailing out of Florida when the weather shifts, their compass goes cuckoo and their ship sinks. The solid opening works well, but when the sailboat crashes, so does the vidpic.

The vacationers wind up on a lovely Bermuda Triangle isle where 58 other people have been trapped by the Triangle’s odd holding power. Slick Beaumont (Jerry Hardin), who crash-landed in 1945 and still wears his Air Force threads, acts as mayor of the compound. He notes there’s a tribe of natives, but he implausibly hasn’t been in contact with them over the 50-year span.

Pretty Amanda (Naomi Watts), whose hubby’s back home in Chi watching the Cubs play, is a stranded documentarian; Calvin (Dennis Neal) and his pregnant wife, Nora (Sandra Thigpen), in from Dearborn, await a difficult birth; nosy, good-natured Ginnie Mae (Jane Daly) is an irritant. Cuban refugee Roberto (Gustavo Laborie) seems content he’s found a home. But they’re all thinking of a rescue — even a series.

Young Sam’s diabetic, and may soon run out of insulin, which provides some plot fuel. Sam makes secret contact with native boy Mala (Michael Campillo), who shows him how to scare off alligators. Grace sets up a clinic, and John keeps looking for the sunken ship for insulin. (Those segregated natives do cook up an insulin cure.) Annie frolics with dolphins, Sam rides a waterfall, and Michael tries frolicking with Amanda; she actually apologizes to Michael for not going to bed with him — there’s family fare!

Campillo proves an interesting jungle boy, Burke is a good-looking captain, and Thompson’s an attractive, intelligent actress trapped not only in the Bermuda Triangle but in the fragile telepic. But most of the acting under Ian Toynton’s broad direction is superficial. Other than the beach scenes, designer Richard Reseigne’s island, with its artificial-looking volcano and Jungle Jim temple scenes, looks phony. Robert Steadman’s routine lensing doesn’t much help, but Louis Fagenson’s score, though oversize, is a plus.

The Stephen McPherson-Elizabeth Bradley concept could have worked well, but the project’s short on imagination. And everyone’s still stranded — ABC didn’t pick “Triangle” up for a series.

Abc Thursday Movie Secrets of the Bermuda Triangle

Production: ABC Thursday Movie SECRETS OF THE BERMUDA TRIANGLE (Thur. (4), 9-11 p.m., ABC) Filmed in Florida by BBK Prods., Katie Face Prods., McPherson/Bradley Prods. and TriStar TV. Executive producers, Stephen McPherson, Elizabeth Bradley , Tony Danza; producers, Pierre De Lespinois, Boris Malden; co-producer, Jan DeWitt; director, Ian Toynton; writers, McPherson, Bradley.

Crew: Camera, Robert Steadman; editor, Jim McElroy; production designer, Richard Reseigne; art director, Orvis Rigsby; sound, Thomas E Allen Sr.; special visual effects, Click 3X; music, Louis Fagenson; casting, Vicki Rosenberg, Teri Tunder.

With: Cast: Sam Behrens, Susanna Thompson, Lisa Jakub, David Gallagher, Jerry Hardin, Michael Reilly Burke, Naomi Watts, Sandra Thigpen, Dennis Neal, Michael Campillo, Jane Daly, Gustavo Laborie. What could have the makings of a charming, fanciful tale about a family stranded on a Bermuda Triangle island, complete with idyllic lagoon, shifts too soon into a pastel-hued attempt to jazz up a good adventure yarn. Half-suggesting a flighty, vacuous "Swiss Family Robinson," even a tropical, silly "Lost Horizon,""Triangle" instead trails off into an inexpert, humorless "Gilligan's Island." Flimsy whimsy.

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