Okay, pirates, an island, in the Caribbean, pirates, in an island, pirates from the Caribbean, pirates of the Caribbean looking for treasure. It sounds like a movie coming out very soon of almost the same name. Of course Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel was “Treasure Island” and not the obvious derivative. “Pirates of Treasure Island” is another blatant cash-in, and one I gave a fair shake. I assumed, if anything, it would serve for some quality equaled to afternoon kid’s films that played after Saturday morning cartoons. The compressed, cut, and cheesy films that served as passable fluff until the sports started.
But, alas, Slawner’s film doesn’t even reach that level of entertainment. Fans of Lance Henriksen really need to bow their head in shame, because for every terrible accented line of dialogue, and listless performance he gives here, fans will not find any redeeming feature in him being featured. Henriksen mysteriously looks drunk during his performance here, as he attempts to conjure up charisma while his bands of pirates consist of badly dressed extras engaging in clunky choreography.
The Asylum’s newest production involves all the usual suspects but with a much more subtle shade of derivation from the former big budget Disney epic. There are monsters, but only beetles that show up for no real reasons and hiss, there are pirates but some of the most unimposing I’ve ever seen, and the plot ensues about a humble shop worker who comes across a group of pirates, one of which is a rather charismatic warrior, and goes on a journey.
Slawner’s films become more ambitious with every effort, and while that’s admirable, it’s also wasted and plodded. Rather than using the noticeably limited resources to create decent films, the company intends only to use the low budget and show off their chinks making awfully terrible films just to cash-in on mainstream epics—and don’t get me started on the anachronisms. And it wouldn’t be much of a problem if these films were ever watchable. And at only eighty minutes there’s really not much to watch here. “Pirates” is utterly verbose; more so than it should be as we watch the characters sitting around and doing nothing but talking and talking without any plot progression, or character motion.
For ten minutes we watch two characters discussing an upcoming situation, and they discuss it further, and then the scene cuts to a large boat, and then we’re right back to more characters discussing what they just discussed. When we’re finally out to sea, characters discuss their situation, and then they discuss what they discussed with others. And the constant formula is the traipsing from locale to locale with only dialogue. It’s the constant run around like that that makes this such a demanding film and it will surely inspire the audience to shut the film off before it even ends. Henriksen has zero charisma and doesn’t even seem to want to be there, Nagel’s Jim is boring and cardboard, and Kochen is basically the same character she was in the last productions except as a wench.
Scenes that would normally be exciting and suspenseful are just there as time filler and it reflects on the audience. It’s a shame that this is probably the Asylum’s best looking picture, at least when it’s out on the sea. Slawner and his crew have a real eye for vibrant colors and wide aerials. Now if we actually had a good movie to go with it, we’d be set. Sadly, we’re out of luck.