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Lost On Adventure Island (2006)
Director: Yancey Hendrieth

review by Christopher Geary
Spoiler Alert!
Must genre film criticism always make allowances for the limitations of no-budget productions? Should newcomers and hopefuls always be encouraged by reviewers taking a positive and upbeat approach to a well-intentioned piece of work, despite any number of painfully obvious flaws? Is there a DVD marketplace for quirky, retro, flavoursome little pictures, unfortunately weighed down by geeky over-ambition, yet bursting with nostalgic irreverence, humorous asides, and tacky Z-grade values?

Mom threatens winsome 20-year-old daughter Anna (cheesecake Crystal Holland, revealed in her opening scenes as the season's most fetchingly attired motorist) with banishment to a Montana summer camp, but Anna and friends sail off to a south pacific isle, instead. One hastily depicted, entirely predictable, shipwreck later, Anna and boyfriend Alex (Chaz St Peters) finds themselves stranded on 'Skull Island', where they encounter lovingly crafted stop-motion dinosaurs (including a barely domesticated T-Rex) and Queen Kong (animated Supersimian), Buddy the friendly neighbourhood gorilla (Yancey Hendrieth in a fur-bodysuit), and a zebra face-paint tribe of jabbering cannibals, just for starters.

When they're chased away into the sea, Alex and Anna struggle to retrace their steps, hoping to retrieve Anna's necklace, stolen by Buddy. Turn right at the Easter Island-like statues for still further adventures in the company of horse-riding Amazonians, whose 'all men are morons' attitude prompts escapee Alex into a faux Tarzan routine, feeding bananas to Buddy, and teaming up with the village-crushing, monstrously ´┐Żber-feminist, Supersimian for the finale's rampage and rescue.

Despite having a narrative that's clunky as a washer/ dryer falling down an escalator, the cheesy Lost On Adventure Island is a 40-minute romp from the industrious Mr Hendrieth, and it boasts many incidental guilty pleasures, albeit all too often of the tragically under-developed variety. Think 'Carry-On Monkey Business' crossed with Disney-fied Troma schlock, and you're about halfway towards comprehending the sometimes dizzying 'whatever next?' appeal of this occasionally delightful flick, that's as much homemade as it is handmade.

Although it's probably overpriced at $14.95 retail, I'm not going to diss this effort. Any film that ends with its screaming heroine waking up from her ordeal, bandaged but safe in hospital (where the calming influence of her Mom leaves Anna murmuring "there's no place like home") deserves a break. Checkout the filmmaker's website at: www.dinosaurmoviefans.com for more info.
Lost on Adventure Island

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