Beyond Atlantis - Beyond Atlantis( Blu Ray & DVD) [VCI Entertainment/ MVD Visual - 2019]From the early 1970s, Beyond Atlantis is an adventure-fantasy romp about a part aquatic tribe, and greedy criminals that are trying to steal their undersea treasure chest of pearls. The films one of the many pictures made by Filipino exploitation director Eddie Romero- and while itís somewhat light & campy, as a bit of Sunday afternoon fun itís passable enough. Here from VCI Entertainment/ MVD Visual is a duel Blu Ray & DVD release- which features a great new scan of the film, and a commentary track from two Filipino exploitation experts.
Beyond Atlantis came out in 1973- been one of the two films Romero made in that year, the other being the decidedly more sleazy women-in-jungle-prison movie Black Mama White Mama. As a director Eddie Romero had a long, and highly prolific career- making 55 films between 1947 and 2008- he dipped his toes in most exploitation sub-genres, but is probably most known for his Blood Island films, which saw him offering up a decidedly z-grade blend of lo-fi monsters, 60ís gore, fleeting female flesh- and a truck full of cheesiness.
As Romero films go Beyond Atlantis is fairly well, shot, cast & made- with some particularly impressive underwater camera work. Compared with his Blood Island films- it really has zero gory & zero nudity- though it does have crappy monster make-up, which is basically bug-eyed masks the aquatic tribe wear. The films plot sees pimp/ small-time crook Fast Eddie- played wonderful by a young Sid Haig- getting his hands on pearls as payment for a job from a local fisherman. And fairly soon he & a group of drivers- headed up by Romero regular John Ashley, are off to find the island where the pearls came from. They find a part amphibious tribe led up by blonde bombshell Leigh Christian- who is one of the few without the stuck on bug eyes, and convinces them to give up their pearls.
As I mentioned in my opening paragraph this is very much Sunday afternoon fooder- with slightly quirky & campy twists. Itís basically just a low-grade/ mainly effect-less fantasy adventure film- with lots and lots of undersea footage of the tribe & Christian in her figure-hugging & pearl edged bikini. There are moments of sly humour, one or two fairly dramatic flights, and a ton of cheesy dialogue. Personally I found it all a bit too safe & not wacky enough- I think I would have enjoyed it as a child more, but now it just feels a little too light & uneventful- but if youíre a fan of Eddie Romero, and the more campy/frivolous side of the Filipino exploitation genre I think you could get a kick out of this.
The new print of the film looks great- really enhancing the very impressive underwater footage scenes. The commentary track features filmmaker, Howard S. Berger and filmmaker/ Pinoy film historian, Andrew Leavold- and the pair are huge fans of the Filipino exploitation scene- they give a chatty, through very informative & impassioned track- talking about the scene in general- as well as key figures & actors, going onto focus on the film to hand- if your interested in the scene Iím sure this will be highly fascinating. Next, we get an around twenty-minute feattreet discussing John Ashley, as well as a trailer. You also get a fairly lengthy write-up/ essay from Howard Berger- discussing the film, and itís place in the wider Filipino exploitation scene.
I guess I went into Beyond Atlantis expecting at least a little sleazy, blood & oddness- but sadly itís just a campy & light action fantasy with some fleeting quirkiness & laughs running it through it. As I said early it just wasnít for me- but if your either a fan of 70ís campy fantasy or the lighter side of Filipino exploitation- then Iím sure youíll enjoy this.Roger Batty