An amazing feat in underwater filmography can not make up for unfocused storytelling and wild choices for dubbed voice-overs.
A family voyage to find the fabled lost city of Atlantis uncovers more mystery and death as the ship wades into the legendary Bermuda Triangle. Let’s dig into 1978’s “The Bermuda Triangle”, directed by René Cardona Jr.!
As I See It
Not many people can imagine the difficulty of shooting underwater. Spielberg can tell you the difficulties of shooting ON the water. The accomplishments of the underwater cinematography alone make this film stand out.
Unfortunately, there is not much beyond that. A bit of mystery to pull you in, but very little delivery.
It’s becoming hard to imagine a time that people en masse believed there was an invisible triangle that eats boats and planes, though there is some scientific evidence that lends credibility to abnormal atmospheric conditions and otherwise rare electric storms. The speed and methods of travel have improved enough to pacify the fear.
Prolific Mexican director René Cardona Jr. brings a sprawling mystery thriller that packs in too many riddles and very little explanation for additional supernatural elements to suspend reality.
The dubbed voices are interesting. Women’s voices for guys, adults dubbed for kids. I think the only real voice we hear is John Huston’s.
Besides an underwater accident and a creepy but unmotivated kid possessed by a floating doll, there is never really an impending doom. Nothing impactful enough to keep you on edge so when the big OMG reveal at the end is rushed out it’s not nearly shocking enough.
The parrot attack is pretty cool though.
John Huston is a legend both in the figurative sense and literally. Though he stepped in front of the camera a lot throughout his career with varied success, it is his work behind the lens that was the most influential. From his directorial debut, The Maltese Falcon, to his work in the army during World War II filming combat and training films, his body of work is worth ingesting slowly and deeply.
He also happens to be the father of actors Danny and Anjelica Huston. Oddly enough, the last time I recall hearing mention of the Bermuda Triangle was in The Addams Family in which Angelica starred as Morticia.
Of Gratuitous Nature
I think one myth was enough. Throwing in Atlantis did nothing but make the story convoluted.
I fell in love with John Huston as a filmmaker through William F. Nolan’s biography of him “King Rebel”. I picked it up years ago at a thrift shop for a couple of bucks, and it is one of my favorite reads and a real snippet of old-time Hollywood meets lifetime badass.
Ripe for a Remake
As I said, with the disillusionment and technological advances, the masses tend to let the dust settle on such mythology which may make it just the right time to unearth a story set in that meteorologically enigmatic zone.
No progeny to report.
Where to Watch
Vinegar Syndrome has released The Cardona Collection, which combines three of his films: this one, Cyclone, and Treasure of the Amazon.