Beyond Atlantis Blu-ray Review


Beyond Boredom

Beyond Atlantis takes place on an island paradise, somewhere near the Philippines, where coral blossom. Shot in 1973, it’s depressing to think that coral probably isn’t there now. The island is likely a resort too, as opposed to the natural landscape. It’s also safe to assume the land isn’t populated anymore by fish people with glued on eyes (they left after production).

That aside, Beyond Atlantis is a bizarre concoction. PG, but flush with thematically dark material. In one of the early scenes, a man is speared to death, blood spewing from the wound. Cock fighting and gambling dens run in the underside. Charges of incest come into play. Oh, and the piranha pool (munching on a baby goat and native, complete with swarms of blood). A lovely time for the family.

At its worst, the leader of the island tribe commands his daughter to mate against her will, and she attempts an underwater rape as a result. That’s outrageously gross, playing into an extreme male fantasy.

Beyond Atlantis moves ponderously, lavishing attention on droll underwater footage

Patrick Wayne only took the co-star role if the material aimed at families. Other than planned nudity, it doesn’t seem like much changed after he joined. Rejiggering Treasure of Sierra Madre, Beyond Atlantis concerns the discovery of pure pearls. Off a group of greedy men go to snatch the island riches, wiping out a native population in the process. All for the kiddie theaters, you know?

In any aspect, Beyond Atlantis is never a great movie. It’s not even a passable one. Beyond Atlantis moves ponderously, lavishing attention on droll underwater footage, notable only for leering at Leigh Christian’s fur bikini-clad rear. It speaks to nothing other than avarice, the folly and inevitable failure of such a path. The message is there, lingering as Sid Haig – the best part of Beyond Atlantis – chomps on cigars while commanding his dive team to snatch pearls. Yet, the process of extracting that value is grueling to sit through.

By the end, paradise is lost. How subtle. Those opportunistic, capitalist invaders blew up the gentle landscape, leaving these people – cast-offs of Atlantis’ collapse, says the dialog – with nothing. No matter if the men get the pearls or not, the chain of events leaves everything in ruin. That morality play isn’t much, but in a movie as thin as Beyond Atlantis, finding anything of note is already reaching.

Video

Across the top of the Blu-ray art, VCI advertises a new 2K scan of the negative. Maybe that’s true; it’s hard to tell. If the scan was done, the process ended there. Pale color removes the lush island sights. A persistent scratch down the right side hardly ever goes away.

There’s no grain to discuss. VCI’s compression runs over the image, leaving behind blocks of digital garbage. Given the lack of fidelity, a likely run of filtering further erodes clarity. Overall image softness, even when giving leniency for low budget film stock, still wanes.

Yellowing of the source saps energy from contrast. There’s no depth here. Black levels? Forget ‘em. Whatever energy existed in the island cinematography is lost.

Audio

If the video disappoints, wait until you hear this PCM mono effort. A lot of the dialog comes from live recordings, and apparently not on closed sets. Background noise jumbles already thin dialog. It’s a mass of noise, leaving some lines unintelligible without subtitles.

Then the piano score stretches the limits of treble. Gritty and muddy become apt descriptors. So too does unpleasant.

Extras

Howard S. Berger provides a commentary track and liner notes (printed on cover art’s interior). It’s fun to hear from someone with an appreciation for the film, and he’s one of them. John Ashley Remembered runs 13:10, an excerpt from a longer documentary, speaking as to the film’s starring role. Trailers and a gallery (including the press book) mark the end. VCI’s cover art lists extensive video interviews, but those appear nowhere in the menu on either the Blu-ray or DVD.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

Beyond Atlantis
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
2

Movie

Dreadfully dull and confused in tone, Beyond Atlantis is forgettable not-really-family-fare with simplistic morality.

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User Review
4 (1 vote)

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