Final reel fandango

Randomly turning on the telly on a lazy day at the home of your choice is a good way to catch the best bits (i.e. the last half-hour) of films that you can’t be arsed watching all the way through. As it so happened this last Bank Holiday Monday, we switched on to find MacGyver: Lost Treasure of Atlantis just edging into its gripping climax, followed by Jim being pursued up the mast of the Hispaniola by a murderous pirate in Treasure Island (recognisable immediately just from the creepy music) on the other side. This was, I think you’ll agree, a pretty hot combination of half-missed movies.

The latter had the advantage of being one of my most-favoured childhood films (none of your poxy Railway Children for me, I wanted blood and guts and piracy on the high seas. However I did enjoy the Sound of Music frequently) and also a really excellent (and indeed, the first) live-action Disney number, with lots of classy “Aharrrr Jim lad”-ing and the like. The only thing that mars it in my view is the corn-fed American brat playing Hawkins, but I suppose it was the time of the child star production line, and at least all the salty sea dogs are from excellently chewy places like Dorset and Suffolk. Half the cast were born in the late 1800s and many were dead before I was born (including the brat, who got involved with nasty old drugs as he grew out of adorable moppethood), which sends a bit of a frisson down the spine for some reason. Robert Newton, a cracking Long John Silver, was David Lean’s Bill Sikes in Oliver Twist and played a few other pirates in his time, which shows that typecasting can work out splendidly.

The first film we caught the end of didn’t have such a good pedigree, although it did, fantastically, have Brian Blessed shouting a lot, of course) and a bit of mystical guff about lost civilisations and cults, not to mention Richard Dean Anderson‘s spectacular mullet. We simply couldn’t believe (having marvelled at this follicular glory) that it was made as recently as 1994, even though it’s right there in undoubtable internet print. I was also wondering if RDA was Canadian, and his birthplace of Minneapolis is close enough for me to feel vindicated in my accent-spotting expertise. Anyway, there was archaeological skulduggery, ancient magnetic suspension locks, and a steam-driven altar thingy in the side of a volcano. Oh, and MacGyver powered a clapped-out jeep with missiles strapped to the back to get away from some evil Eastern European military types. Hurrah for TV movies with 80s stars veering dangerously close to the soup kitchen (this was before Stargate SG-1 kicked off, of course).

So, to sum up: I enjoy holiday television programming, and am increasingly reliant on imdb for my trivia junk. I wonder if it’s available on WAP?