BERMUDA TRIANGLE -- K-B Janus, K-B Studio, White Flint, Village Mall, Academy 6, Landover 6, Andrews Manor, Town Center, Laurel, Bel Air, State, Hybla Valley, Mall Cinema, Carousel, Dale City and Capitol Plaza.
A Spanish galleon fit for an Erroll Flynn film looms on the screen. The sky darkens and the soundtrack builds. Flying saucers whiz by. Then one of the swarthy costumed crew says in an all-purpose Third World accent, "My capitaine, something ees wrong." And you know you're in for a good time.
"The Bermuda Traingle," a pseudo-documentary directed by Richard Friedenberg from Charles Berlitz's book, tries to be fact but is mostly fun. With its span of old sea lore, World War II flying aces and outer space gadgetry, children will love it. So will parents, since there's no embarrassing sex, no sickening violence -- just an old-fashioned yarn.
Using a narrative style that's a combination of Rod Serling's "Twilight Zone" and Walt Disney's "Wonderful World of Color," the film tries to build a case for the mysterious disappearance of craft and crews in the aquatic triangle formed by Bermuda, Miami and San Juan. First a chubby, bearded "expert" presents the "facts" in authoritative tones, then we get a reenactment of the actual incident, then back to the chubby expert, usually on a deserted beach, with a wrap-up that leads into the next case: e.g., "What really happened to Flight 19? We may never know, but in 1943..."
Romping through the ages with the Bermuda Triangle presents viewers with a great cavalcade of boats, ships, planes and the salty dogs and air devils who man them. The Triangle itself is depicted as a kind of cosmic carwash. Once sucked in, a craft's instrument panels go crazy and the pilot loses control. Then everything starts to glow and you know it's all over. But not always. Some craft emerge on the other side of a "time warp." This is one of the explanations.
The film's latter half is devoted to explanations. These range from magnetic force fields, Einsteinian molecular theories, a secret weapon buried in the lost continent of Atlantis "that harnesses the awesome power of the stars" and UFOs that look like flying vegetable steamers with high beams. The film ends with '50-esque plea to the U.N. to look into the matter "before it is too late."
Despite the constant changes in period and setting, the vignettes get repetitive and the film should be at least 30 minutes shorter. There are also some obvious technical goofs. But for all its flaws, "Bermuda Triangle" entertains, and these days that's anunusual phenomenon in itself.