Gilligan's Island: The Movie
treatment by Bob Cantor, copyright 2009
The Skipper's a pothead, Mr. Howell's a cannibal and the island really does belong to Gilligan. The characters may have changed slightly but you already know the plot. Two intrepid sailors and their 5 passengers set out on a 3-hour cruise and get blown off course. Stranded on an uninhabited island, their attempts to escape continually fail due to a combination of stupidity, greed, and Mr. Howell eating the would-be rescuers. Civilization breaks down completely when the Skipper, the last remaining voice of authority, totally loses touch with reality. Frustration escalates into violence and the blood starts flowing. Gilligan, the last one standing, somehow remains completely unharmed.

Ok, so maybe you didn't already know that last part of the plot. To better understand it, we need to take a closer look at the characters.

The Castaways:
The Skipper is a total stoner, which explains why he's so jolly all the time. Once on the island, he discovers a whole variety of mind-altering psychoactive substances which will eventually turn him into a very dangerous, but still jolly, raging paranoid schizophrenic.

Mr. Howell is a control freak who is constantly scheming to take over the island. His schemes usually involve trying to get Gilligan elected president with himself as the vice president who controls everything behind the scenes. He's also a cannibal and has a trunk full of body parts next to his trunk full of money (remind you of anyone you might've heard of?).

Mrs. Howell is a contemptuous snob and a puritanical hypocrite. In spite of the pretentious pleasantries with which she engages the other castaways, she hates them and they hate her. She approves of but doesn't share her husband's cannabilism, considering it to be a harmless hobby which keeps hims out of trouble.

Mary-Ann is a wholesome all-American dominatrix who grows increasingly frustrated with her inability to get any of her fellow castaways, man or woman, to provide an opportunity for using the trunk full of fetish gear she brought with her on the cruise.

Ginger, both the character and the actress playing her, is a sexy Nora Desmond who thinks she's on a reality show.

The Professor is handsome, brilliant and extraordinarily boring. He's amazing in his ability to create all sorts of modern conveniences out of coconuts and palm fronds, such as golf carts, radios and the internet. He's also totally deluded in believing that he has invented them for the first time and is a completely amoral mythomaniac willing to tell the most ludicrous stories without ever showing a trace of emotion. It's also a bit curious that he can do all of these things but never get them off the island, suggesting that he prefers to remain due to some dark secret in his past.

And then there's Gilligan, the innocent happy-go-lucky doofus who seems to have a guardian angel that prevents his stupidity from killing him many times over as he stumbles through life completely unaware and unharmed. That, at least, is how everyone on the island treats him. In reality, Gilligan is the only one who has any common sense at all and most of their troubles could be avoided if anybody would just listen to him. Unfortunately, they never will, because Gilligan generally accepts their low opinion of him and completely lacks the assertiveness needed to ever make himself heard. When the rescuers finally arrive, however, he will mysteriously emerge from the jungle as the only survivor of the violent blood-bath which took place when the castaways finally turned on one another. A last parting glance behind the scenes suggests that maybe Gilligan wasn't as innocent as everyone thought.

Let me make it clear that this is most definitely not going to be done in the gag-a-minute so-stupid-its-funny manner of the original TV show. It's low-key and relatively slow paced; dark, twisted and cynical. The characters and situations are absurd, but once the absurdity has been set up everything is played in a mostly straight manner. It's also entirely possible that the movie frequently spills out of the set and onto the surrounding soundstage area, which might actually be where the final bloodbath takes place.

Here's an idea for the opening sequences:

At the dock

Gilligan is cheerfully walking along humming the theme song and carrying a duffel bag over his shoulder. After turning some corners and walking by some very expensive looking yachts he eventually arrives at the run-down Minnow. He steps on the boat and walks around to the back where he finds the Skipper smoking a marijuana cigarette.

Gilligan (think Andy Richter): Gosh, Skipper, the customers'll be here in less than an hour, should you be doing that?
The Skipper (think Sam Elliot): Now Gilligan, why don't you go get the bar set up and just leave the Skipper work to me, ok little buddy? hearty laughter

The scene ends abruptly with a jump cut to...

At sea on the Minnow

Thunder claps and lightning. Huge waves are tossing the Minnow and high winds are driving the pouring rain. Gilligan valiantly tries to hold on to the wheel as the Skipper cowers behind him.

As Gilligan turns the wheel, the entire scene begins spinning and eventually transitions to a satellite shot of an ocean with nothing but a small tropical island in it.

Opening credits

The Theme music plays as the we slowly zoom in on the Island and down to the lagoon.

The Lagoon

The wreck of the Minnow is beached on one side of the lagoon. At the edge of a beautiful beach are several nice grass huts complete with hammocks and other accouterments.

We cut to a shot of Gilligan walking through the jungle, humming the theme and carrying a bag of coconuts over his shoulders. He eventually emerges from the jungle, enters his hut and finds the Skipper on his hammock sucking on a doobie.

Gilligan: Gosh, Skipper, the Minnow Survivors Rescue Committee is about to meet in just a few minutes. Should you be doing that?

The Skipper just smiles, looks at Gilligan and laughs.

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Copyright 2009 by Robert Cantor