The New Swiss Family Robinson (1998) starring Jane Seymour, David Carradine, James Keach, John Asher, Blake Bashoff, Jamie Renée Smith, Yumi Iwama directed by Stewart Raffill Movie Review

The New Swiss Family Robinson (1998)   2/52/52/52/52/5

Jane Seymour and James Keach in The New Swiss Family Robinson (1998)

Swiss Cheese Full of Holes

As a grown up who has loved "The Swiss Family Robinson" ever since I watched the 1960 Disney movie as a child my opinion of "The New Swiss Family Robinson" is that it sucks. Here is an update of the Johann David Wyss novel which takes the idea of a family stranded on an island but alters all the events to how they ended up there and in doing so loses all the charm of the original. But the thing is that "The New Swiss Family Robinson" isn't a movie made for those like me who loved and grew up on the original but for a new generation who as children during the late 90's would have thought the original was cheesy and uncool.

When Jack Robinson (James Keach - The Long Riders) gets a new job in Australia he decides that the family, his wife Ann (Jane Seymour - Live and Let Die) and their three children should sail there. As they sail close to Borneo they come in to trouble when they come under attack by a group lead by their friend Sheldon (David Carradine) leading to them losing the boat and ending up stranded on an island. Using what ever they can they build themselves a home but find the pirates who attacked them return as they appear to be after something.

So as I said "The New Swiss Family Robinson" basically updates the story so we have the Robinson family on a small boat rather than a big ship, they are betrayed by a friend and plenty more changes yet keeps the original theme of a family building home on an island and having to survive. The thing about this version is that in tone it is very different to the original with acting which is less than subtle, a lack of adventure and to be honest drama, although for a family movie it is surprisingly blood thirty with scenes featuring a man killed by a crocodile. It is the same with so many Disney remakes from the 90s which end up corny by trying to be cool for a younger market and end up dated unlike the original which ended up a classic.

As for the acting well despite featuring the then husband and wife team of Jane Seymour and James Keach the acting is forgettable. It is down to that general style of late 90s Disney movies that the characters end up weak and forgettable giving no one a chance in hell of coming out of this looking good.

What this all boils down to is that "The New Swiss Family Robinson" was made for a very specific audience, children during the late 90s who would think watching an old movie was uncool. But for those who loved the original this is a painful experience from start to finish.