Sabrina Down Under
This coming Tuesday, the forgettable TV movie Sabrina Down Under will be available on DVD. (Why? Probably trying to cash in on interest in live-action Archie properties now that Riverdale has launched.) This 1999 film was the second companion to the Sabrina the Teenage Witch TV show, which ran for seven seasons from 1996-2003. Both of the TV movies aired on The Wonderful World of Disney.
This one consists of Sabrina (Melissa Joan Hart) going to the beach and learning about marine biology from a celebrity professor (Peter O’Brien, who was also in X-Men Origins: Wolverine); Salem the cat (voiced by Nick Bakay), who has booked his own hotel room, hitting on a white Persian who’s also a transformed witch; Sabrina’s friend Gwen (Tara Charendoff, who is now better known as voice actress Tara Strong) having crushes on random blond guys, including one who’s a merman; and lots of beauty footage of Australian coral reefs and ocean flybys set to generic pop songs.
Gwen, another young witch but with no control of her powers, apparently comes from the previous TV movie Sabrina Goes to Rome. There’s relatively little magic in this movie, all things considered, although one odd sequence has a scuba-diving Sabrina loving being underwater so much she temporarily turns herself into a cartoon fish. The plot, such as it is, starts out with a message about stopping pollution from threatening the Great Barrier Reef but then turns into a chase farce about keeping the mermaid colony a secret.
I felt sorry for Hart, since all the outside filming didn’t do any favors to her fair skin. She was deep pink from the earliest scenes. Overall, even with attractive scenery, Sabrina Down Under is boring, slow, and predictable. I found it a chore to get through the hour and a half. For completists only, since this is the only Sabrina live-action item not previously available. There are no extras on this disc. (The studio provided a review copy.)