“You are asleep, and I am an erotic dream.”
Carry On Columbus is the final entry in the extremely popular British comedy film series. The Carry On films began in the 50s and finally fizzled in 1992. Carry On Columbus was made after a 14 year break in the series, and it followed such stinkers as Carry on England and Carry On Emmanuelle. With most of the regular Carry On Cast members noticeably absent (Kenneth Williams, Sid James, Charles Hawtrey, Hattie Jacques were deceased), the film attempts to piggyback on the popularity of the Carry On series, and for the most part it fails. Carry On fans can’t help but be disappointed at the lack of familiar faces, and Carry On Columbus doesn’t exactly shine on its own merit.
When the decadent sultan of Turkey (Rik Mayall) hears that Christopher Columbus (Jim Dale) now has a route to the Indies, he sends luscious spy, Fatima (Sara Crowe) to Lisbon to intercept Columbus and steal his map. In Lisbon, Fatima joins forces with Achmed (Alexei Sayle), and they disguise themselves as seamen in order to join Columbus on the Santa Maria. King Ferdinand (Leslie Phillips) and Queen Isabella (June Whitfield) agree to finance Columbus’s voyage, and penny-pinching Columbus employs the dregs of a Spanish dungeon for his motley crew. Crewmembers include: Marco, the cereal killer (he beats his victims to death with a bag of Rice Krispies), Pepi the Poisoner, and Tonto the Torch. Don Juan Diego (Julian Clary in a truly hilarious role) joins the crew and sports a number of dashing outfits. On the voyage, they encounter the Bar Mitzvah Triangle and some particularly crafty natives.
There are some laughs here, and it’s good to see some of the cast from The Young Ones (Rik Mayall, Nigel Planer and Alexei Sayle). The first half of the film was much stronger, but as the plot winds on, the jokes become a little tired, and the film limps along to the end. Some of the worst scenes occur when Columbus encounters some savvy natives, and this entire portion of the film was boring. Fans of Carry On will, no doubt, have to see the film–if only to satisfy a sense of curiosity. Those completely unfamiliar with Carry On films probably won’t understand how painful it is to watch Carry On Columbus–a film that really doesn’t deserve to be added to this once-wonderful film series. From director Gerald Thomas.