When 'Bikini Destination: Triple Fantasy' first arrived in my mailbox, I thought it was a joke. I really did. Do they still make soft-core silliness like this anymore? I just assumed that in these days where hardcore porn is readily available to anyone with a keyboard and broadband, there would be little market for these kind of polished, misty montages of bare flesh and Sports Illustrated swimsuits, set to bad music and incessant "erotic" narration.
Well, apparently, I was wrong. 'Bikini Destination' is a popular series of flesh-filled high-def travelogues that regularly appear on HDNet, so there must be an audience out there for this stuff. 'Triple Fantasy' was the episode picked to inaugurate the show's debut on Blu-ray, although with no other, um, exposure to the series, I can't say how it compares. I will say that I just don't get soft core at all. I understand a "real movie" with a plot, attractive actors and a genuine love story. And I understand hardcore boinking, where we get to see all the action up close and personal, complete with happy ending. But "perfume porn"? If I wanted that, I'd just watch a Calvin Klein commercial.
'Triple Fantasy' is exactly what you expect it to be. A dozen top beauties frolic about on sandy beaches and other exotic locales, gyrating seductively in slow motion for the camera. Meanwhile, some stupid guy provides meaningless narration, while truly awful muzak plays in the background.
The "story" is broken into three parts. In "Fantasy, Part One," the narrator tells us that the search is on for "natural beauty," but judging by the amount of silicone and plucked eyebrows are on display, I'd say there is little "natural" here beyond the palm trees that sway in the background. In "Fantasy, Part 2," we leave the tropics behind to head for the desert. More sweaty chicks dropping their bikinis follows, including some full-on frontal nudity. (Thank god I didn't watch this one with my mom.) Finally, "Lights, Camera, Girls!" isn't much of a climax -- narratively speaking, that is. It's just a montage of the girls again doing their best 'Showgirls' shtick, only without the poles. Plus, the dreadful music returns.
In the end, of course, 'Bikini Destination' is a title that's really impervious to reviews like this. It all comes down to whether you like your smut in soft-focus, and think the women in the video are hot. Most are Playboy playmates of years past, and to be fair, the show does a good job of presenting diversity, at least in terms of soft-core archetypes (the sultry blonde, the hot brunette, etc). If nothing else, 'Triple Fantasy' attempts to offer something for every taste. And yes, the stamp on the front of the box is no lie -- this is the Unrated Version, so aside from actual sex acts, you're gonna see everything. Which, if you've even read this far, is likely exactly what you want. So I'm still going to give this tripe three stars, because I guess it delivers on the, um, bottom line.
'Bikini Destinations: Triple Fantasy' looks pretty typical of shot-on-HD material. It's presented in 1.78:1 widescreen, 1080i/MPEG-2 video here, and is pretty detailed and glossy. Lots of bright, sun-washed beaches and beautiful locales, which have that vivid you-are-there, picture-window quality.
Colors are nice and lush. All the dewey, sweaty flesh looks a perfect shade of orange, and details are most vivid in the close-ups (of which there are many) of voluptuous body parts. Blacks and contrast are quite good as well. My only complaint is that the image looks softer than usual for a shot-on-HD title, though it is hardly severe. There are no compression issues to speak of, although that's not a surprise, since the main feature runs only 80 minutes and there are no supplements or high-resolution audio tracks to hog up any extra space.
The audio is less impressive than the video. Only two tracks are provided, in standard Dolby Digital and DTS, and both in 2.0 stereo. Given that there is only cheesy narration and awful music, there isn't much to revel in here. Dynamics are decent enough, though, with perfectly fine frequency response and solid low bass. Stereo effects are also straightforward, and reserved solely for the "music."
There are no extras. What, no bios for the girls? No info on their hobbies, what degrees they've earned, and the charities they devote their time and resources to? Man, I feel robbed! (Note that the packaging indicates that a high-def gallery of trailers for other Magnolia titles is included, but I couldn't find 'em anywhere on the disc.)
'Bikini Destinations' is not my thing. But if surgically-enhanced super-women frolicking on a beach set to awful music and narration is your cup of tea, then by all means, dive right into 'Triple Fantasy.' Simply on its own merits, this Blu-ray release is kinda meager. There are no extras, the audio is limited to 2.0 stereo only, and the video, while good, doesn't really stand-out. For 'Bikini Destination' fans only.