During the 90s Sabrina the Teenage Witch, based on the Archie Comic series, was a hit on television. A comedy series about a teenage girl who discovers she is a witch and has magical abilities. Features simple storylines and comedic situations. Nothing fancy nor is it high quality comedy, but is something the whole family can watch together.
Sabrina (Melissa Joan Hart – from television’s Sabrina the Teenage Witch) decides to travel to Australia to experience the Great Barrier Reef in person. She is accompanied on her trip by friend and fellow young witch Gwen (Tara Strong – from television’s My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic). Sabrina is there to meet up with a Great Barrier Reef expert, Dr. Julian Martin (Peter O’Brien – X-Men Origins: Wolverine), hoping to learn plenty from him about marine biology.
Things are going swimmingly when suddenly Sabrina comes upon an amazing discovery. When investigating an illness that is befalling marine mammals in the area which is seemingly due to pollution, she makes contact with a mermaid colony. More precisely she and Gwen meet Barnaby (Scott Michaelson – from television’s Neighbors) and his sister Fin (Lindsay Sloane – Horrible Bosses, She’s Out of My League).
Barnaby has fallen victim to the mysterious illness. More importantly Sabrina and Gwen try to treat it while keeping his, and the other mermaids, existence a secret. This will be easier said than done when the marine biologist sees the discovery as his path to worldwide fame.
Salem (Nick Bakay – Zookeeper, Jury Duty) is also at the same Aussie resort on vacation. Wining, dining and being pampered while trying to woo a beautiful witch who has also been changed into a cat named Hilary (Rebecca Gibney – The Dressmaker, In Her Skin).
I think the mandate of the film, other than the usual cute humour, is to introduce an ecological theme without being too heavyhanded about it. In that attempt to not turn viewers off by coming on too strong I think director Kenneth R. Koch (directed episodes of T.J. Hooker and Sabrina, The Teenage Witch) underserved it. The whole idea of humans and pollution are causing problems for creatures of the waters is rather neglected for the large part. Not enough story time.
Bottom line is that this is a fluffy television film. Might succeed in keeping young kids quiet for a short period though I am not sure parents or older ones will find it as interesting. Fans of the series should find this to be adequate.