Starring Trever O’Brien, Ashley Tesoro, Joey Simmrin, David Jeremiah, Marla Cotovsky, Danna Hansen, Shannon Welles
Directed by Peter Manoogian
On the general scale:
On the B-movie scale:
Like Train Quest, The Midas Touch isn’t listed on Full Moon’s official filmography. Regardless, IMDB lists it as being originally distributed on VHS by the company, and the film bears most of the significant hallmarks of a Moonbeam film (notably missing are any kind of references or posters from other Full Moon films). Directed by longtime Full Moon collaborator Peter Manoogian, The Midas Touch is one of the more respectable Moonbeam films. I don’t have kids so I don’t really pay attention to these things, but I don’t remember anything here that would anger touchy parents. It’s not the most exciting film in their ranks, but just the fact that it can actually work as a family film gives it a rare distinction among its Moonbeam brethren.
Billy (Trever O’Brien) is your typical weakling kid, lacking in confidence and easily susceptible to bullying. His parents tragically died, leaving him in the care of his grandmother (Danna Hansen). She’s not doing great, either, as her heart condition has forced her to step away from her job. These stressful factors all contribute to Billy’s anxiety about life, but his grandmother does her best to instill in him the courage and confidence necessary to persevere and make it through the day. Billy’s dream, though, is not just to get through the day, but to be rich enough to provide a better life (and a pacemaker) for his grandma. Lucky for Billy, circumstances lead him to the creepy mansion of Madame Latimer (Shannon Welles), a woman with an ability that might be able to make his dreams reality.
Billy is a downtrodden character without a lot of hope in his heart when we meet him. His grandmother is his life’s bright spot, and as she wanes it quickly becomes apparent that Billy needs to find some strength within himself if he’s ever going to become a successful adult. Even with a complete recovery, Granny’s days are not infinite. Billy is perfectly set up to discover his inner strength, and The Midas Touch does a great job taking him down this path in an entertaining manner. This kind of moral core is often present in Moonbeam’s films, but rarely is it as well-written and strong as it is depicted here.
This dynamic and love between Billy and his grandmother is what grounds the film and makes it as touching as it is. Yes, touching! The Midas Touch not only entertains, it pulls at the heart-strings and makes you feel something. But before you get the tissue ready, The Midas Touch is also pretty darn funny. The adventures of Billy and his friends takes them to a rather salty pawn shop, and its proprietors are the source of great comic relief. I won’t claim that the humor is great or even the least bit sophisticated, but it’s perfect for the film and its audience (and I laughed quite a bit, too).
A couple of things hold it back from achieving too high of marks, namely its length, its pace and its score. The Midas Touch treats itself like a real movie, so the film’s runtime of 88 minutes is devoted to developing characters and tying up loose ends. While this kind of “traditional storytelling” works to endear us to Billy and his grandma, it also adds a lot of unnecessary time that makes a slight family film feel longer than it needs to. The fact that the score is nearly constant and always annoying doesn’t make the time slide by any quicker, either! These are small complaints, though, and I think anyone who likes Moonbeam films (or any low-budget family entertainment) would enjoy this one.
The Midas Touch is currently streaming on Amazon Prime!
Next time I get around to a Full Moon movie I’ll be checking in with The Brotherhood II: Young Warlocks! See ya then!