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Overall Rating

Awesome: 4.26%
Worth A Look: 0%
Average: 19.15%
Pretty Bad38.3%
Total Crap38.3%

6 reviews, 11 user ratings

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Land of the Lost
[] Buy posters from this movie
by Erik Childress

"From Where Projects Like This Stem"
2 stars

Growing up beyond the heyday of television producers Sid & Marty Krofft, I was never initiated into years of H.R. Pufnstuf, The Bugaloos or Land of the Lost. It wasn’t until their late ‘80s political satire, D.C. Follies, that I became familiar with them and the idea that Presidents could be puppets more than a dozen years before one would take office. I was too busy waiting on every day’s half-hour of Underdog and had that feature film disappointment to look forward to. (Nobody is forgiven associated with that atrocity.) Another of my regular childhood favorites though was Casper The Friendly Ghost and, much to my delight, that DID turn into an entertaining and surprisingly mature film adaptation by director Brad Silberling. Casper was precisely the kind of TV translation that had little kids in mind but found a way to include those who may have grown up on it a couple of decades earlier. Silberling had made a career alternating between dealing with issues of death (as in Moonlight Mile and his better-than-expected Wings of Desire remake, City of Angels) and creating mature efforts for kids like Casper and the excellent Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, films that proved imagination and thematic elements didn’t have to be dumbed down for the younglings. Which is why Land of the Lost proves to be such a confused effort, never deciding if this is supposed to be meant for young boys who dig dinosaurs or big boys who prefer the “R”-rated antics of Will Ferrell and Danny McBride. The PG-13 rating here mines both territories with Silberling losing control early on and never finding his way through a loud, jumbled slog of a film.

Three years after disgracing himself in a Matt Lauer interview about time travel, Dr. Rick Marshall (Will Ferrell), has found a fan in Holly Cantrell (Anna Friel), a student fascinated with his theories. She has found a rather interesting fossil, one several million years old and yet imprinted with the likes of a modern Bic lighter. Marshall then finishes work on his fabled time travel device (that looks more like one of the Ghostbuster backpacks) and he accompanies Holly to a broken down tourist facility run by Will Stanton (Danny McBride) where the fossil was first located. With the Tachyon level at maximum levels (don’t ask), a bridge between the present and the past is formed and the trio are transported to a time when dinosaurs roamed.

A “grumpy” T-Rex is not the only thing they have to deal with though. As they search for the lost Tachyonian frontpack, their pseudo-guide through this land is the ape-like creature known as Chaka (Jorma Taccone). While avoiding the T-Rex who has a personal beef against Marshall, they discover the lair of the Sleestaks – Black Lagoonian-type creatures housing some crystal that might be their ticket home. The Earth that they know, however, is under danger from a creature known as the Zarn, voiced by this summer’s biggest cameo performer, allowing Ferrell the opportunity to fulfill the promise against the actor who haunted his dreams from Step Brothers.

At this point I am forcibly removing myself from any obligation of trying to recount what serves as a plot. When it was time for the film’s final act I had all but forgotten about the side mission Marshall & Co. had been tasked with and couldn’t recount why Earth was in danger or why they weren’t the only humans from our time being randomly sucked into this alternate dimension. Presumably there was enough distraction in the form of the film’s overall tone from me caring which alien lizard form was in cahoots with what crystals that control the universe. This is no way suggests that TV writers Chris Henchy & Dennis McNicholas has concocted a complicated through-line in any fashion, nor are they solely responsible for the number of ill-conceived directions the humor takes.

The PG-13 is normally enough to clue parents that this isn’t going to be something along the lines of Elf or Kicking & Screaming. But the way the MPAA can’t help but inflate a rating these days with any little bit of naughtiness (how did Up get a “PG” and not a “G”?) it still may surprise many just how naughty this film is. Holly’s breasts are a frequent source of attention from Chaka. The Chorus Line song bursting from Marshall’s invention is referred to twice as gay. You may hope your kid can’t read what Ferrell’s lips say to Chaka at one point and there are even gags involving Sleestak sex and what Holly could do with that large vibrating crystal. Far from offensive for me, of course, but those with kiddies in the single digits may have preferred a few more along the lines of Ferrell dousing himself with dinosaur urine. Twice.

The overriding question to ask everyone involved is that if they had made the conscious decision to make this a more grown-up goof on Land of the Lost, precisely what were they satirizing? Certainly not the cheesy sets and special effects as the production design is pretty top notch. Not the easily avoidable pursuits of the slow-walkin’ Sleestaks. Only the standard Krofftian joke about the duo being high when they came up with their creations gets a little play here but even that becomes more shockingly off-putting for what we expect to be a goofy kids flick then some inspired drug humor. And honestly, when was the last time you used the words “inspired drug humor.” Kevin Smith naming Ferrell’s character in Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back Marshal Willnholly was more creative than anything they came up with here. Somebody over at Universal must have been asleep at the wheel to move this from a July release to just a week after another family film, Up, about a group of wannabe adventurers traveling to a land that time forgot and encountering all sorts of wondrous creatures. Naturally, that’s where the similiarities end and Land of the Lost can’t even measure up to be Journey To The Center Of The Earth 3-D. Dismiss the goofiness of last summer’s Brendan Fraser adventure all you want, but at least when kids left that film with the comely lass in short shorts they may still have been interested to seek out a little Jules Verne. Land of the Lost will have kids asking if they can just go see Up again. Hopefully mom and dad have a little money left after blowing it on this.

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originally posted: 06/05/09 14:00:00
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User Comments

5/19/16 Jim I laughed throughput this movie. Thought the visuals were great. Don't get why it's panned. 5 stars
2/04/11 Dr.Lao Another movie based on a TV series made by people who did not get the appeal of the series 1 stars
6/03/10 Cat Boring, stupid and not worth the time I spent watching on calbe. 1 stars
10/20/09 g. crap 1 stars
8/11/09 Julia Cox Upside:Old-time pseudosci-fi adventure. Downside:Will Farrell's trademark overabsurdity. 3 stars
7/24/09 alice I love Will Ferrell, but this movie is simply awful. 1 stars
6/23/09 Luisa Will Ferrell's crazy... not bad 3 stars
6/11/09 Ming I think this film is ok....if you like the original lost tv show 3 stars
6/10/09 Will F Hey, this doesn't stink! It's the best movie this summer. 5 stars
6/07/09 Maven Trekkies looking for even more nostalga will probably love this turd movie too. 1 stars
6/06/09 Mattomic We used to make fun of a kid at school by calling him Chaka. God, we were mean. 1 stars
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  05-Jun-2009 (PG-13)
  DVD: 13-Oct-2009


  DVD: 13-Oct-2009

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