By Dave Campbell | June 10, 2009
Director: Brad Silberling
Starring: Will Ferrell, Anna Friel, Danny McBride, Jorma Taccone
Land Of The Lost is based on the classic television series of the same name created by Sid & Marty Krofft. This time around we get a moronic, misunderstood scientist Dr. Rick Marshall who by his own devises is sucked back through time and space into an alternate universe. Joining the routine expedition gone awry are research assistant Holly Cantrell who has been a long time follower and admirer of Dr. Marshall and desert survivalist/cave guide Will Stanton.
The team must rely on their new primitive friend Chaka to guide them through this “land of the lost” as they encounter stalking lizard men called Sleestaks and evade a T.Rex with an attitude they name Grumpy who constantly pursues them. Rick, Holly, and Will must discover who the true evil behind this place really is and quickly find a way to get back home…or become permanent refugees.
Land Of The Lost was a mixed bag for me, as it seemed to really never know it’s own identity. I also want to point out that the studio is marketing this film in a very misleading manner. If you were planning on taking young kids to Land Of The Lost, like the trailers and TV spots suggest would be OK…think again. The film geared to junior high to high school level jokes and is littered with drug references, sexual innuendos, and crass language. I have no problem with these kinds of elements in films, but it was a shock to me since it was unexpected.
I highly enjoy Will Ferrell (Dr. Rick Marshall) and think he is one of the greatest things to come out of Saturday Night Live, but in Land Of The Lost we are not given anything memorable or new from him. Ferrell is not picking roles that let him “explore the space”, someone please get him a new agent. Danny McBride (Will Stanton) is probably my favorite new-ish comedic actor, but he also just plays one of his standard red neck roles that offer nothing new to the audience who are familiar with his schtick. The two of them share a couple of humorous scenes, but nothing that stood out to me other than the Pylon scene spoofing Cher’s song Believe.
Anna Friel (Holly Cantrell) held up as the only smart human in the film and the only person driving serious motivation in the story. Being the only female in the cast she also was the love interest to Dr. Marshall and the object of sexual exploit. The most impressive role of the film was Cha-Ka played by Jorma Taccone. Sure he’s a child sized man in a missing link suit, but he gave the character believability and rich emotion, disturbing as it is.
The art direction and special effects were also confusing to me. Half the time they were Lo-Fi, and maybe purposely bad as to pay homage to the less than excellent effects, costumes, and props of the original TV series – the rest of the time we are treated to effects and design that are pretty top notch and were actually impressive. The drastic back and forth and forced nostalgic nods are distracting and cause the film to be jumbled.
Land Of The Lost flows as if director Brad Silberling shot two different films, and scenes from each were edited together to make one. Somehow there was still some amount of entertainment value to be had causing my conflict in being too harsh (maybe because I grew up watching the show). All things considered, the film is destined to either surface as a flop that becomes a cult classic, or just end up Living in the Land of the Lost.