LAND OF THE LOST
Has-been scientist Dr Rick Marshall (Will Ferrell), is sucked into a vortex and spat back through time. Way back, with no weapons, few skills and questionable smarts to survive in an alternate universe full of marauding dinosaurs and fantastic creatures. Sucked alongside him are crack-smart research assistant Holly (Anna Friel) and redneck survivalist Will (Danny McBride). Chased by T. Rex and stalked by painfully slow reptiles known as Sleestaks, Marshall, Will and Holly must rely on their only ally - a primate called Chaka (Jorma Taccone) - to navigate out of the hybrid dimension. If they escape they'll be heroes; but if they get stuck, they'll be stuck forever in the Land of the Lost.
Review by Louise Keller:
Apart from two rather innovative ideas, both involving music, land is not the only thing that is lost in this former TV series movie remake that has been fashioned into a quirky Will Ferrell vehicle. The first is the rather inspired idea of using one of the songs from A Chorus Line to herald the presence of the aptly-named Tackyon meter, the genius in a box that transports the unlikely time travellers sideways into a world where ape-men, Viking ships, bug-eyed lizard people, crystals and slobbering, grumpy T-Rexes unhappily live together. The second is when Ferrell's gormless paleontologist Rick Marshall is stung by a blood-sucking insect whilst nonchalantly playing the banjo and exercising his vocal chords. Dr Rick's concept of the collision of the past, present and future is pretty much what it sounds like - a serve of mashed potatoes on a plate of incongruous, nonsensical and occasionally amusing morsels from a menu of lunacy.
But don't even bother to go and see this film unless you are a Will Ferrell fan. Even then, lower your expectations. One thing is for sure, Ferrell is vanity free. He doesn't worry if his pot belly is on show, or if his most unflattering side is on display. He just goes for his own brand of humour and seemingly doesn't give an alien hoot if you go for it or not. Beyond the general concept there's little relationship between this and the TV series written by Sid and Marty Krofft in the 70s, but it does warm up as it goes along and with the cumulative effect of the crazy combo of Ferrell's Rick, Danny McBride's fantasy-loving Will, Jorma Taccone's ape-man Chaka and Anna Friel's Holly ('I think you're brilliant'), the pretty research assistant who conveniently happens to speaks Ape.
NSW footballers aren't the only ones to indulge in group sex; dinosaurs with a brain the size of a walnut pee a lot; ape-men have a penchant for women's breasts. All in all, Land of the Lost is big scale escapism, even if the escapism is wanting.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
It's been 35 years since the TV show, but hey, this is about time tripping ... Will Ferrell's scientist Rick Marshall emerges from a time vortex for a series of sketches set in a pre-historic, dinosaur infested world, in the company of Holly (Anna Friel), a young woman who is his biggest fan. When the accidental time vortex opened, they were in the company of desert roadside fun-park operator Will (Danny McBride) whose claim to fame is his ability to be a redneck even when faced with alien critters. But whoa, why am I trying to tell you the story? Ooops, I just did.
Well folks, whaddaya expect from Will Ferrell and a clunky old TV show whose idea has come (and gone). Anna Friel is the sacrificial lamb in this feast of juvenile gags and simpleton antics, and she earns top honours as a good sport (as well as a good sort). Danny McBride is the funniest of the characters, since Ferrell's is a flat characterisation and his dialogue is laboured. There are a few funny-ish moments, but the filmmakers rely too much on self parody (the writers of the 1974 stuff are producers) and on lame ideas about playing for surrealist effect - which don't come off. Like the odd assortment of contempo icons stuck in a desert that's millions of years ago.
The target audience will probably enjoy it more than me, especially as they are young enough never to have seen the original - which was hardly Star Trek material.
Spluttering to a flat finish, the film delivers my favourite part as the end credits roll: stylish graphics that echo the film's various elements.
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LAND OF THE LOST (M)
CAST: Will Ferrell, Anna Friel, Danny McBride, Jorma Taccone, Douglas Tait,
PRODUCER: Sid Krofft, Marty Krofft, Jimmy Miller
DIRECTOR: Brad Silberling
SCRIPT: Chris Henchy, Dennis McNicholas (1974 TV series by Sid Krofft, Marty Krofft)
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Dion Beebe
EDITOR: Peter Teschner
MUSIC: Michael Giacchino
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Bo Welch
RUNNING TIME: 95 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Universal
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: June 11, 2009