Land of the Lost
Review by Jack Foley
HOLLYWOOD’S current trend for reviving past TV hits continues unabated with the release of Land of the Lost.
But while Sid and Marty Krofft’s 1974 original series has since become a camp cult classic, Brad Siberling’s big budget re-imagining isn’t destined to be quite so warmly remembered.
Designed more as a comedy vehicle for Will Ferrell, the film feels like a series of set pieces and stand-up routines strung together by the loosest of screenplays.
It does offer some guilty pleasure moments of laughter and some cool effects, but it’s a largely uninspired experience that underwhelms more than it delights.
Ferrell plays disgraced paleontologist Dr Rick Marshall who, three years after being kicked out of the science department for his theory on time warps and his attack on a Today Show host, is urged to finish his tachyon amplifier by similarly outcast scientific admirer Holly Cantrell (Anna Friel).
When he does so, the two head for roadside attraction the Devil’s Cave to test the machine with the help of sceptical tour guide Will Stanton (Danny McBride)… and promptly find themselves transported to a parallel universe occupied by strange lizard-people and intelligent dinosaurs.
Admittedly, there’s plenty of scope for Siberling’s movie to dazzle with a keen mix of comedy, effects and imagination but Land of the Lost never really takes the opportunity to deliver all three at the same time.
Rather, it’s highlights are fleeting and give rise to the suspicion that the writers were simply making it up as they went along, while relying on the comedic double act of Ferrell and McBride to paper over the cracks.
The same criticism can be applied to the effects, too, which flit between being state-of-the-art and self-consciously hokey – the latter supposedly in a nod to the low-budget, stop-motion nature of the original.
The inclusion of a frisky ape man named Chaka (played by Jorma Taccone) also backfires, as he’s more irritating than funny for most of the time.
Ferrell, for his part, does his best to find laughs from the limited source material and there’s mirth to be found in his encounter with a draining bug and his soaking in dinosaur wee. While two encounters with Matt Lauer on The Today Show, which book-end proceedings, are laugh out loud funny.
But even then, the gags lack much sophistication or ingenuity.
What’s left is a largely forgettable blockbuster comedy that squanders most of its potential.
Running time: 101mins
UK DVD & Blu-ray Release: November 23, 2009
- Buy it on DVD (Amazon)
- Buy it on Blu-ray (Amazon)
- Read our review
- Land of the Lost photo gallery