Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Land of the Lost

Land of the Lost

 

  • Released Internationally on 05/06/09
  • Released in Malta by KRS on 02/09/09

 

In a nutshell

Based on the science-fiction TV show from the 70s, this adventure ride mixes time travel and what is fast-becoming Will Ferrell's trademark type of humour.

Lost in space

When I heard about this film and saw the promotional material, I was looking forward to a silly but fun mix of thrills and laughs. Unfortunately the focus here is firmly on the silly. The plot, for example. When it comes to plot, every time travel tale requires a certain amount of suspension of belief, however, that doesn’t mean you have to treat your audience like toddlers. The ‘plot’ here has to be seen to be disbelieved. Rick Marshall (Will Ferrell) is a zany and rather unorthodox scientist who has dedicated most of his life and a hefty sum of taxpayer's money to the invention of the ‘tachyon amplifier’, a backpack-sized contraption that looks like something a ghostbuster would wear, but which he claims can take him hurtling through time and space. Not surprisingly, it does, and before we know it Marshall, an enthusiastic student fan of his (the very British Anna Friel), and an incredulous redneck (Danny McBride - Tropic Thunder, Pineapple Express) are squinting into the sun on a desert alien landscape.

The lost world

Having very briefly skimmed over the details about how exactly our adventurous trio got there, and exactly where (when?) they are, the action kicks in. We first meet one of the locals, Chaka (newcomer Jorma Taccone, in a ridiculous low-budget costume), and then a rather grumpy Tyrannosaurus rex catches wind of our heroes, and proceeds to chase them for the remainder of the film. The dinosaurs and landscapes are all very eye-catching, and one has to assume that that’s where most of the film’s budget was spent (as opposed to costume design and polishing the script).

Lost in translation

Just when the film is starting to look like a Jurassic comedy, a whole new breed of villain arrives on the scene. Unfortunately inherited from the TV series, and inexplicably left looking exactly like they did in the 70s, the so-called Sleestaks look like sleep-walking mini-Godzillas, and seem horribly out of place next to the genuinely menacing and much better-looking T-rex. This clashing of 70s homage and 00s special effects is found throughout the film, and makes one wonder whether the crew actually knew what sort of film they wanted to make.

In the end

Despite all the above, at least director Brad Silberling (Casper, Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events) manages to provide a number of scenes where Ferrell and McBride’s off-kilter comedy gets to shine, resulting in some of the less cringe-worthy scenes. Ferrell’s starry-eyed enthusiasm and unfounded savoir-faire perfectly fit his role here, and despite the flaws around him he remains a joy to watch. Apart from that, this is one big, misguided mess.

 

Mark's Mark 5 out of 10

 

Trailer:

http://www.apple.com/trailers/universal/landofthelost/ (High-res QuickTime)

 

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