Saturday, May 22, 2010

"Land of the Lost" (2009)

"Land of the Lost" (2009)
Starring Will Ferrell, Anna Friel, Danny McBride
Written by Chris Henchy and Dennis McNicolas
Directed by Brad Silberling

It's too bad that "Land of the Lost," with such a great cast, didn't turn out as well as 2009's other big TV show movie adaptation, "Star Trek."  Will Ferrell stars as Dr. Rick Marshall, whose crackpot theories regarding tachyons and time warps get him laughed out of the scientific community after he has a meltdown on the Today show.  Three years later, scraping a living as a public school science teacher, he's approached by young doctoral student Holly Cantrell (Anna Friel) who believes his theories to be true.  Together, the two of them construct a device to seek out these tachyons, and are accidentally sucked into some kind of time portal along with skeevy tour guide Will Stanton (Danny McBride).

Deposited in a strange world where "past, present and future collide" they meet Chaka (Jorma Taccone), the exiled prince of some kind of primate society.  The four of them must run from an intelligent T-Rex, and deal with the army of Sleestaks, humanoid lizard people... or something.  At one point, they're met by Enik (John Boylan) who tells them that they must help him defeat an evil Sleestak overlord who plans on invading other alternate dimensions... or something.

I'm not gonna lie, "Land of the Lost" doesn't make a terrific amount of sense.  Or, really at all.  There's never any real explanation for exactly WHAT that land of the lost actually is.  Is it the past, the future, an alternate dimension... I'm pretty sure the movie threw out each of those explanations at one point.  Holly convinces Rick to work with her after producing a 250 million year old fossil of a cigarette lighter... and then later in the movie, we see where the lighter gets trampled into the ground.  But this doesn't make sense since in the present day there's no sign of fossilized remains of the Golden Gate bridge and... ice cream trucks...

Alright, so plot-wise, this movie really doesn't make any sense.  Good thing the jokes are reasonably funny, because otherwise this movie would be a total disaster.  Ferrell and McBride are, as usual, a riot.  These two know how to turn a mediocre script into something really funny, playing with absurdity like they invented it.  A sequence towards the end of the film where they go on a completely unrelated to anything drug binge set to Jimi Hendrix is bizarre, and hilarious.

Ultimately, though, "Land of the Lost" really isn't anything all that special.  The special effects are alright, though cartoonish.  The plot doesn't make much sense at all, but the jokes are reasonably funny and the cast is game.  The movie is fairly short, too, so it doesn't outstay its welcome. It also bears almost no resemblance to the TV show it was based on.  Holly and Will have been reimagined from Marshall's children into his love interest and loser sidekick.  Still, it feels like a missed opportunity.  The movie really isn't all it could be, which is too bad.