Full of pop culture references, rubber suited sleestaks, and adult language, Land of the Lost provides a new take on the original Sid and Marty Kroft series from the 1970s.
After being humiliated by Matt Lauer on Today for his quack theories on time travel, parallel universes, and tachyons, Dr. Rick Marshall (Will Ferrell) gives up on his theories.That is until he meets Holly (Anna Friel), a fan and follower of his theories, who brings him proof in the way of a fossil. Equipped with a functional tachyon amplifier, that plays show-tunes, Rick and Holly head off to a sideshow cave ride, which happens to be on a river (those of you who have seen the series know where I’m going with this), and provides a portal to a parallel universe.
A local redneck tour guide, Will (Danny McBride), takes Rick and Holly into the cave on a rafting tour. Once inside, they encounter “the greatest earthquake ever known”, which sends them over a waterfall and into the land of the lost, where they meet Chaka (Jorma Taccone), a monkey-man who takes up with the adventurers as they battle smarter-than-average dinosaurs, sleestaks, and other perils while trying to save civilization and find a way home.
If you’re a fan of the 1970s Land of the Lost TV series, which ran from 1974-1977, you’ll either love or hate this film. With a PG-13 rating, it was soon apparent this film was intended for those who grew up watching the series, and not for their children. The similarities between the series and the film bring about many laughs, everything from references to the theme song, to the look of the cave crystals, to the fake looking rubber suits used for the sleestaks. The film is a love letter to the series, albeit an adult themed one.
Will Ferrell and Danny McBride make a great comedy team. We may not see much new from Ferrell or McBride in these roles, but their comedic chemistry onscreen is more than enough to keep you entertained. Anna Friel’s character serves not only as the love interest, but also as interpreter of Chaka, who speaks a language that only Holly understands. Chaka helps the gang through the land of the lost and provides a few laughs along the way. You may know Jorma Taccone, who plays Chaka, as one third of the comedy music trio, Lonely Island.
Unlike most comedies, a lot of attention was paid to the composition of the shots. Director, Brad Silberling, gives us several nicely composed shots, like he did, to more effect, in Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004).
The Land of the Lost has grown up with it’s audience, and apparently with the blessing of the original series creators, Sid and Marty Kroft (they’re credited as producers on the film). In doing so, the story line has seen some changes but the spirit of the series is still in tact.
Director: Brad Silberling
Writer: Chris Henchy, Dennis McNicholas (based on the TV series by Sid and Marty Kroft)
Cast: Will Ferrell, Anna Friel, Danny McBride, Jorma Taccone
Runtime: 102 minutes