Saturday, June 6, 2009
Land of the Lost
I want my 93 minutes back. I am ashamed to admit that I paid to see Land of the Lost at the theater. Waxing nostalgic, I figured that this film might take me back to the campy days of my youth, when this television series was so bad it was good. Addictingly unique and interesting. Will Farrell and Danny McBride were supposed to be the icing on the cake. Wrong.
It seemed as if there were elements of the original television series that they attempted to incorporate into the movie to connect this film to her roots. It didn't work. It would have been better to make this film stand alone than to try and meet halfway. The camping trip and rapids that led our original family to the strange land was replaced with a show-tune laden science experiment that transported three adults into the past. I sort of missed the whole kid angle.
Forget what you remember about the original. The sleestaks are about the only thing that seemed to remain the same. Dr. Rick Marshall (Will Farrell) is an embarrassingly outspoken proponent of a theory on time warps. He hawks his book on Matt Lauer only to be laughed out of the scientific community. A young and attractive aspiring scientist, Holly Cantrell (Ariel Friel) seeks out Dr. Marshall and convinces him to resume his research. The two end up testing a prototype device that send them into the past. Along the way, they pick up an unlikely passenger in Will Stanton (Danny McBride), a strange guy that is part fireworks, part novelty item salesman. Did I mention that Stanton also runs a broken down cave amusement...what a great place to transport through time.
When the three arrive in the past, they bumble their way through a variety of obstacles while meeting some throwbacks to the original program. The film seemed to try and incorporate elements in a forced manner that made it feel more like a discussion of the series than a plot. The rather thin plot lies in recovering the device that transported them into the past to avoid it falling into the wrong hands. A minor (and predictable) plot twist evolves before the trio has an opportunity to escape through a temporarily available portal back to the present day.
If this film were campy, I might like it. If it were funny, I might like it. If it had decent dialogue or an interesting story line I might like it. This film had none of the above. It was the lowest common denominator, which is basically cheap humor and hackneyed dialogue. There were a few good lines, but the situational humor was transparent and weak. The few pieces of this film that tied it to the past were poorly done. I was bored, disinterested and disappointed in this film.
I like Will Farrell. I find him to be uncommonly funny at times. It surprises me that Farrell agreed to this gig, because it left very little room for him to work his magic. Although Farrell managed to amuse a couple of times, I found most of the cheap humor turned me off. I think Danny McBride has been brilliant in past movies, as well. His offbeat dry humor strikes a chord with me. McBride played his normal role in this film, and for the most part I liked it. I had a bit of trouble enjoying the situational aspects of the film, but McBride still cracks me up. I like his brand of humor. Friel was a pretty face. Her role was unconvincing and she didn't do anything to sell me on it. I can't really blame her, but she did not bring anything of value to an otherwise weak script.
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