Land of the Lost

Land of the Lost

DIR: Brad Silberling • WRI: Chris Henchy, Dennis McNicholas • PRO: Jimmy Miller Sid Krofft, Marty Krofft • DOP: Dion Beebe • ED: Peter Teschner • DES: Bo Welch • CAST: Will Ferrell, Danny McBride, Anna Friel, Jorma Taccone

The current trend has veered towards making children’s movies that appeal to adults on some level, finding a way for parents to enjoy what is basically a kid’s ride. Land of the Lost seems to attack from another angle, attempting to make an adult fantasy movie with ‘silly bits’ thrown in for the kids. Whilst this makes for some funny moments, the overall effect is disjointed and unworkable.

Falling between the two stools of adult nods and childish crassness, the movie trucks along at a fairly lacklustre pace, never really getting off the ground in terms of excitement or humour – two staples of the ‘summer blockbuster’ cinema experience. The comedy veers between slapstick and referential – going completely over children’s heads on the one hand, and frustrating adults on the other. A sample twenty minutes of the movie gives a sequence where the characters eat hallucinogenics and trip-out, replete with Jimi Hendrix soundtrack and moronic ‘stoned’ conversations. The next scene has one of the characters being ‘pooped’ out of a dinosaur. As a film aiming for either audience, this erratic bouncing hits neither.

In saying that, there are some funny flashes – Danny McBride, as Will, is consistently amusing, and provides many of the movie’s laugh-out-loud moments. Will Ferrell, as the madcap scientist Marshall, delivers his usual pastiche, but it would really be nice if, at some stage in his career, he made a movie where he played a character as someone other than himself. Funny and all as his bumbling ‘great-scottery’ is, it makes for monotonous viewing at times. Anna Friel makes the transition to big screen quite well, if not particularly memorably, as beautiful lab-assistant Holly. In fairness to Ms. Friel, there’s not a lot of meat to the role, but I doubt if Hollywood will be banging down her door based on this movie. Simian slapsticker Chaka is played by Saturday Night Live (SNL) alumni Jorma Taccone, and it’s in his interaction with Ferrell and McBride that the movie gets the majority of its comedy. However, again, the comedy is more SNL than KID, and makes some of the humour awkward and jarring.

Enjoyable though certain points are, what begins as a promising popcorner ends simply as an overextended and overstretched comedy sketch, coming across more as spoof of the time-travelling genre than anything else. While there are undoubtedly funny moments, all-in-all the movie just can’t make it on any one platform – neither as adult fare, nor as something the kids will fully enjoy.

Sarah Griffin
(See biog here)

Rated 12a (See IFCO website for details)
Land of the Lost is released on 31st July 2009
Land of the Lost – Official Website

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