Land of the Lost bombs, and why I didn’t see it.


lotl-nokidsIt was the most obvious pick; the one with the dinosaurs. How could that miss? Sid and Marty Krofft have a treasure trove of creations to pick from, and a fountain of talent in their souls. What happened?

When you adapt an existing story for the big-screen, liberties must be taken. But you can’t change the heart of the story, or it becomes a completely different movie in which you stole a title to make.

The story is not always current, or relevant. For example, Thundarr the Barbarian couldn’t have the world end in 1994; things have to be adjusted. Fellowship of the Ring couldn’t have had the amount of exposition that existed in the novel, we’d all have fallen asleep. CGI dinosaurs need updated to look more realistic…right? Well how come LOTL dinosaurs look more cartoony than Jurrassic Park 16 years ago? Granted, I’m just judging the dinos in the trailer on TV, but that’s where I watched JP, so it’s an even compare.

The action in the film was pretty weak too. I lost count of how many times we saw Ferrell running away from something BIG… then cut to another angle and suddenly the thing chasing him is even further away. Constantly using that exact same mistake took any of the tension or excitement out of the movie. Why get my heart pounding when I know in two seconds the T-Rex will magically be 200 yards further behind him. If was strange the first time it happened… then it just got flat out annoying.

Special effects aside, there were many, many issues with LOTL, as reviews say:

The Daily Iowan:
Ferrell is his usual self, but that is another major problem: We’ve seen this character before. He’s loud, dumb, arrogant, and naked (imagine Ron Burgundy as a scientist). It’s frustrating for the audience, because we want to laugh. We really do. But he’s not providing anything for us — in fact, everything he’s presenting seems to be grabbed out of the recycling bin.

The LA Times:
Like its characters, the film keeps getting lost too, stumbling as it struggles to keep kids and adults from squirming in their seats. There’s a crowd-pleasing, clever T. rex named Grumpy fighting for screen time with a bad and long-running gag built around Chaka grabbing one of Holly’s breasts every time he tries to say her name. Meanwhile, Ferrell is his likable Ferrell self, nothing new or especially exciting to report on that front.

And there’s the element of the movie that prevented me from going. All the reviews are consistent in their description (even the good reviews):

Most importantly, and in the interest of protecting young, corruptible minds, Land of the Lost is absolutely not for children. There’s at least one f-bomb, Rick and Will talk about Sleestaks “tapping that ass,” and there are multiple sequences in which our heroes are violently threatened by a Tyrannosaurus – although he is nicknamed Grumpy.

What?? Not for children?? F-bomb??? Tapping that ass??? It’s based on a children’s television show! I’m speechless. I’ve been preparing my 5 children their entire lives for this movie…and I can’t even show it to them. Granted, my 12 and 13 year olds would be fine seeing it, but I don’t believe my 7 year old daughter is ready for it (the same daughter I spent most of Memorial Day watching the SciFi marathon). The whole family was supposed to go to opening night. Instead, we rewatched Journey to the Center of the Earth again.

My take on this is that they let Will Ferrel have to much control, and he took it too far. Without Ferrel, this movie probably doesn’t get made (at least yet). Ferrel turned it into his own brand of R-rated humor ( which I sometimes enjoy — Anchorman, etc.), but isn’t suited for a kids film. The film synopsis now seems more like the Saturday Night Live parody of the TV show.

Well Krofft fans, this is OUR Phantom Menace. We waited along time for this and….Sid and Marty deserved better. This is more like our holiday special, and the creators will even want to someday forget it.

I promise, I will see the movie and give a proper review of the film itself. I’ll go in expecting an Anchorman or Old School type of movie, and review it on it’s own merit. But nothing will erase the disappointment I’ll have not having my little daughter sitting next to me.