Movie Review: Land of the Lost


lotl-annaFriday night, I finally made it out to see the new Will Ferrell comedy, Land of the Lost, while my kids went to see “Night at the Museum 2”. They got the better end of the deal. (Warning Spoilers)

The Good: The set design was very good. I can’t argue at all with the look of the movie. The creatures were real enough, with just enough camp to be a Krofft production.

Anna Friel, Will Ferrell, and Jorma Taccone (Chaka) did a pretty good job keeping me into the movie. Mostly, with the exception of the many Ferrell-isms, they were taking the story seriously, and it kept me engaged.

I had one (sorry just one) laugh out loud moment in the film. As Marshall, Will and Chaka are lying stoned in the desert, a giant crab appears to attack, but falls in a volcanic sinkhole. It pops back up, and breaks into pieces…perfectly steamed. Which the trio proceed to eat. The comic timing (editing) was perfect, and made me laugh.

The Bad: This was a terrible movie. It didn’t know what it wanted to be. In the beginning the it kind of comes across as a serious movie (other than the over the top part of the Matt Lauer scene). Rick Marshall is supposed to be a brilliant scientist who is cast out of main stream science for his theories, and at the beginning of the movie he appears to be (think Doc Brown from Back to the Future). Why was he such a buffoon later on? How could that person have built the device?

Also, having read A Brief History of Time, The Cosmos Explained, Parallel Worlds and Hyperspace, I know that “main stream science” has embraced theories like Rick Marshall’s. Maybe I’m over thinking it, but why did this have to be about a failed scientist. The only thing that would have to be eliminated or adjusted was the Matt Lauer storyline. And it wasn’t that funny anyway.

The boob jokes were over-used and just became annoying after awhile. A child asking “do dinosaurs have boobies” was cute, but out of place. Will’s description of the boob-mugs that he sold in his store was just strange. The first time Chaka grabs Holly’s breast was funny. The next twelve times (at least) that someone grabbed Holly’s chest was forced and annoying.

Several other things were just confusing. They set up for Zarn to be an ally, but then Marshal killed the Sleestaks that were loyal to Zarn. Enik was supposed to be hurt, but he was fine after the gang found him, and nobody seemed to notice. Why did Marshall treat Chaka like crap?

What I assume were ad-libs between Ferrell and McBride were very out of place. They seemed to be having their own little battle going, and in different context, might have been funny. I found it to be distracting, and pulled me out of the movie. I’m a fan of Ferrell comedies, and this was just weird.

I wouldn’t blame the story/script because it did have potential. My blame, after watching the film, is placed on director Brad Silberling. He didn’t maintain enough control of the film, or he didn’t give up enough to Ferrell. What we got was a mismatched film that goes nowhere. I might have enjoyed “Anchorman with Dinosaurs”.