LAND OF THE LOST (C+)
This film is based off the 1970's children's television show also titled Land of the Lost. I will warn all movie goers who are parents that Land of the Lost is not a movie you want to bring your kids to. I did not even know the film was PG-13 until I heard the F bomb from Will Ferrell, which was my favorite part I may add. Any movie featuring a beautiful woman killing in her role gets praise first in most of my reviews. In that tradition, I am going to give it up for the goddess Anna Friel who plays Ferrell's love interest Holly. (look down)
Land of the Lost features Ferrell playing Dr. Rick Marshall, a scientist with some outlandish theories on time travel and alternate dimensions. The scientific community all think Rick is crazy. During an interview on NBC, Matt Lauer and Rick express their distaste for each other as Lauer calls out his delirious theories. For his beliefs Rick is relegated to preaching his ideas to children in his new profession as a school teacher.
Holly comes along and tells Dr. Marshall she has studied his theories at Cambridge University. She inspires him to create his life long ambition and key to alternate world travel, a Tachyon Particle Accelerator. The tachyon readings happen to be highest at a run down carnival river ride owned by a hill billy named Will (the hilarious Danny Mcbride). Holly, Dr. Marshall, and Will are transported into the alternate universe, which they of course describe as the lost land....or wait Land of the Lost sorry.
The three discover they have to survive amongst a strange new world with primates, dinosaurs, and amphibian like creatures called Sleestaks. They come across a Sleestak scientist who informs them that an evil Sleestak plans to overthrow the universe with the power of some magical crystals, and only Dr. Marshall can save them all.
Now let's talk about the movie.
The direction by Brad Siberling (City of Angels) was very good. I thought the scenes had very good camera angles that helped the element of story telling. The CGI looked great and worked seamlessly with Brad's directing. One particular good scene is the introduction of the T-Rex known as Grumpy as he runs by the camera with his tail swooshing across the screen.
The acting was nothing special, but it was executed to compliment the story fine. Ferrell and Friel have chemistry in their relationship which makes you actually care about the story. McBride and Ferrell feed off each other, and together make strong comical tandem.
The characters were written and cast superbly. If you like Will Ferrell, his portrayal of Dr. Marshall will be right up your alley. Friel and Mcbride had complimentary characters who worked great to make this movie have at least 3 redeeming features. The dialogue in the film is the only good writing, and provides most of the humor.
The script was the basis for most of my distaste for this movie because of its inconsistent nature. The storytelling was terrible. Minus a few plot twists the story was weakly told. Plot holes are everywhere with poor transitions between scenes (bad editing too) makes the story telling seem like a failure. Sometimes it is so blatant it makes you scratch your head (Ferrell escaping from the Hummer). The writers should have taken some time to elaborate on this entire alternate universe, which seems completely unexplained. The Sleestak antagonist is hardly intimidating, and barely seems like a threat accomplish his proposed evil deeds.
The primate Cha-Ka is not very likable and annoyed me more than anything. Plus this primate speaks a squawking monkey language that Holly goes from understanding to translating word for word (I really hated that). Plus the primate understands English sometimes? Don't worry he took ESL at the alternate world university. The T-Rex Grumpy added funny story elements, so at least one Land of the Lost creature was worth screen time.
Overall, the cast is funny, but it is not enough to save the inept writing that makes up the story telling. The film has redeeming qualities like Ferrell, McBride, and Friel. Add its humor and I enjoyed much of the film. But being a writer I could not ignore the sore that destroyed a potentially really good movie. The screen writers who composed this mediocre story were Dennis McNicholas and Chris Henchy. Between them, The Ladies Man (so unbelievably terrible) and a bunch of television writing are all they have to their credit. Their inexperience shines through minus some funny dialogue. If you are going to see a comedy this weekend, catch The Hangover.