Published Jun 04, 2009Seventies sci-fi cult curio classic Land of the Lost has undergone a big-budget Ferrell-over, and borderline appropriateness looks good on it. Jettisoning the original TV show's family-packaged leads of a father and his two kids in favour of a loony scientist, his lovely research assistant and Danny McBride doing his thing as a redneck tour guide paves the way for a madcap take on the material.
Will Ferrell's dimensional time warp-obsessed scientist Rick Marshal has been laughed out of scientific circles. Years later, he's approached by Holly Cantrell, a researcher inspired by his theories, played by the charming but underused Anna Friel. Discovering that Dr. Marshal has built his theoretical tachyon amplifier, Holly presses him to do a field test, which leads them to a desert trash guided raft trip with Will Stanton, the aforementioned McBride as the redneck de-jour. Cue trip down a waterfall and through a portal to the land of the lost.
Ferrell uses a measure of reserve as Dr. Marshall, reacting mostly as a man who's caught between being absolutely intrigued by the incredible world around him and scared shitless, all the while feeling that as a scientist, he should have some idea of what's going on, but is usually hilariously endangered in finding out just how wrong he can be.
Heavy-duty computer graphics treat the throngs of fantastic creatures the explorers encounter to stellar realization, handling the ridiculous, the threatening and the simply awesome with equal skill. Encounters with rigid humanoid reptiles called Sleestak, an ornery T-rex named "Grumpy" and a somewhat evolved primate called Cha-ka, who befriends the humans, are all preserved from the original show's mythology, though it's a safe guess that a bunch of baby dinosaurs only soothed by show tunes was a new addition.
Land of the Lost isn't exactly a movie for kids, nor is it a fully adult-oriented comedy. It's built on minimal curse words and gore but there is a lot of sexual innuendos and ridiculousness, including a drug-fuelled, interspecies near-make-out session. Mature kids and immature adults everywhere should love it. (Universal)