Land of the Lost (2009) Review

Land of the Lost fans are going to be ticked. While the original show is a campy piece of TV history (despite nostalgic fans thinking otherwise), this Hollywood update is stupidly offensive.

Apparently, when you combine a Will Ferrell R-rated comedy and a kids PG-rated comedy, you end up with a PG-13 comedy. How that works only the MPAA will know.

Land of the Lost skirts that line, throwing in forced expletives that are rarely funny much like the rest of the film. Through cheesy comedy science, Will Ferrell is sent back in time with Danny McBride and Anna Friel to (obviously) a land of the lost. Dinosaurs roam free, along with a race of primates. One of the latter befriends the crew, named Cha-Ka (Jorma Taccone).

Their adventure is undeniably fast paced, moving from one random encounter to the next as they explore the world. They fend off a T-rex, escape a pterodactyl nest, survive a mosquito attack, and get high from a fruit.

The problem with all of that is the movie completely runs out of gas in the opening moments during a very funny Matt Lauer cameo. Likewise, the film bookends with Lauer in an equally funny bit before the closing credits. There is more entertainment value in those 10 minutes than the rest of film.

McBride and Ferrell never have a chance to play off each other, reciting lines separately, or given monologues to adlib. There is no connection between them, which is a shame. Both are talented even when typecast, while together they could have a lot of fun. This script chooses to make gags about dinosaur poop… multiple times.

Fans of the show will undoubtedly cringe as Ferrell pays homage to the original by singing the theme song. This is the point where a mosquito begins sucking Ferrell dry before all of the words come out. It is odd because like Ferrell’s character, the movie is losing any life it has left at this point, leading to numerous false endings that grow tiresome.

It is perfectly timed in that sense, not in terms of actual laughs. That’s something Land of the Lost has few of.

Movie ★★☆☆☆ 

landofthelost

This is an astounding AVC encode from Universal. While the Matt Lauer interviews look over processed, flat, and lacking detail (along with some minor edge enhancement), these appear to have been shot digitally. The rest was shot on film, and the result is a superior transfer to hi-def.

Colors are rich, well saturated, and bold. Blacks are deep, delivering wonderful depth to the image. Flesh tones are accurate. The grain structure is wonderful, apparent without being intrusive.

Detail is astonishing. Grains of sand are individually visible in the desert. Faces are filled with texture, and clothing reveals individual stitches. Sharpness is exceptional, with no noticeable drops.

Video ★★★★★ 

Universal delivers in terms of audio, with an outstanding DTS-HD mix. The disc excels at heavy action and fantastic ambience. Inside the caves, water drips are heard in each channel. Echoes are clean, natural, and fill the soundfield.

Characters toss objects aside, with the mix capturing the movement to the stereo channels. Instances of the determined T-rex following the crew are demo-quality material. The footsteps hit the low-end with powerful thumps, and his breathing evident in the rear channels. His roar is likewise a challenge this mix is up for, with crisp highs and deep lows.

Audio ★★★★★ 

As if Universal is taunting Blu-ray buyers with a demo-quality disc for a sub-par film, the extras also deliver. A solo commentary from enthusiastic director Brad Silberling is fine, but overshadowed by a superb 90-minute making-of, This is Not a Routine Expedition. The original series is discussed, along with the need for changes, the homages, and the references in the film, all in-between countless behind-the-scenes clips.

Some deleted scenes with an optional commentary focus on Will Ferrell’s search for food. A Day in the Life of a Big Movie Star follows Danny McBride on set during his day-to-day routine. Mild laughs ensue for about 12 minutes. Devil’s Canyon Gift Shop features a commercial and set tour (with McBride again) of the shop used in the film.

Bradley, Sid, and Marty: A Conversation is a wonderful interview conducted by the director with the show’s original creators. It is honest, informative, and insightful. It lasts 23 minutes. D-Box support and two featurettes downloadable via BD-Live remain.

Extras ★★★★★ 

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