Considering the fact that I never watched the Seventies television show “Land of the Lost,” and adding in the reality that I have never found Will Ferrell particularly funny, it seemed like a lost cause to go and see “Land of the Lost,” his new theatrical spin on that old TV series.
The one thing that made it seem possibly palatable was the presence of Anna Friel, a favorite from the oddball series “Pushing Daisies.” Danny McBride, the third in the triumvirate that tumble through time and end up in the wacky lost land populated by dinosaurs, gorilla-men, and scaly green aliens, has also made me laugh in comedy flicks like “Tropic Thunder” and “Pineapple Express.”
And much to my surprise, the combination of those actors with a funny script written by Chris Henchy (who is most well-known outside of Hollywood as Brooke Shields’ husband), the spirited and fast-moving direction of Brad Silberling, and, yes, I will admit it, the extremely amusing performance that Will Ferrell gives as loser scientist Dr. Rick Marshall, and “Land of the Lost” turned out to be a great way to spend two hours in a darkened theater.
In fact, all three leading actors are terrific, as is Jorma Taccone, an Emmy award-winning “Saturday Night Live” writer-director-composer (he won for co-writing the classic “Dick in a Box”) and sometime actor, who takes on the gorilla-man role of Cha-Ka and makes us laugh throughout the flick.
Plus, there’s plenty of great special effects that keep “Land of the Lost” viewers on the edge of their seats, especially when it comes to a Tyrannosaurus rex who relentlessly chases our heroes across a wacky landscape and who proves that some dinosaurs are not dumb as rocks, as Dr. Marshall previously believed. The little green aliens – the same “Sleestak” that populated the TV show – are smarter, too, and they have a plan to take over the universe by controlling time travel, which it is up to our hardy heroes to thwart.
Don’t go into “Land of the Lost” looking for a sensible plot or for a deep understanding of the human condition, however. For this is a perfect summer movie, total escapism, lots of action and laughs, and perhaps the first movie of 2009 that has completely surprised me by far surpassing my expectations.
Insider’s note: watch for all the fun movie references that are dotted throughout, from “The Wizard of Oz” to “2001: A Space Odyssey” and many, many others beyond.
Studio/Official Site: http://www.landofthelost.net/