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Land of the Lost (3/10)

by Tony Medley

Runtime 93 Minutes.

I kept thinking that this movie was the equivalent of a succubus, slowly sucking out my intellect with each succeeding scene. As I sat there in awe at the sheer inanity of the script (Chris Henchy & Dennis McNicholas), and story (based on a theme by Sid and Marty Krofft, who created it as a television series, and are listed as co-producers of the film), I could feel myself descending to the intellectual level of the creature sitting next to me, dressed in tattered jeans, scuffed sneakers, laughing uproariously at each and every appearance of Will Ferrell, who plays the lead character, Dr. Rick Marshall.

Dr. Rick develops a time machine that takes him sideways in time to where time periods are merged. On the trip with him are research assistant Holly (Anna Friel) and a redneck survivalist, Will (Danny McBride). Once there they are joined by Chaka (Jorma Taccone), a pre-humanoid primate that only Holly can understand.

There are actually some good things about this. One is that director Brad Silberling keeps the action moving so that there is a semblance of interest about what the characters are going through. Friel is beautiful and gives a good performance, as does McBride. Finally, the T-Rex who wants to gobble up Dr. Rick is very realistic, so kudos to the CGI. In fact the movie only lights up with the T-Rex makes its periodic appearances.

But on the other hand, the monkey suit that Chaka walks around in is so amateurish it looks like something out of a 1920s sci-fi silent film, as are some of the other creatures who walk around in corny suits that make them look like alligators walking upright. They can create a really realistic dinosaur, but they canít make a simian that looks like a pre-humanoid simian? Hasnít anybody involved with this film ever seen ďThe Planet of the Apes?Ē Even though that was 40 years ago, it was far superior to what is used in this film.

The simple story is that the machine that Dr. Rick has invented to get them where they are has been lost and they have to find it to get back. The phony upright alligators are also after it so they can control the universe. The entire thing is played for laughs.

Ferrell has been worse. I have to give it to the guy, though. Heís got an old manís body, with middle age spread. When he strips off his shirt he looks as if he has a worn out Michelin under his skin around his waist, but he still takes it off and flashes his upper torso. Itís a disgusting thing to see, but no worse than sitting through this, even if you arenít next to a guffawing imbecile.

Ferrell and his buddies have created so many ridiculous films, masqueraded as comedy, that they have influenced a Pavlovian reaction in people like the guy next to me so that they actually induce real laughter reacting to things that arenít even the slightest bit funny. Clap your hands and theyíll laugh. Apparently appealing to the intellectual level of a dog is a money-maker in todayís Hollywood.

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