Fanny and Alexander it ain’t.
If you want to see a movie this weekend that will stimulate you intellectually and remind you of the pains and pleasures of childhood, don’t see Land of the Lost. But, if you grew up in the 1970s and enjoyed the TV shows of Sid and Marty Krofft and want to re-experience their weirdness and wackiness of their imaginary worlds, then head on out to your local multiplex and catch this flick. It is a lot of fun and is particularly enjoyable with a bucket of popcorn.
Perhaps, one of the greatest delights of the movie was how much it called back to the original, classic 1970s TV series, They didn’t overdo the CGI effects. Only the dinosaurs were CGI, the rest of the creatures were just those we saw in monster movies of the 1950s and ’60s and TV shows of the 1960s and ’70s, actors in rubber (or hairy) suits. It added to the film’s campy nostalgia appeal. Even the way the reptilian Sleestaks walked seemed reminiscent of old monster movies. As I watched this movie last night, perhaps seeing a Sleestak on screen for the first time in three decades, I wondered if their strange shape, facial structure and green coloring inspired George Lucas to create the Rodian species, of whom Greedo (so ceremoniously dispatched by Han Solo in the cantina) is perhaps the most familiar representative.
In this re-imagined world of Sid and Marty, Dr. Rick Marshall (Will Ferrell), Holly Cantrell (Anna Friel) get sucked into a space-time vortex while trying out his tachyon beam emitter (or some such) with Will Stanton (Danny McBride) while that latter had been giving them a tour of his cheezy fake cave (basically a poor imitation of a Disneyland ride) in the middle of the desert. Once, in this alternate universe, they face strange monkey men, befriending one of their number, Cha-ka (Jorma Taccone), get chased by a Tyrannosaurus Rex (with a brain larger than a walnut), face down the reptilian Sleestak and meet a strange alien in a clear pylon.
There are many references to the original series. And like many contemporary movies, it’s basically just a series of sketches grouped around a common theme, here, a self-important temporal (or whatever) paleontologist’s adventures in a strange land with a compassionate female scientist (who has the hots for him) and a dumb redneck along for comic relief. But, each scene is fun enough that you kind of forget the absence of plot. In short, it’s the kind of movie we enjoyed as kids.
And if you suspend disbelief for long enough, even if you’ve grown up, you’ll enjoy this one too. It reminds you of your childhood pleasures, particularly those of us who grew up experiencing the zany imagination of the Krofft brothers on our parents’ television screens.