Directed by Brad Silberling
Written by Chris Henchy and Dennis MacNicholas
Starring Will Ferrell, Danny McBride, and Anna Friel
From here on out if anybody asks me to point out an example of an uneven movie I will be able to point to Land of the Lost. It's not that the movie is bad but it's certainly not good. It's very much in the middle because it doesn't seem to be able to make a single decision concerning any direction it needs to go in.
The film is based on the old Saturday morning TV show of the same name. As the opening credits of the TV show told us a scientist named Rick Marshall is on a routine expedition with Holly and Will when there is a mighty earthquake and they are transported to the land of the lost. In the film Rick Marshall is a disgraced Quantum Paleontologist, Holly is a fellow scientist, and Will is an employe of a fireworks store. Marshall is trying hard to convince the world that time travel exists and Holly encourages him to keep going. They stop by Will's firework store/amusement park and discover that time travel is possible.
A great deal of the film is solidly set in just being a stupid comedy. Then there is another part of the film that is a pretty good action/adventure film. As a stupid comedy it is sadly, very effective. A great number of jokes are bathroom humor jokes. Rick pours a couple gallons of dinosaur urine on himself to get away from a T-Rex. There are also many references and sight gags involving poop. That's all well and good and if I'm being honest I did chuckle at a few of them. My problem with a couple of the jokes is that they are a little beyond what the PG-13 audience should understand. There are a few sexual jokes that simply didn't belong in a film that is being marketed to "tweens."
Rick and Will, played by Will Ferrell and Danny McBride, have some really funny scenes together. The conversation comes naturally between these actors and as an audience member I could tell that they were having fun. The best jokes and moments in the film come from these two actors.
The action scenes in this film are actually very well done. They are exciting and full of suspense. The dinosaur CGI looks great and the actors are able to convincingly interact with them. There is one action scene involving a T-Rex, a catapult, and a tank of liquid nitrogen that is very well done. However, these scenes didn't fit too well with the rest of the movie. They felt out of place with the simple comedy that was in the rest of it.
One of my biggest problems with the film is that Rick Marshall is suppose to be a disgraced scientist but because he is such an idiot it's hard to believe that he could do anything of importance. The opening of the film really bothered me because of this reason. In this scene Rick is being interviewed by NBC's Matt Lauer, who is playing himself. Rick is such a buffoon in this scene that I couldn't find any humor in his banter with Lauer. Matt Lauer is a credible journalist and the whole time I couldn't understand why he was interviewing Rick Marshall. The scene would have been much funnier had it played more like Matt Lauer's actual interview with Tom Cruise. In that infamous interview Lauer allowed Tom Cruise to make a fool out of himself. I wish this fictional scene with Rick Marshall had as many hilarious moments as that real one.
In the end Land of the Lost tries to have their cake and eat it too. They never combine the great action sequences with the stupid humor and I was not sure what movie I was watching. Had director Brad Silberling been able to combine the two films it would have been pretty entertaining. In the end it was just uneven.