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Summer holidays must be here and the schools broken up as this time of year sees the release of a certain genre of film designed to entertain families and hopefully while away an afternoon. The Land of the Lost straddles the science fiction/screwball comedy genre and if you are keen to spend an afternoon out of the rain at the cinema then this film delivers a number of nice comedy moments. It does have its staged set pieces and amusing routines. The best lines are delivered by the film’s main star, Will Ferrell who plays Dr. Rich Marshall. The cast includes Anna Friel, playing a research assistant and Danny McBride as a sort of American version of Ray Mears (the survival expert). However, be warned that this film, directed by Brad Silberling, is a little near the knuckle with its humour on a number of occasions, some parents may find the humour unsuitable for very young children.
Like many summer movie releases, the plot is very simple. This film is loosely based on the popular TV series of the 1960s of the same title. Our trio of unlikely heroes end up proving Dr. Marshall’s theory of time travel correct and ending up in a strange parallel universe populated by early hominids, lizard people, Pterosaurs and of course dinosaurs. The chase scenes with the T. rex allows Will Ferrell the chance to test some of the theories scientists have regarding this large predator. For example, how fast could a T. rex run, was this dinosaur able to turn swiftly and such like. We enjoyed the references made to some of these theories and concepts.
Brad Silberling has been established as a top Hollywood film director for a number of years now. The last picture we saw that he had directed was the children’s movie Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, starring Jim Carrey. The film also starred Liam Aiken. This example of Brad Silberling’s earlier work was based on a novel by Daniel Handler. The humour in this previous example of the work of Mr. Silberling is somewhat darker than in Land of the Lost. In the film, Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, the storyline concerns three orphans who are sent to live with their uncle. He attempts increasingly bizarre ways of killing them, all good family entertainment; and in the role of the attempted assassin, Jim Carrey is excellent. The humour in the Land of the Lost, although aimed at children, relies rather more on slapstick and staged set pieces for the gags and laughs.
If you like the bumbling humour of Will Ferrell then you won’t be disappointed. As stated earlier, the film is based on a old American TV series, since we cannot remember this TV show it is hard to compare this new movie with the original television programmes.
Being chased by a Tyrannosaurus rex and having to deal with strange tribes does not seem to have affected Will Ferrell’s enthusiasm for new movie projects. No sooner had Land of the Lost been completed Mr. Ferrell embarked on a number of new film projects including a Sherlock Holmes story. It seems that for Will Ferrell things are going to come round in a nice, neat circle. He has starred in a film called Land of the Lost and one of his next roles is going to be playing in a Sherlock Holmes movie, the character was the creation of the author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle that penned the novel The Lost World, the story of Professor Challenger and his team visiting a strange land and battling with prehistoric animals.
The Lost World novel was a sensation when it was first printed, it was made into a movie in the late 1920’s. This was one of the first movie roles for dinosaurs, the prehistoric animals were brought to life using models and stop/start motion animation techniques. The special effects for this particular movie were created by Willis H. O’Brien, an early pioneer of the special effects industry. Mr. O’Brien went onto work on perhaps the most famous monster movie of all time, King Kong, starring a certain great ape. King Kong was released in 1933 and is widely regarded as one of the most important and influential films ever made. It allowed a movie audience to view dinosaurs and other fantastic creatures and firmly established the genre of science fiction/fantasy within the realms of Hollywood. The film King Kong, with Fay Wray as beauty taming the huge primeval beast cost only a few thousand dollars to make, but went onto break many box office records and became a sensation on release. The screenplay for this film was inspired by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s novel the Lost World.
Visiting a strange land and having to get to grips with a Tyrannosaurus rex in Land of the Lost seems ideal training for Will Ferrell as he prepares for his role in the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle inspired Sherlock Holmes movie.
write by Gregory Binford