It’s hard to really say whether this film is better or worse than 2008’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth. The vaguely postmodern remake of Jules Verne’s novel was more of a theme park ride than a movie, sure, but it had a certain charm about it, mainly thanks to Brendan ‘I’ll only act in front of a greenscreen’ Fraser. First of all, with Land of the Lost we certainly see a bigger budget put to use. The deliberately kitsch art design is cute, and the rubber-suited lizard men are a welcome change from the ubiquitous CGI. Alas, these are pretty much the only elements that hit the mark.
Speaking of Mark, I’m sure he’s happy that I’ve rushed out to see this flick so he doesn’t have to, because we all know how much he hates Will Ferrell. To be fair, Ferrell’s pretty ordinary here as quantum palaeontologist Dr. Rick Marshall (the title of his specialisation is about as clever as this film gets). Whereas Venkman, Stantz and Spengler made psuedoscience cool, Dr. Rick Marshall is merely boring. After being ridiculed for his theories on time warps, he manages to get himself sucked through one thanks to the younger and beautiful Holly Cantrell (Anna Friel), a researcher kicked out of university for being an outspoken supporter of Marshall’s theories. Danny McBride is along for the ride also, playing the same character he usually does. If you think fart jokes are funny, then you’ll love what writers Chris Henchy and Dennis McNicholas have come up with. The cast manage to get covered in saliva, urine, blood and faeces (not necessarily in that order) in an effort to get back home. I’d like to say that such scatological events are simply distractions from an otherwise entertaining, action packed plot, but this isn’t the case.
The film instead relies on McBride and Ferrell’s ability to spin funny moments out of nothingness, a difficult task to say the least. It’s clear that many of the half-hearted chuckle-worthy moments (and I stress that they are nothing more) were adlibbed, and perhaps it is a testament to their talents that the film is ever so vaguely watchable.
Land of the Lost feels empty, devoid of any love whatsoever. Was anyone interested in this film for any other reason than making some money? I don’t mean to sound naïve, but most big budget Hollywood films have some glimmer of passion about them. Despite the fact that we all hate him, when Michael Bay blows things up, it’s clear that he really enjoys doing it. I can’t see how anyone in the cast or crew of Land of the Lost was more than even marginally interested in the work they were doing – it was just another job.
… And I think I just answered the question that was bothering me at the start of this review. Journey to the Centre of the Earth was better.Rating: