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Massawyrm laughs at and likes LAND OF THE LOST, but doesn't love it...

Published at: June 5, 2009, 9:41 a.m. CST

Hola all. Massawyrm here. There is a small window of time between 1974 and the early 80’s during which, if you were a boy, and by chance you possessed the potential for high levels of nerdity, odds are Saturday mornings meant you were watching LAND OF THE LOST. Quite possibly the best (and certainly one of the best known) of the Sid & Marty Krofft insanity of that era (which included such classics as HR PUFFNSTUFF and THE BUGALOOS), what set this bizarre kids show apart from the rest was that they were doing something few other shows of its time were doing. It was telling real science fiction stories to kids. Not trumped up recycled versions of much better science fiction – actual, honest to God experimental science fiction. That’s not to say that it all holds up. The effects were terrible, the budgets incredibly small and the action is tame, even by the standards of the time. But for kids? Man, it was our Star Trek – only with dinosaurs instead of starships. So of course I was interested in hearing that they were relaunching it with a reboot film. But all my interest faded the moment I heard it was going to be a Will Ferrell comedy vehicle. As I’ve written many times before, I’m no fan. I think there’s a lot more to Ferrell than we’re seeing right now, but the goofy manchild bit officially lost its luster back during the mind numbingly awful KICKING & SCREAMING. Having seen him pull off some great supporting roles and after his fantastic turn in STRANGER THAN FICTION, I know he’s got it in him. But his comedy just rarely makes me laugh. Which is why I was so damned surprised by LAND OF THE LOST. What works about this film is the comedy – not the science fiction. In fact this film’s chief problem is its use of the science fiction to drive the comedy and nothing else. This isn’t a cool, clever family sci-fi film. It’s a comedy first and foremost. And for the most part it is very funny. But you’ve seen it before. In fact, you may have just seen it last summer with JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH. Same principle, same tone. But this is a better film. LAND OF THE LOST is superior to that film in every way. And yet this still isn’t perfect. The film’s biggest problem is that while it is a sci-fi adventure film, the adventure parts just weren’t all that thrilling. There are some great sequences to be sure, but these are mostly elevated by the comedic aspects of the leads Ferrell, Danny McBride and Anna Friel (who most of you know best as the adorable Chuck from PUSHING DAISIES). Will Ferrell makes virtually every single run-for-your-life moment funny. There are a lot of great jokes in each of these and it is heaps of fun. But whenever they try to create (as director Brad Silberling put it) jeopardy, they lost me. I was never invested enough in the characters because they were spoofs. While Friel serves to try to ground two incompetent man-children (Ferrell and McBride) it still isn’t enough to make me believe anything serious is going to happen to these guys. So I just kept waiting for the sequences to find their way back to the jokes. The science fiction is something of a joke here as well. While they do a great job revisiting the LAND OF THE LOST world - complete with some very cool visuals that we’ve never seen before (like the Sleestaks teeth) - they never use that world to tell a real science fiction story; a real adventure story. So it all feels just a bit hollow. It never connects in the way something like GHOSTBUSTERS or SHAUN OF THE DEAD does when offering us solid, gut busting comedy and making us care about the characters at the same time. The one thing the film does superior to the show (aside from the effects) is their presentation of Chaka. I was always annoyed by Chaka. He had his occasions to be very cool – but he was incredibly creepy and often obnoxious. Here Chaka is a lot of fun. Played masterfully by the up and coming SNL writer Jorma Taccone (one of the Lonely Island Trio – you might remember him from HOT ROD or the various SNL digital shorts), Chaka is a bit of a bastard, and pretty damned funny when given a chance. They remove all the adorable ignorant child aspects and actually make him a survivable, somewhat intelligent, mischievous little scamp. And Jorma nails it. Almost unrecognizable beneath the make-up, there are only a few moments where fans will be able to really see him underneath all that fur – mostly when he manages to slip the infamous Jorma dance into an appropriate scene. Complaints aside, the film is a good time. It’s a fun and occasionally very funny romp that is perfect for chomping popcorn. I sat next to Kubla Khan, Harry’s 8 year old nephew, who was hypnotized and uttered a slow, excited “Cooooooool!” every time something really neat happened – so it plays to the kids, despite a bit of raunchy humor. It is the very model of an enjoyable, but not entirely noteworthy summer flick. Worth checking out, but definitely not on par with last weekend’s incredible releases.
Until next time friends, smoke ‘em if ya got ‘em. Massawyrm
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Readers Talkback

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  • June 5, 2009, 9:44 a.m. CST

    Don't mix the red and blue gems

    by orcus

    It would be bad

  • June 5, 2009, 10:17 a.m. CST

    rewatching the old shows

    by zom-bot.com

    i was amazed at just how much it tried to tackle some heavy sci-fi philosophy..however mixing it with the sappy elements and the limiting effects is what makes it camp. i understand now that without those two 'negatives' though, it could have been a really heavy frightening show. I mean, Dad and Will finding alterbate universe versions of themselves fused into a rock wall... they figure out how to set them free but readily admit they don't know if they have released them, or killed them...and so the just have a little sappy 'guess we'll never know son' kodak moment. crazy shit.<P>that said, this is another sort of apologetic review. better than harry's, but it seems like you guys are really guarding your opinions here, and i can't put my fingers on why.

  • June 5, 2009, 10:18 a.m. CST

    i think

    by idrinkyourmilkshake

    i'll pass

  • June 5, 2009, 10:20 a.m. CST

    I hate to disagree...

    by idrinkyourmilkshake

    BUT Will Ferrel is still pretty funny. And I agree-I too thought Kicking and Screaming wasn't that good(although it DID have SOME funny moments)..but STEP BROTHERS was BALLS-OUT funny.I LOVE that film,and he got an approval boost big-time(from me naturally)..after i saw that film.his looks sorta shitty(land of the lost)-but im dying for anchorman 2(WHENEVER that rolls round)

  • June 5, 2009, 10:23 a.m. CST

    its sad

    by bacci40

    that for kids of this gen, their first, and probably only experience, with land of the lost, will be this film<p> yes, the original was done on the cheap, but the krofts had so much respect for kids, that they went out and hired A list sci fi writers for the show<p> im glad that the krofts continue to make money off their creations...im sorry that hollywood doesnt see more potential in them, other than cheap laughs

  • June 5, 2009, 10:34 a.m. CST

    good point bacci

    by zom-bot.com

    LOTL the show wrote the sci-fi in such a way kids could grasp it. i'm still amazed at what they treated so casually...time loops, alternate universes, god-like alien tricksters...but by the point they had established the weirdness, non of it seemed out of place. <P>so it is a little upsetting to hear how sexually frustrated this movie is. like it's almost a cosplay fantasy loosely based on the series. we've all seen evidence of porn based on popular series, characters, cartoons, etc..with results from the lighthearted to the sick and twisted....but at no time watching LOTL would i ever think to turn it into a sex comedy. i guess the only reasons the characters were tweaked was so that the jokes wouldn't be incestuous....looking back, i've seen a ton of children's programming over the years that had strange and obvious subtexts (plushies and furries, homosexuality, etc) that were even noticeable to me as a kid...but i just never saw anything in land of the lost that would bring about so much sex and poop humor. it's too bad an opportunity to have a good NERDY science comedy was passed up, and i'm really surprised they are going so easy on that here. ch-ching indeed.

  • June 5, 2009, 10:35 a.m. CST

    by glenn_the_frog

    I liked the early 90's version of Land of the Lost much better. It was still goofy, but with more modernish effects at the time and the Sleeztacks looks WAY more credible. And it had a cavewoman chick running around in a bikini. Every episode.

  • June 5, 2009, 10:36 a.m. CST

    got a weak spot for the 90's remake too.

    by zom-bot.com

    the daughter was annoying as hell though...and what was the chaka ripoffs name? Stink? totally forgot about the cave babe...how is that possible?

  • June 5, 2009, 10:39 a.m. CST

    Please no "Tits Out For Attention Girl" tomorrow!

    by NeilF

  • June 5, 2009, 10:41 a.m. CST

    Massawyrm - but is it really worth the theatre?

    by A_Clockwork_Irony

    I mean I know scenes on the big screen in general are better, but I'm with you on the reaction when they brought in Ferrell. And to those who say Ferrell is funny, no one's really denying that, but like Stiller, like Vaughn, like so many comedians, they have become one trick ponies. Answer me this, IS there a scene where Ferrell leans down and says to a creature "Hey, what's wrong little fell-" creature eats his face. COME ON how many more times MUST we see that? Like I want to see The Hangover, but I got disappointed by the stupid scene I saw where kids tazer the guy, wait for it, IN THE BALLS - YEAH NEVER SAW THAT COMING DID YA! Lol! (sigh) Okay, carry on.

  • June 5, 2009, 10:48 a.m. CST

    LAND OF THE LOST,,WANT TO SEE IT..

    by kennyd

    IM LOOKING FORWARD TO SEE IT..NOT GOING IN WITH HIGH HOPES..HEY HAVE YOU ALL CHECKED OUT A WEB SITE CALLED ALLMOVIENEWS.NET,GOOD WRITING,SHITTY LOOKING SITE.BUT HE TALK'S ABOUT SCARFACE 2 SON OF TONY.

  • June 5, 2009, 10:57 a.m. CST

    This Movie Looks Like An Awful Piece of Shit

    by Aquatarkusman

    Every time I develop a glimmer of hope for humanity, Will Ferrell makes another movie.

  • June 5, 2009, 11:09 a.m. CST

    i'd say not worth your money at the theater.

    by zom-bot.com

    and that needs to be an important element in reshaping what we define as worthy cinema in these times where we really have to decide- do i want to see a movie- or do i want to eat for two days? is there anything about this flick that merits a view on the big screen? probably not. of the two reviews so far, none have mentioned one. no awe. no grandeur. so it sounds like a on demand rental to me. or even wait until it's playing on cable 5 times a day in a couple months. really. so what is hollywood's next plan for keeping the public going to movies while their incomes decline? 3D. and i'm really surprised this wasn't in 3D.

  • June 5, 2009, 11:13 a.m. CST

    Land of the Lost = Star Trek

    by Bentley_Bear

    Because the writers of Star Trek needed jobs.<p>Hell, even David Gerrold was the story editor for the first season. Walter Koenig also wrote a story. Most of the writers are Trek Vets.

  • June 5, 2009, 11:27 a.m. CST

    zom-bot.com - well said

    by A_Clockwork_Irony

    Maybe 3D would make the Show-interest-in-an-animal-so-it-can-attack-your-head joke. <p> No, I suppose not.

  • June 5, 2009, 11:27 a.m. CST

    Shit, everyone just fix my run-on - lol!

    by A_Clockwork_Irony

  • June 5, 2009, 11:29 a.m. CST

    "so it plays to the kids"

    by Rupee88

    no shit...if you watch the previews, it looks like a dumb kids movie. I can't believe so many of the "adults" here are going to go see it...well grownups with childish minds are not uncommon. Not bashing Massa's review...he's my favorite reviewer on here but his standards dropped a bit with this one.

  • June 5, 2009, 11:30 a.m. CST

    I was already a teen when original show aired

    by crankyoldguy

    But will would watch it at times, since I am the enternal - however cranky - kid, even now as a dad. But I liked Electro-woman and Dyna Girl better - had the hots for both of them, being a young teen boy.

  • June 5, 2009, 11:30 a.m. CST

    clockwork

    by zom-bot.com

    if it's not the concern for animals turning into facial attacks, it's the babytalk to babies and getting the projectile vom or piss. same exact gag, different scenerios. hell, they've based entire movies on each.

  • June 5, 2009, 11:30 a.m. CST

    and yeah LOTL is unwatchable as an adult

    by Rupee88

    talking about the 70s TV series...I fucking loved that show, but tried to watch a few on DVD and they are horrid...terrible acting, poor effects, etc. etc. But once gain Sesame Street is tough to watch now too...it was a great kids show, but nothing more than that...I'll pass on this movie for sure.

  • June 5, 2009, 11:39 a.m. CST

    zom-bot.com/Rupee88

    by A_Clockwork_Irony

    Amen, about those gags. <p> as far as TV, I had the same problem with A-Team. Lol, I couldn't believe I was so into that show. I . . . felt ashamed. Ah, "Through the Eyes of a Child." (for like 20 bucks!)

  • June 5, 2009, 11:43 a.m. CST

    finding new ways to get B.A. Baracus in the air

    by zom-bot.com

    in every other episode never gets old....<P>Face: hey B.A, drink this glass of milk. "okay fool"-passes out.

  • June 5, 2009, 11:47 a.m. CST

    Massa is the only one I trust. I'll see it then.

    by ricarleite2

  • June 5, 2009, 12:12 p.m. CST

    zom-bot.com - Lol! Point made!

    by A_Clockwork_Irony

    Now let's all sing the trash bags song with Murdock!

  • June 5, 2009, 12:19 p.m. CST

    hey B A, we made you a sandwhich

    by zom-bot.com

    naw you fools, i aint eaten your drugged food no more i- (takes gun butt to back of head)

  • June 5, 2009, 12:23 p.m. CST

    Kubla Khan? Really?

    by solanine

    Were his parents specifcally trying to get him made fun of in school? Anyway, this is pretty much what I was expecting. Didn't look like anything great, and like every other Will Ferrell movie, I have no problem waiting until HBO.

  • June 5, 2009, 12:27 p.m. CST

    A-Team Crossover With Battlestar

    by A_Clockwork_Irony

    you knwo you want it! <p> Hannibal "Face, you look like you've just seen a ghost." <p> "In fact I may have. But my brother was killed on Vulcan . . ."

  • June 5, 2009, 12:28 p.m. CST

    And before people freak -

    by A_Clockwork_Irony

    I know I was using Star Trek V as the bridge.

  • June 5, 2009, 12:55 p.m. CST

    Will Ferrel...

    by Cellar Door

    When he moves beyond pure slapstick is quite able to pull off probably much more than we'd be prone to believe but is it me or are the jokes just re-cycled over and over and over and even when you think it's done...it's starts all over again.<p>The mosquito thing sucking blood as he turns gray and gets sleepy...outside of context, how is that any different than shooting himself in the neck with that tranq gun in that fraternity movie? The scenes play exactly the same...people watching as he slowly passes out and falls. Are the contextual differences enough to actually make it a different joke? Methinks, no.<p>But yes, put him in a comedy-drama or something that's not just a dumbass wannabe old school SNL crewed comedy (Animal House, Stripes, Caddyshack, etc) and he's got range. It would be nice if someone would give the guy some more serious but still comedic fare.<p>But even then...as long as the 'arrogant self-important dumbass in some variation of a sports movie' endless march ends, how bad could it be?

  • June 5, 2009, 1:03 p.m. CST

    Jim Carrey the same thing

    by A_Clockwork_Irony

    I think. Unfortunately audiences like to stay in the comfort zone. <p> I remember people coming out of Dead Poet's Society disappointed because it wasn't funny enough. Really, people? After the first hour you hadn't realized it wasn't a comedy? Wowzers!

  • June 5, 2009, 1:03 p.m. CST

    Aquatarkusman

    by frozen01

    "Every time I develop a glimmer of hope for humanity, Will Ferrell makes another movie." *LOL* That seriously needs to be made into a bumpersticker.

  • June 5, 2009, 1:22 p.m. CST

    Comedians

    by Spandau Belly

    I generally avoid movies that star guys who come from either standup or sketch shows. They rarely lose that comedian stink. You know, that whole vibe they give off that they really desperately need attention and to be liked?<br><br>Obviously there's some guys like Eric Bana who break out of it, but most of them just stay in that please-love-me zone and never fully commit to playing characters.

  • June 5, 2009, 1:36 p.m. CST

    Yeah but did he shit in his pants?

    by Han Cholo

    Then you'll know you have a great summer film.

  • June 5, 2009, 3:23 p.m. CST

    [Will Ferrell runs around and screams a lot]

    by Nasty In The Pasty

    There, I just saved you ten bucks.

  • June 5, 2009, 3:52 p.m. CST

    Okay... I have to ask...

    by HB_Dad

    What the fuck is up with the dinosaur ass-raping the ewe?

  • June 5, 2009, 3:55 p.m. CST

    Spandau....exactly right...

    by Cellar Door

    And stink is a good word I think. Robin Williams...who is often quite hilarious has this tendency to never ever shut off. It's as if he's become a part of his own audience and the show must go on and on and on and on and on.<p>Carrey is the same but give the guy some credit for attempting to get out of that stink even if it wasn't exactly successful. Plus, nothing Ferrel and guys like have ever done can compare to Pet Detective (the first one).<p>But your description is exactly right...its like they have to keep pushing that 'schtick' to such an extent that you want to kill them. One perfect example is Tom Green. Andy Dick is another. Robin Williams, tragically, is another. Ferrell obviously has some talent as the Bush on Broadway thing he did was quite funny and that's pure Ferrell so far as I know. But every movie he does is like an old "Ad libs" joke book. Except in stead of verbs, nouns, and adjectives, you add _____ sport, _____ nudity, ______ screaming and yelling, ______ more nudity, etc...<p>But then he pulls a hilarious turn on East Bound and Down, etc, etc...

  • June 5, 2009, 6:14 p.m. CST

    wow this thng died...

    by zom-bot.com

  • June 5, 2009, 6:49 p.m. CST

    Massa, do you work for CHUD?

    by SoylentMean

    Your reviews are hard to pin down, on one side heaping praise upon a film and then completely slamming it for not getting you off. This movie is fuckin' hilarious. <P> Did you actually think this movie was more adventure and less comedy? <P> I want a Grumpy t-shirt right now.

  • June 5, 2009, 8:17 p.m. CST

    wait. you were expecting good scifi?

    by BMacSmith

  • June 5, 2009, 8:18 p.m. CST

    call me a moron if you will, but Ferrell is hilarious to me

    by BMacSmith

    i just think he is funny. hated the ice skating movie and the basketball movie, but the rest i like.

  • June 5, 2009, 8:24 p.m. CST

    you tools actually want a serious LOTL movie?

    by BMacSmith

    are you fucking high? even when i saw it as a kid, i knew it was cheesy, campy stupidity. I find it hilarious that some geeks here are up in arms over this movie not properly respecting the source.

  • June 5, 2009, 8:32 p.m. CST

    You literally could not pay me to see this.

    by SmokingRobot

    This looks bad on an unimaginable scale.

  • June 6, 2009, 12:03 p.m. CST

    Hunh. This movie apparently tanked. Hard.

    by Orbots Commander

    I think I read that it only made about $7 Million for a Friday night. Not good for a big budget special effects movie, even if it is a comedy. Meanwhile, The Hangover is a breakout big hit.

  • June 6, 2009, 1:12 p.m. CST

    Okay since you asked for it...MORON!!!

    by HollywoodHellraiser

    Done.

  • June 6, 2009, 4:06 p.m. CST

    Rick Marshall done right...

    by ObiWan Knievel

    ...thy name is Spencer Milligan. If you're interested in Land of the Lost, you might want to visit my fan site with coverage of both versions of the TV series and the movie. http://personal.linkline.com/enik1138/

  • June 6, 2009, 11:22 p.m. CST

    Original "Land of the lost"...

    by vettebro

    marathon on SciFi channel this weekend.

  • June 6, 2009, 11:26 p.m. CST

    Oops..My bad...

    by vettebro

    "Land of the Lost" marathon is on the Chiller channel not SciFi. I didn't know it was scary...Hmmm...

  • June 7, 2009, 1:08 a.m. CST

    Farrel has earned another chance

    by Magnum Opus

    Step Brother made me want to hate Farrel for pursuing dumbed-down comedy aimed at the lowest common denominator. That film was the opposite of intelligent comedy. Then I re-watched Zoolander and remembered just how jaw-droppingly funny WF can be, so I just can't give up on him yet.

  • June 7, 2009, 5:33 a.m. CST

    Worst movie I've seen in years

    by Drunken Rage

    Here's an example of the humor: Will, Chaka and Marshall get loaded on some sort of berry juice and Will asks Marshall how much $ it would cost for Marshall to french kiss Chaka. Ha! Ha ha! Goddamn this movie is awful. I haven't ever really liked Ferrell, but thought "Step-Brothers" was hilarious. But this, really, is a lot of running around and screaming. I can't remember a worse movie I've seen. Honestly.

  • June 7, 2009, 2:16 p.m. CST

    i remember when this site used to...

    by zom-bot.com

    update on the weekends. now it seems like they just say fuck it and take the whole weekend off while other sites update with breaking stories and reviews. hm.

  • June 7, 2009, 5:46 p.m. CST

    Too busy getting pwesents

    by Sal_Bando

    as in pwesents in mind.

  • June 7, 2009, 6:45 p.m. CST

    I saw this for Anna Friel's thighs...

    by dasaroo

    ... plain and simple. This movie is fucking retarded- it is lobotomized. Too stupid for adults, too raunchy for kids. There's actually a scene where they observe 2 sleestaks butt-fuck.. off-screen, but with color commentary. And Chaka dry-humps everyone in sight. What exactly is the point? What the fuck are they thinking? This movie makes The Cat in The Hat look like fucking Snow White. Harry and Massa can't bring themselves to totally pan it for one reason and one reason only - it's a 200 million dollar movie that's made less than 20 mil this weekend- just read it on the Times website. It is a total disaster in the making. Up is in 1st for the 2nd week (Yay there is a God), Hangover made a hair less in 2nd place, and LOTL is a distant, distant 3rd- as shit-stained as Ferrell's shirt after the Dino shat him out - I kid you not, that's also in the movie, tho mercifully (astonishingly) off-screen.

  • June 8, 2009, 12:07 a.m. CST

    Damn right we want a faithful, serious adaptation

    by SnapT

    On the cheesy concept scale, LAND OF THE LOST makes BATMAN look like PEE WEE'S PLAYHOUSE, but THE DARK KNIGHT came out pretty well anyway. As a creative choice, doing an unfaithful, experimental comedic adaptation was retarded, especially considering the forewarning that was BEWITCHED.

  • June 8, 2009, 7:44 a.m. CST

    The Chaka Guy Should Be A Movie Star

    by Buzz Maverik

    Chaka at the volcano was the best laugh in the movie.

  • June 8, 2009, 11:30 a.m. CST

    Well...shitty or not...

    by Cellar Door

    "Stop being such an asshole, Chaka!" is a hilarious one liner I will use and teach to my heirs.

  • June 8, 2009, 11:35 a.m. CST

    Harry's 8 year old nephew

    by SamuelLappDance

    Can we call a moratorium on reviews in which Harry's 8-year-old nephew is used as the barometer for whether any given film will play to kids? Someone should help this poor boy, who is clearly being force-fed bad CGI crapfests while Harry and his cabal of goateed, thirtysomething hangers-on stare at him throughout because they've long ago lost touch with their inner children. Jeez. How long will it be before the little cretin is literate enough to where HIS reviews will start appearing on the site?