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DVD Review: Land of The Lost (2009)

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Land of The Lost was a TV show that aired on CBS from 1974 through 1976 that followed the adventures of Marshall and his children Will and Holly as they were transported to a world of dinosaurs. The show was cheesy, campy and fun for the kids watching it and has become a cult favorite.

In 2009 a theatrical version was released, starring Will Ferrell, Anna Friel and Danny McBride. Rick Marshall (Will Ferrell) is a paleontologist who has a theory about time warps and after attacking Matt Lauer on The Today Show is kicked out of the science department and ends up working at a museum teaching children. All that changes when Holly Cantrell (Anna Friel) shows up showing him a fossil imprinted with the image of his lighter. She urges him to finish his tachyon amplifier which will detect these time warps. Using the amplifier Rick and Holly find a strong warp presence at the Devil’s Canyon which is being run by tour guide Will Stanton (Danny McBride). Rick activates the amplifier and the three are transported to a parallel universe and lose the amplifier.

In this universe they find all sorts of items that have been transported there, as well as numerous dinosaurs including a T-Rex with a bad attitude Anna nicknames “Grumpy” as well as a Pakuni named Chaka (Jorma Taccone) who is their guide in this new world. They must find the amplifier to return home, avoid all sorts of dinosaurs including Grumpy who is stalking them, and stop an invasion by the lizard-like Sleestaks.

While the movie wasn’t a financial success, it was a fun movie to watch. I had gotten tired of Ferrell doing the same character in a sports-comedy and this was a refreshing change of pace. McBride is funny and if you’ve seen Eastbound & Down, which McBride stars in and Ferrell serves an executive producer and has appeared a couple of times, you know how funny they can be when teamed up. Friel is great at portraying Marshall’s equal as well as his love interest. The movie differs from the show in many ways including making the leads non-family members, but it also looks great and was a fun adventure and includes elements from the show, instead of making fun of it. It’s too bad it didn’t do better than it did, because it would have been fun to watch several movies with these characters.

The extras for Land of The Lost include a commentary with director Brad Silberling who goes into detail about changes from the show. Why he made the changes for the movie and what it was like filming the movie. Sadly, Ferrell isn’t part of the commentary which could have benefitted from a second participant. Ferrell often records commentaries for his films, so he’s missed on this track. What would have been nice is a commentary with Ferrell, McBride, Friel and Taccone recounting their time on turning the cult classic into a film.

There are three deleted scenes that have the option to play with or without commentary from Silberling, which include an alternate scene of Marshall taking to the kids, which is funnier than the film version but might have caused a change in ratings because of the content. In the commentary Silberling mentions an extended cut for the third scene, but I don’t think we’ll ever see Land of The Lost: The Director’s Cut/Extended Edition.

"A Day in the Life of Big-Time Movie Star Danny McBride" is a funny behind-the-scenes featurette that follows Danny McBrinde around as he interacts with Ferrell, Friel, Taccone and Silberling who get annoyed with him and his antics and decide to “fire” him and finish his scenes using CGI.

"Devil's Canyon Gift Shop Commercial and Tour" is a commercial for the Devil’s Canyon Gift Shop (where the dimensional portal resides) with Will Stanton who then gives a tour of the shop while highlighting certain goods and then stumbles across Will Ferrell who’s shooting his film and gets him to shoot a testimonial for the Gift Shop.

Land of The Lost wasn’t an exact translation of the TV show to the silver screen but Ferrell, McBride, Friel and Taccone give us a fun movie that should have done better than it did. There was even a setup post credits that could have given us a sequel, but sadly won’t happen.

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