The Case For Land of the Lost

It didn't take much reading between the lines of my Land of the Lost coverage over the past few days to deduce my feelings about it. But now that the embargo is up, let's make this official: I liked Land of the Lost. I quite liked it. This probably instantly tags me as some of kind of review leper, left to gather my appendages and join the other smattering of pro-Lost outcasts (Roger Ebert among them) penned in quarantine camps on the far outskirts of the critical community. So be it.

And while I'm not particularly surprised that a movie so fully committed to its own audience-pleasing-be-damned ridiculousness is getting severely trounced (Tomatometer: 25%), I can't help but wonder what's fueling the virulence of some of these attacks. They're not just personal, as if providing the writer a shining moment to take down Ferrell and everything he stands for, but they also seem as though they'd been fully formulated before foot had even stepped into theater: How dare Universal throw $100 million at an obscure kiddie fantasy show? How dare Ferrell play another boastful buffoon?

Well they did, and he does. Do I care what it cost? Not really. It's their money. If anything, the scale of the production led me to respect Lost that much more. Bravo to the efforts of director Brad Silberling, Ferrell and Danny McBride -- his white trash Bing Crosby -- to keep at arms' length a studio undoubtedly hungry for a family-friendly CGInosaur romp, and instead make the incredibly weird movie they wanted to make.

I suppose all of this would be besides the point if the movie wasn't funny, but it is funny. In some ways, it's a testament to the power of expectations -- something I touched upon in my Hangover review. But regardless of how you go in, though, any movie will eventually have to chug along on its own merits. And Lost made me laugh. Not constantly, but frequently -- and when the bits hit, they hit harder than anything in The Hangover did. And I wasn't the only one: There were laughs coming from all over that theater. Some of them were delayed reactions, some only came from certain pockets, some weren't so much laughs as they were involuntary sounds the diaphragm creates when you don't know how to react to something. But nearly all felt pleasurable, and none were canned. The movie prods at you like that embarrassing friend in every group who would literally go to any lengths to crack you up. In that way, it's not entirely unlike Zach Galifianakis's Hangover character: frequently crass and socially unacceptable, utterly weird but always boldly unapologetic, and -- when the moons align just right -- fucking funny.

Is it a great film? No. But let's get real here: This isn't Gielgud in The Tempest. It's Ferrell in Land of the Lost. I'm not sure why it's not listed on his IMDb profile, but it deserves a proud place there. Rating (out of 10): 8



Comments

  • Here's the reason for the anger:
    * Ferrell remains a polarizing figure. Either you embrace his shtick or you don't.
    * The original show is junk, even though I grew up watching every episode.
    * The film feels lazy - it's very clear half the jokes if not more were ad libbed.
    * Ferrell and co really pushed the movie via every marketing outlet they could find.
    * It's really a poor movie, and an unwise choice for kids given the few bawdy moments that could easily have been left out.
    But bravo for bucking the conventional wisdom. Nothing wrong with that, as long as its from the heart!

  • Inhaler says:

    I'd rather be entertained by a "dumb-comedy" flick like Land of the Lost, then trudge through some pretentious film like The Reader or Revolutionary Road. This regardless of the tomatometer.

  • Gerald says:

    You said fucking!

  • Alex says:

    False dichotomy, seemingly like Land of the Lost, The Reader and Revolutionary Road suck. Unless you are arguing dumb terrible film vs. slightly less dumb terrible film. I dunno, I like to see good movies.

  • anon says:

    It's not Gielgud in The Tempest, but is it Gielgud on a bungee pissing into a pool in Prospero's Books?

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