|Land of the Lost|
|Directed by||Brad Silberling|
|Produced by||Sid and Marty Krofft
|Written by||Chris Henchy
Sid and Marty Krofft
|Music by||Michael Giacchino|
|Editing by||Peter Teschner|
Sid and Marty Kroft Pictures
Mosaic Media Group
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Release date(s)||June 5, 2009|
|Running time||102 minutes|
Production began in March 2008. It was originally scheduled to be released on July 9 but the release date was moved up to June 5 to avoid competition with Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. The film grossed $7.1 million on its June 5 opening day, and was #3 at the box office. The film finished its opening weekend in third place, behind Up and The Hangover with a total of $18.8 million, making it Will Ferrell's least-successful summer movie opening to that point. Most critics largely panned the film and box office receipts fell far short of its cost.
An astronaut attempts to contact Houston after apparently crash-landing in an alien environment. As he walks through a jungle he hears a loud roar and we see him scream as the screen goes dark.
On the Today Show, Matt Lauer interviews Rick Marshall (Will Ferrell), a paleontologist who is presenting a book on a theory involving quantum physics as it relates to paleontology that has been largely criticized by the scientific community. The interview falls apart when Marshall is provoked into attacking Lauer.
Three years later, a disgraced Marshall is giving presentations to grade-school children at the La Brea Tar Pits. He is approached by research assistant Holly Cantrell (Anna Friel) who tells him that his theory inspired her. He shows her his unfinished device, the tachyon amplifier. The device could verify his research if he finished it but he has not done so due to lacking self-confidence. After Marshall dismisses Holly she shows him a fossil that supports his theory before leaving. The fossil is an imprint of a cigarette lighter with an engraving that he recognizes as his own. Holly returns and Marshall explains that he finished his tachyon amplifier but was too afraid of failure to turn it on. She convinces him to bring the device to the place where she discovered the fossil.
They drive to a tourist trap called The Devil's Canyon Mystery Cave. Joined by the proprietor, Will Stanton (Danny McBride), Marshall and Holly ride a small raft into the cave, where Marshall has detected high levels of tachyons. Marshall activates the tachyon amplifier, triggering an earthquake. The earthquake opens a rift with a vortex into which the raft falls. The group finds itself in a desert without the amplifier, where they encounter three primate-like creatures, two of them executing the third. They rescue the third primate, Cha-Ka of the Pakuni tribe. After Marshall scares Cha-Ka, he runs away while Marshall chases after him. They are swallowed by a sand pit and find themselves in a "feeding station" where they encounter a Tyrannosaurus who chases them across a crevasse. After Marshall explains that the dinosaur's brain is the size of a walnut, the insulted Tyrannosaurus hurdles the gap and chases them up a mountain into a cave. Holly describes the dinosaur as "Grumpy". They find skeletons from other eras throughout history who also apparently died there. After the cave shakes violently, Marshall finds a package at the cave opening. Inside is a walnut the size of a tire, a message from Grumpy.
The next morning Marshall receives a telepathic message begging for help. The group sets out into the jungle to find the sender. They find a series of ruins and a prismatic obelisk-like pylon. After interacting with it they wake a group of slow-moving lizard-men called Sleestak. They are surrounded but the pylon opens and the group enters. Inside the pylon they find another lizard-man in a tunic who identifies himself as Enik the Altrusian. He explains that he was exiled by the evil Zarn who is attempting take over Earth with his Sleestak minions, but Enik can prevent it if Marshall retrieves the tachyon amplifier. Cha-Ka leads them to a salt flat that is littered with artifacts from Earth. They discover that the flat is a feeding ground for Compsognathus and Velociraptors that await people from Earth. They find the tachyon amplifier, which is promptly swallowed by an Allosaurus that gets into a fight with Grumpy, but soon both dinosaurs chase Marshall. Using an ancient catapult, Will and Holly launch a tank of liquid nitrogen down the throat of the Allosaurus which promptly freezes and explodes, freeing the amplifier. Before Marshall can retrieve it, a Pteranodon flies off with it. Marshall gives up and abandons Will, Holly and Cha-Ka, who return to the jungle. Marshall rejoins them that night with a banjo he found on the salt flat, and apologizes with a song that is interupted when a mosquito-like creature sucks out much of Marshall's blood.
The next morning the group scales the volcano home of the Pteranodon and retrieves the amplifier. Holly repairs the amplifier and finds a cave with dinosaur eggs. She grabs one and puts it in her pack, but is captured by Sleestaks after discovering that Enik deceived them and is actually the one attempting to invade Earth. Marshall and Will investigate Holly's disappearance and watch as two Sleestaks shed their skin prior to mating, which they wear as disguises to rescue Holly after sending Cha-Ka with the amplifier to find Enik. Marshall and Will interrupt an execution ceremony before a wall of Sleestak skulls and rescue Holly who professes her love for Marshall. En route to stop Enik and retrieve the amplifier, Grumpy arrives. Marshall attempts to fight the Tyrannosaur one-on-one but is swallowed whole. Will and Holly return to the ruins to stop Enik themselves but Grumpy reappears, Marshall riding atop him. Grumpy passed Marshall, who dislodged a blockage, improving Grumpy's demeanor. They defeat Enik's Sleestak army and re-enter the Pylon where Enik is opening a portal to Earth. The crystal device that creates the portal is damaged leaving very little time for Marshall, Will and Holly to escape, but Marshall performs a quick-fix while Will wrestles Enik to the ground, allowing Marshall and Holly to escape. Will elects to stay, and learns that female Pakuni are very attractive women.
Marshall reappears on the Today Show, presenting Lauer with the egg Holly retrieved, revealing that they are in a relationship. His book is titled, "Matt Lauer Can Suck It", which triggers another fight between Lauer and Marshall. Left behind on the set, the egg hatches to reveal a baby Sleestak.
The film serves as a parody of the original TV series, similar to Starsky & Hutch and The Brady Bunch Movie. In the original series, the main characters were the father and two children. While the first names remain the same, the film converts the Holly character into an unrelated research assistant to allow for more risque humor because she is the main character's love interest. Will, instead of being a son, is a stoned amusement park operator and survivalist. Rick Marshall is a paleontologist in the film, not a park ranger like in the original series. The film's budget also uses CGI special effects rather than the puppet and stop motion animation effects that defined the original series." While the original Saturday morning show targeted a child audience, the film was designed for a more adult audience and includes profanity, sex, and a drug reference, among other adult-oriented items.
The score to Land of the Lost was composed by Michael Giacchino, who recorded his score with an 88-piece ensemble of the Hollywood Studio Symphony and a 35-person choir. On May 10, it was also announced by Dave Mustaine on TheLiveLine that some music from Megadeth would appear in the film. Whether this would be music from the new record was not entirely clear, however during the phone message Mustaine stated that there was new music playing in the background of the message. However parts of the song "The Right To Go Insane", from the 2009 album Endgame, can be heard near the end of the film. In the film, Rick Marshall (Will Ferrell) sings the original Land of the Lost theme. The musical A Chorus Line plays a part in the story.
The first trailer was shown during Super Bowl XLIII. Subway Restaurants, which paid to appear in the film, unveiled the second trailer exclusively on their website. JW Marriott Hotels and Pop Rocks also purchased rights to market with film tie-ins. Syfy aired a marathon of the original series on Memorial Day in 2009 in coordination with the studio to have frequent film clips and an interview with Sid and Marty Krofft. After the film's release, another marathon aired on Chiller on June 6. Ahead of the film's release, Universal also released the complete series on DVD; it had previously been released by Rhino Home Video. The entire series is also available via download from Xbox Live.
Two different games were released online to promote the film. "Chakker" was available to play on the film's official website while "Crystal Adventure" was a free downloadable game for iPhones from Kewlbox.
Both Subway and Mapquest hosted an online sweepstakes on their respective websites with various movie-related merchandise given away as prizes. Both sweepstakes ran from May 18 through June 7 of 2009.
Subway's contest was in the form of a Candy Land-style virtual board game. Players could collect various codes (named after characters and objects from the film) from either Subway cups or by completing specific website-related tasks (such as signing up for MySpace or Twitter) that would unlock other features of the game such as extra spins, shortcuts across the board, or an additional contest entry. Prizes included $5 Subway Gift Cards, e-Movie tickets, movie-related merchandise/apparel/props, an Epiphone banjo signed by Wil Ferrell, $1000 cash, select Southwest Airlines trips, and even a trip for two to Universal Studios in Hollywood to have lunch with the creators/producers -Sid and Marty Krofft.
Mapquest's contest prompted players to utilize their website to complete a series of ten challenges - each a different themed question. Correct answers earned players one additional contest entry each. These questions focused on key Mapquest features such as calculating the distance, fuel costs, or travel time between various fictional locales on a map of the Land of the Lost. Prizes included $20 Subway Gift Cards, prize-packs including movie-themed apparel and merchandise, a 52" Sonia Bravia HDTV, and even a trip for four to Universal Studios in Hollywood.
Land of the Lost was a commercial failure grossing only $7.9 million on its opening day of June 5th, it also received largely negative reviews from critics. The Wall Street Journal stated that it "isn't worth the celluloid it's printed on", Entertainment Weekly remarked that "it leaves you feeling splattered", The New York Daily News called it "a high-concept disaster", Christian Science Monitor labeled it "resolutely uninspired", The Hollywood Reporter labeled it "lame", and The Miami Herald commented that "the whole thing feels at least three summers too stale."
A few critics professed admiration for it, notably Roger Ebert who gave the film three stars out of four and wrote:
|“||The dinosaurs are so obviously not really there in shots where they menace humans that you could almost say their shots are about how they're not really there. Confronted with such effects, the actors make not the slightest effort to appear terrified, amazed or sometimes even mildly concerned. Some might consider that a weakness. I suspect it is more of a deliberate choice, and I say I enjoyed it.||”|
At Slashfilm, a critic named Hunter Stephenson emphasized the film was misunderstood and was actually "a $100 million stoner movie" that paid tribute to the source material's cult following. .
On February 1, 2010 the movie led the 30th Golden Raspberry Awards with seven nominations (tied with Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen) including Worst Picture, Worst Actor (Will Ferrell), Worst Director (Brad Silberling), Worst Screenplay, Worst Supporting Actor (Jorma Taccone), Worst Screen Couple (Ferrell and any co-star, creature or "comic riff") and Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-off or Sequel. The movie won the Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-off or Sequel award.
The film performed under expectations in its first weekend in theaters, its $19 million opening was far less than the expected $30 million, thereby making it one of 2009's major flops. The film's box office results fell far behind that of the 2009 comedy The Hangover, which opened during the same weekend. The film's opening weekend gross was about two-thirds what Universal Pictures reportedly expected to earn. It has made only $67 million worldwide.
The DVD was released on October 13, 2009. Through the first two weeks it has sold 611,974 copies generating $9.9 million in sales so far.