We need more directors willing to take risks with films like Get Out.
"Land of the Lost" is a seriously deranged movie. That's not to say it's bad, although some of its early critics consider it a hanging offense ("a pot of ersatz dinosaur piss" says Peter Keough of the Boston Phoenix). "Land of the Lost" inspires fervent hatred, which with the right kind of movie can be a good thing. Amid widespread disdain, I raise my voice in a bleat of lonely, if moderate, admiration.
The film involves a gloriously preposterous premise, set in a series of cheerfully fake landscapes which change at the whim of the art director. How else to explain a primeval swamp within walking distance of a limitless desert? Or to explain a motel sign from another dimension that appears there, with all of the motel missing, but plenty of water still in the pool? And dinosaurs walking the earth at the same time as early man, just like in Alley Oop and "The Flintstones"?
Will Ferrell plays Dr. Rick Marshall, a scientist who assures Matt Lauer of NBC's "Today" that he has discovered a way to solve the energy crisis by importing fossil fuels from a parallel dimension. Lauer informs him that respectable scientists think he's mad. Like who? "Stephen Hawking," Lauer says. Dr. Rick goes nuclear: "You promised you wouldn't mention that!"
Marshall has in fact invented a machine that will transport him to one of those other worlds and is encouraged to try it by the only scientist in the world who agrees with him, Holly Cantrell (Anna Friel), who was thrown out of Cambridge for saying so. For reasons far too complicated to enumerate, they are joined in their journey by Will (Danny McBride), a fireworks salesman and part-time guide to a mysterious cave. Their cave tour strangely includes a river that seems to originate in thin air and flow into an artificial mountain before sucking them into a vortex and depositing them in -- the Land of the Lost.