I wasn't a fan of 'Land of the Lost' when I reviewed it in theaters. In all honesty, I felt it would be a wasted trip to the cinema for anyone who was thinking of seeing it. It's strange how perceptions change when watching something in your home. Maybe this time around I knew what to expect, nothing great, but some funny one-liners, a few hilarious scenes of Will Ferrell being Will Ferrell, and delightful performances from Danny McBride and Anna Friel to bring it all together.
'Land of the Lost' has some stupid comedy in it, there's no getting around that, but it also has some classic comedic moments. One of those classic bits comes when Dr. Rick Marshall (Will Ferrel) gets into a fight with Matt Lauer on the "Today Show," over whether or not he can smoke a pipe on set. The mention of Stephen Hawking calling Dr. Rick Marshall's studies of time warps "ridiculous," doesn't help the situation either. Bobb'e J. Johnson, the foul-mouthed kid from 'Role Models,' also makes a cameo in one of the film's funnier moments. I found myself wishing that somehow he could have gone with them on the trip to the lost land.
Dr. Marshall has found himself laughed out of the science community because of his study of time warps. Now he's teaching classes about his failed studies to children at the La Brea Tar Pits. Enter the beautiful and perky Anna Friel playing Holly Cantrell. As a student at Cambridge, Holly followed Dr. Marshall's work. Watching Friel reminds me of watching Amy Adams. Her playful attitude really lightens up the screen whenever she's on.
Soon, Dr. Marshall and Holly find themselves at a roadside stop in the middle of the desert looking for a tachyon rich environment. Tachyons make time warping possible. The tachyon hot spot happens to be in a carnival-type river ride owned by Danny McBride's character, redneck Will Stanton.
When the tachyon hot spot actually transports the three of them to a strange land, they find themselves dealing with smart dinosaurs, a monkey man, extra-large blood-thirsty mosquitoes, and killer lizards called Sleestaks. The set design of 'Land of the Lost' is probably its most amazing feature. The desert scenes are spectacularly dressed, with hotels buried in sand, medieval catapults, UFOs, and even what appears to be part of the Golden Gate Bridge.
'Land of the Lost' is full of Will Ferrell's signature deadpan humor, which is contrasted by Danny McBride's sardonic redneck impersonation. Once in the lost land, we are treated to gag after gag, like a running line of 'SNL' skits. In the theater that annoyed me. I seemed to get tiresome, but now, knowing what to expect I could relax and laugh a little more. Allin all, this isn't comic genius stuff by any stretch of the imagination, but it's all fairly chuckle-worthy.
'Land of the Lost' features a very strong 1080p/AVC-encoded transfer. Fine detail is the real winner here. Facial features and textures a very strong, from Danny McBride's thick stubble to Anna Friel's fair, freckled face, facial detail is one of the strongest points of this transfer. While the facial detail is just about perfect, the skintones vary a bit. Friel's face in particular is sometimes washed out by brighter light. Colors are solid, and pop off the screen. Blues, greens, and reds are all deep and well contrasted. Blacks vary a bit. A couple scenes suffer from some sub-par delineation. Compression artifacts, however, are nowhere to be seen. Errant noise and specks are completely absent. Edge enhancement really is the worst offender here, particularly noticeable at the end when the beautiful women come running up the sand dune towards McBride. While this transfer does have a few quibbles, overall it's a fantastic looking HD presentation.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 audio presentation on this disc is as impressive as the video presentation. With one of the most interactive audio tracks I've heard for a while, 'Land of the Lost' offers a truly immersive experience. Ambient sound is at a premium, making you feel like you're in the middle of a tropical jungle or surrounded by Sleestaks. LFE is ever present, from the stomps and roars of a T-rex to the whirlpool that sucks the three adventurers to another world. The audio track does suffer from some slightly muted dialogue that may cause the viewer to turn up the volume a tad for the center channel. 'Land of the Lost' packs a whopping good sound field that plunge the viewers into a truly absorbing audio experience.
A second visit to 'Land of the Lost' on Blu-ray was much more of a delight than seeing it in theaters. Maybe I was in the mood for it, or maybe I just knew what to expect going in. Either way, the film is good for a few laughs and it's an easy watch in the comfort of your own home. The stellar video and audio presentations only add to its overall enjoyment.
I'm lightly recommending this title. I tread carefully though, knowing some people find Will Ferrell's humor tedious and dull. I understand where you're coming from and if you're not a Ferrell fan then you won't enjoy this movie. All you others that find him mildly amusing from time to time, or a laugh riot, may want to pick this up and give it a try.