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Film / Land of the Lost

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Land of the Lost is the 2009 Science Fiction Adventure Comedy based on the 1974 series of the same name, directed by Brad Siberling and starring Will Ferrell, Anna Friel and Danny McBride.

The story focuses on Rick Marshall (Ferrell), a somewhat pompous paleontologist whose career was waylaid after a disastrous TV interview where his theories of time warps were ridiculed, thus he now works as a lowly job at a Tar Pit tourist attraction. However, he's approached by a college student, Holly Cantrell (Friel), who believes his theories could be right after showing him proof via a fossil of a cigarette lighter, and a crystal that gives off tachyon energy. After building an amplifier for it, they head for a cave that gives off the same energy. Joined by Will Stanton (McBride), the gift shop owner where the cave is located, the three venture in and discover a time warp which they fall into. Winding up in the alternate world where objects of various cultures and periods litter the land and populated by primate-like beings (such as their friend, Cha-ka), dinosaurs and lizard people. It's the find of a century! But can the group survive the world's dangers and more importantly, find a way back to their world.

The film is more comedic and slapsticky than the series, but also includes drug-use sequences and plenty of sexual humor, making the marketing campaign's partial targeting of children highly confusing. It's more a parody (described as such by Ferrell himself) than actually bearing any relation to the series.

Land of the Lost provides examples of:

  • Action Dress Rip: Holly, after they arrive in the jungle, rips her pant legs off and turns them into short shorts.
  • Actor Allusion: Will Ferrell, whose character in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back was named Wildlife Marshal Willenholly in a Shout-Out to the original series, here starring in a loose adaptation thereof. One has to wonder if he was cast solely for this reason.
  • Adaptational Heroism: The Zarn is a good guy in the movie and was murdered by Enik while giving a warning against him.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Enik in the show, while a bit of a jerk, was one of the Marshalls' allies. The same can't be said for his incarnation in the movie, who wants to Take Over the World.
  • Advertising by Association: In the wake of this movie's release, Universal Studios released the 1970 movie adaptation of H.R. Pufnstuf, on DVD, which contained a blurb on top of the front cover stating, "From the Producers of Land of the Lost" (Even though Sid & Marty Krofft completely created both series).
  • Aliens Speaking English: Enik, the leader of the Sleestaks, is visibly the only one shown speaking in fluent English while the rest of his people largely speak in animalistic reptilian noises.
  • Alien Sky: The Land has three moons.
  • Alternate Universe: The eponymous Land of the Lost is described as a cosmic dumping ground where various things end up after falling through rips in time and space.
  • Animal Nemesis: Grumpy becomes this to Marshall after he insults the dinosaur's "walnut-sized brain".
    Stanton: Well, obviously this is between you and him.
  • Anuscape Plan: When Grumpy the T-Rex and Rick finally confront each other, the battle is cut short by Grumpy simply swallowing Rick whole. Several scenes later, the two return as best pals; Rick explains that he snaked his way through the dinosaur's intestines and, in the process, dislodged an intestinal blocking. By the time he came out, Grumpy was feeling much more affectionate towards him.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: The tachyon crystals are what allow Marshall to open up a gateway to the Land of the Lost, and Enik plans on using them to lead an army of Sleestaks across time and space.
  • Artistic License – Biology:
    • How Marshall escapes after being eaten by Grumpy.
    • There's also Marshall dumping hadrosaur urine on himself. Dinosaurs are reptiles, which do not urinate.
  • Artistic License – Paleontology:
    • Scaly dromaeosaurs.
    • Broken wrists on all the theropods.
    • The Pteranodon has grasping feet.
  • Berserk Button: Marshall learns what Grumpy's is the hard way after saying Grumpy has a "walnut-sized brain".
  • Better than a Bare Bulb: The movie has a lot of Lampshade Hanging, played for laughs.
  • Big Damn Hero: Right when Holly and Stanton are about to be killed by the Sleestaks, Marshall and Grumpy arrived to save them. Yes, they are both friends now.
  • Book Ends: Marshall's confrontational Today Show appearances with interviewer Matt Lauer.
  • Brick Joke: Will initially distrusts Enik because he is wearing a tunic that reminds Will of sinister fictional characters. When it turns out that Enik is a convicted criminal, the judges mention that part of Enik’s 10,000 year punishment was being forced to wear a tunic as a symbol of his deceit.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Two major ones — the fossil of a lighter is a perfect fit for Marshall's lighter, which he will drop later in the movie. The tachyon crystal Holly's wearing also becomes important.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Rick Marshall is a serious hardcase, though all three main characters qualify.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: Some moments of in the movie rely on this. When an ice-cream vendor end up on The Land and is attacked by dromaeosaurs, our heroes just watch (and film), not showing the slightest bit of empathy. Likewise, when Rick is drained of blood by a giant mosquito, his companions just stare, never making a move to help him.
  • Composite Character: Enik is one of the original Enik and the Sleestak Shung from the 1991 series, fulfilling the latter’s role as the primary antagonist with plans of domination.
  • Denser and Wackier: Compared to the TV show, this film is more comedic and satire-like.
  • Ditzy Genius: Marshall is a great paleontologist, but otherwise lacks common sense, especially when it comes to dinosaurs.
  • Doomed Predecessor: In the opening scene, a displaced astronaut is attacked by a dinosaur. The heroes later find his space suit in the lair of the dinosaur that killed him.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Done by Marshall and Will with molted Sleestak skins. It's not as Squicky as it sounds, though.
  • Dumb Dinos: Parodied. When a Tyrannosaurus rex attacks the protagonists, but they outwit it by crossing a log bridge, Marshall notes as it walks away that it only has a brain the size of a walnut. The T. rex takes it as a personal insult and attacks the protagonists again. Later it drops a gigantic walnut in front of the cave where the protagonists are hiding, just to prove a point. Seeing as real tyrannosaurs actually did not have brains the size of walnuts and research indicates that they were some of the more intelligent dinosaurs, he's right to be offended.
  • The End... Or Is It?: In The Stinger, the dinosaur egg Marshall gave to Matt Lauer hatches, revealing that it was actually a Sleestak egg.
  • Flanderization: The Sleestaks are little better than shambling zombies in the film while in the series they were slow-moving and technologically primitive but still had a society and used tools such as arrows.
  • Giant Enemy Crab: A giant crab appears during one scene in which it tries to attack the protagonists while they are stoned. However, it is killed by a geyser and is then eaten by the protagonists instead.
  • Godiva Hair: Cha-ka's wives, who are nubile savages, have only brief loincloths and long black hair which covers both of their breasts on either side.
  • Green Rocks: The tachyon crystals are shown to have a wide variety of uses. They can be used to open up portals through time and space, locate objects or people, and seemingly browse Earth's internet.
  • I Choose to Stay: Will opts to remain in the Land, having nothing worth returning to in the original world. He's promptly rewarded for this when Cha-ka brings him to his village and he sees what the women look like.
  • Insufferable Genius: Marshall is an arrogant and rather condescending paleontologist.
  • It Can Think: Grumpy doesn't take well to having his brain compared to a walnut. He even dumps a giant walnut outside their cave, just to prove a point.
  • It's Personal: Grumpy pretty much declares war on Marshall after the latter literally insults his intelligence.
    Stanton: Well, obviously this is between you and him.
  • Jerkass: Rick Marshall — not that his companions are much better. The only time they show any kind of camaraderie is when they're stoned out of their minds.
  • Just Eat Him: During their big showdown, Grumpy rather unceremoniously swallows Marshall whole when he attempts to pole vault and kick the dinosaur in the face.
  • Lost World: After passing through portal, the protagonists travel "sideways" in time, finding themselves in a world filled with lost objects and creatures from across time and space.
  • Mushroom Samba: While the group is relaxing at a time-displaced motel pool, Chaka finds some fruits and gets Marshall and Will to partake. Holly then translates Chaka's description of them, revealing them to be heavily narcotic. The guys then spend roughly half a day stoned out of their minds while Holly tries to locate a way home.
  • Newscaster Cameo: Matt Lauer interviews Rick on Today.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: Cha-ka is an ape-like native of the titular lost world who travels alongside the humans as their sidekick during their time there.
  • Only Sane Man: Holly to an extent, though she appears at times to not utilize the sense she has been bestowed with.
  • People in Rubber Suits: The Sleestaks are portrayed this way throughout the movie, and this trope is later lampshaded when Marshall and Will use freshly-shed Sleestak skins to blend in and rescue Holly.
  • Plot Hole: It's hard to believe that some of the things that obviously went missing from the present weren't missed by anyone.
  • Proportionately Ponderous Parasites: Giant blood sucking insects that swell greatly when drinking blood.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: The sleestaks are humanoid lizards that serve as the main villains of the movie.
  • Sexy Dimorphism: Cha-ka's species. The males are ugly and apelike, the females are Nubile Savages.
  • Saharan Shipwreck: An ocean liner and Viking longboat are among many seafaring vehicles that found themselves spirited away and dumped in the deserts of the Land of the Lost.
  • Super-Persistent Predator: Double subverted with Grumpy the T. rex. The first time he goes chasing after the protagonists, he initially proves willing to leave them well enough alone after reaching a point where they appear to be more trouble than they're worth like any modern day carnivore. But then Marshall loudly crows to the other protagonists about Grumpy 'having a brain the size of a walnut' while he's still in which point the visibly insulted dinosaur promptly lunges across the chasm and continues the chase just to get back at Marshall over the insult. And ultimately, it isn't until Grumpy manages to both eat Marshall and subsequently end up accidentally getting some preexisting intestinal blockage removed when Marshal...exits out the back door that the angry dinosaur finally stops chasing after the group.
    Stanton: He's looking at you.
    Marshall: He's looking at all of us!
    Stanton: No... he's looking at you!
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: As it turns out, Marshall pouring himself in hadrosaur urine does not disguise his scent, but just ends up attracting Grumpy and the Allosaurus, dinosaurs that eat hadrosaurs.
  • Swallowed Whole: Doctor Marshall is eaten by Grumpy (briefly).
  • Take That!: "Matt Lauer can suck it!"
  • Tempting Fate: Dr. Marshall does it so often that it's lampshaded.
  • Terrifying Tyrannosaur: Grumpy, the Animal Nemesis of Marshall, is a T. rex.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Rick Marshall is a living breathing example of this trope. He wears Florsheim zipper boots on what was supposed to be a field expedition, repeatedly espouses incorrect information about the intelligence of prehistoric wildlife; even after said wildlife proves to be more intelligent than he gives them credit for, and covers himself in the urine of herbivorous dinosaurs in an attempt to disguise his scent from carnivorous dinosaurs.
  • Unrelated in the Adaptation: In the original series, Rick Marshall is the father of Will and Holly, who are a teenager and a preteen, respectively. In this film, they're not related to each other, and the later two get an Age Lift into adults, with their names changed from Will and Holly Marshall to Will Stanton and Holly Cantrell.
  • Urine Trouble: At one point, Marshall dumps dinosaur urine on himself to disguise his scent. It doesn't work.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: The ice cream vendor sent into the new dimension is eaten after about ten seconds of screen time.