Living in the Land of the Lost


"Marshall, Will, and Holly, on a routine expedition, met the greatest earthquake ever known." -- Theme song from the original Land of the Lost

One of the movies I'm looking forward to this summer is the big-screen adaptation of the Sid and Marty Krofft classic Land of the Lost. I was a big fan of the original series which first aired in 1974 and was repeated countless times over the years.

Despite its obvious cheap special effects and production values, it captivated the imaginations of me and many other young kids. Who could resist a story with dinosaurs, lizard monsters, time travel, and other sci-fi trappings, written by some of the coolest writers of the time: Larry Niven, Ben Bova, Theodore Sturgeon, D.C. Fontana, and others?

It was three seasons of great fantasy adventures (yes, I even enjoyed the third season which was drastically different from the first two but still a fun romp in my opinion. Medusa, anyone?)

They attempted a new version of the TV show in the 1990s, but it really wasn't the same. The Sleestak weren't as menacing as the originals, the dinosaurs seemed even more fake despite the arguably better special effects. The storylines seemed weak and the lead characters bland, so the new show came and went without much impact.

Now a new movie version is on the way, starring Will Ferrell, which means obviously it'll have a lot of humor in it. But if the pre-release buzz is any indication, it looks like they're doing it right.

The new film seems to be paying homage to the campiness of the original while at the same time respecting the look and feel of the 70s show as it was seen through the eyes of a kid who didn't notice that the dinosaurs were made of clay and the sets were made of paper mache.

The filmmakers hopefully have made an adaptation of a beloved television show that hits all the right notes, like the Brady Bunch remake did, while avoiding the pitfalls of taking itself too seriously, which doomed the Lost in Space motion picture. The new movie seems to have just the right blend of humor mixed with nostalgic touches like the original theme song and the design of those hissing, spooky Sleestak.

To read more about the original Land of the Lost series, check out the Wikipedia entry, or the show's official merchandising site.

Whether or not the new movie succeeds is a moot point (although I hope it does). I'll always have my fond memories of that classic tale of a family lost in a strange world trying to find their way back home.

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