- Directed by C. Thomas Howell
- July 28, 2009
Shipwrecked passengers slip through a portal in the Bermuda Triangle and find themselves on a mysterious island where they must confront Germans to escape.
This 2009 film version of The Land That Time Forgot is just not very good. I have so many issues with it. From the special effects to the story to the performances of the actors in it, this movie is bad. And not in the enjoyably bad kind of way. You might at times pity those involved here because their names are attached to this.
First of all the budget just was not adequate for this type of story. Reportedly it was around $600,000 per Wikipedia and that is just not enough for something like this. An episode of Star Trek: Discovery runs about $8.5 million an episode. They could not muster at least half of that? They are reaching beyond their grasp here. Low budget isn’t necessarily bad but you need a good story that fits your budget and this just is not it.
The characters are very interchangeable. I needed a flow chart to remember who’s who. Not because they are particularly complex but because I usually do not take notes because even during the worst of the films I have watched I know the couples or who is who. Aside from Captain Burroughs (Timothy Bottoms), you end the film knowing next to nothing about them.
I am not saying you need a full biography. You just need to have an idea about the characters. You knew something about the central characters in A New Hope by the time the credits rolled. Even in something like Commando you knew more about John Matrix and Bennett by the time the end came. Here we know Frost Michaels (C. Thomas Howell) is married to Karen (Anya Benton) but that comes about because getting her back drives the first half of the movie. Their friends (?) not so much.
And when you are not able to be invested in who’s who it is difficult to care when a character dies. Cole (Darren Dalton) and Lindsey (Lindsey McKeon) are a couple, and she certainly freaks out when he dies, but all you can do is laugh at how bad it looks. The T-Rex bites him clean in half and I swear his torso disappears before the bite is complete. Regardless of low quality his sacrifice has no impact other than unintended humor.
The narrative just kind of meanders along until they MUST end the film. The Frost/Karen part was a complete narrative and the rest that followed was just filler. They needed to stretch it out so the tacked on what felt like The Land That Time Forgot II to the film. Unfortunately that sequel required a rewrite.
If you’re going to go to have an island with dinosaurs as a significant part of your movie you better be showing plenty of dinosaurs. Best we get is a close-up shot of a pterosaur and also one of a Tyrannosaurus.
And the special effects are just bad. The T-rex is stiff as well as the pterosaur. Both look like stuff that would’ve looked good in a video game 10 or 15 years ago but doesn’t even go as passable today. I am not expecting great but rather adequate. And the end felt like a low budget ($20 recreation maybe?) version of what they did in the 1975 film. As if they spent all their CGI money on the two dinosaurs and couldn’t afford any CGI volcanic eruptions.
The Land That Time Forgot 2009 is just not good and I am glad I watched it for free on YouTube. If you come across this one I say keep moving. The 1975 version is much better. This is a waste of your time. It is certainly 90 minutes I regret wasting.