Damn, and I Was Psyched for Electro-Woman and Dyna-Girl: The Movie

Movie note: Land of the Lost tanked this weekend with less than $20 million in box office — an amount very close to what Speed Racer brought in when it tanked in its first weekend last year. And thus, I expect, ends Hollywood’s big attempt to monetize Gen-X childhood nostalgia. I am not myself overly distraught by the fact, although I suppose this means this here spec script I wrote for a movie version of Jason of Star Command will never see the light of day. Somehow we must all find the strength to go on.

83 thoughts on “Damn, and I Was Psyched for Electro-Woman and Dyna-Girl: The Movie

  1. You say that like you’re not familiar with the 2001 pilot featuring Markie Post as a disillusioned, alcoholic, Electra Woman pulled back into action by a new Dyna Girl.

  2. At least Speed Racer was good, assuming that you saw it on a big enough screen. On a TV, it looks like the Hot Wheels sets it was meant to sell. It’s a failure, but at least an interesting and somewhat entertaining one.

    I saw the trailer for Land of the Lost Investment an hour ago, and hoo-whee, I could smell the flop sweat through my DSL connection.

    Maybe they’ll make a Ghostbusters movie! No, bot THAT one, the 80s cartoon with the with the gorilla in a hat. Imagine that level of animation brought to CGI! In 3D!

  3. Personally, I’m hoping for Shazam!. What could be more wholesome than some old “mentor” guy, a kid, and buff wrestler in red spandex roaming the country in an old Winnebago and hiding out in remote campgrounds?

    I swear I saw Billy’s face on a milk carton back in the 70′s.

  4. I would have seen it except I dont like will ferrel. That ruined it for me – no way would i waste my money now on it.

  5. I suppose this means this here spec script I wrote for a movie version of Jason of Star Command will never see the light of day.

    Such things are precisely what the Intarwebs were invented for.

    You know you want to do it.

  6. Or perhaps they might realize that cashing in on nostalgia doesn’t work when you turn SF adventure series into Will Ferrell comedies.

    That’s why *this* Gen-Xer didn’t go see the movie, despite loving the original show….

  7. I saw ‘Up’ instead. No regrets. In fact, ‘Up’ is the only* summer movie I’ve liked so far.

    *I also liked Star Trek, although I’m still iffy if as to whether we can really say movies starting in mid-March are summer flicks …

  8. I suspect they’d have made more money on “Land of the Lost” if they hadn’t released a trailer that showed what crap it was.

    I’m sure the idiots who made the movie will blame it “nostalgia not working”. Hollywood idiots are always really good at finding something other than “we made a complete pile of crap” to blame.

    Also, having sat through six trailers for upcoming kids movies before watching “Up”, I wonder when someone in Hollywood is going to notice that the one studio that consistently turns out highly profitable kids movies is the one that *doesn’t* rely on fart jokes and “hip” characters.

  9. Wot, no “Jem and the Holograms” live action movie?

    Pity. Britney Spears would have been great as what’s-her-name, the leader of the evil rock group.

  10. Movies… huh… Oh, those are the things that come before Netflix, right? So you can get the reviews and see which DVD sucks? It’s like a trial run before the real thing. How much do they pay you guys for sitting through those?

    Curiously,
    Jack Tingle

  11. My heart breaks with utter despair that there will be no film version of Ark II.

    I really want that jet-pack guy to get some more film credit. The residuals on the Bond movie have to be trailing off somewhat these days.

    And John, you can still hold out hope for Space Academy! Maybe they’ll even get Gary Oldman to take the Dr. Smith-guy (Jonathan Harris) role… and hey, Brian Tochi’s still working isn’t he?

    What a nostalgia-fest this has been.

    Perhaps Pixar could put Wheelie and the Chopper Bunch into Cars 2: Gas Crisis Boogaloo?

  12. Forget all that. When, if ever, are we ever going to get the big budget Wonder Woman movie they’ve been talking about since forever? You’d think a film about a buff Amazon in spandex would be a no-brainer to produce.

  13. If LotL had pandered to its fan base (aging middle-aged fanboys and -girls) instead of making fun of them, it might have had a chance. As it is, the new version lost the built-in audience, who, offended by the promos, didn’t bother to take their kids. Yes, I and my husband resemble that remark.

    If someone else were to actually try to revive the franchise with respect, we’d hop right on board.

    We’ve pretty much decided that if Will Farrell is involved, we’re skipping the movie.

  14. I’m just gonna say it!

    Will Farrell isn’t funny.

    Phew! Glad I got that off my chest!!

    Thundercats HO!!!

  15. They’ll make that DR. SHRINKER movie yet. You’ll see! You’ll see! Damn you all, you’ll see!

    [Curls into fetal position clutching DR. SHRINKER spec script, muttering under breath, "My precious! My precious!"]

  16. Hard to believe Prince Planet hasn’t hit the big screen. Seems like the energy pendant would be a great happy meal toy.

  17. Jeff @ 15

    No WAY! I was totally goign to use Wheelie and the Chopper Bunch! Nobody, adn I mean NOBODY I know remembers that one!

    :-)

  18. H.R. Puffenstuff vs. The D.E.A. the live action film. Comedy, drama, action. Think of the possibilities.

  19. Mythago:

    WTWTA was published in ’63. It’s a boomer thing.

    Kate Baker:

    Likewise, GI Joe is early 60s, too, although I see where you’re coming from with the cartoon series, which was early 80s. Personally speaking, I don’t see that movie being a huge hit.

  20. I agree with the other posters: They turned an albeit campy sci-fi series into a comedy. As soon as I saw this from the trailers I knew it would be bad.

  21. Let’s not forget about the always talked about Smurf film. And, no, I didn’t say snuff film.

  22. OTOH, Warren Ellis’s revival of GI Joe for cartoon network is pretty cool.

    On topic, I have 0 desire to see Ferrel yucking it up by taking a steaming dump on one of my favorite childhood memories.

    Plus, as has been said elsewhere, he’s not funny.*

    *outside of the Oblongs, where I thought he was pretty funny.

  23. Wil Ferrel can be funny; he’s made some very funny films, but this isn’t one of them.

  24. If anything good has come from it, having SciFi and Chiller show the original series in marathon format recently has been entertaining. While my memory tends to remember shows from my youth as being much more entertaining than my adult mind appreciates, I’ll say Land of the Lost holds up pretty well.

    Of course, it is all very cheeseball, but there were some fairly intense stories interspersed throughout the run, and the metaphysical graffiti the Kroffts weaved into the storyline was a bit more complex than the, “so, you guys did a lot of drugs, huh” impression most of their other shows displayed.

  25. If we’re sticking to Sid and Marty Krofft, there’s always the aforementioned Electra Woman and Dyna Girl, Dr. Shrinker and H.R. Pufnstuf, as well as The Bugaloos, Wonderbug, The Banana Splits, Sigmund and the Sea Monsters — a whole slew of bad ’70s live-action kids’ shows to stomp on.

  26. Scalzi: The Baby Boom ended in ’64 and “Where the Wild Things Are” was targeted at 3-5 year-olds. Definitely something for the Gen-X market.

  27. “Maybe they’ll make a Ghostbusters movie! No, bot THAT one, the 80s cartoon with the with the gorilla in a hat. Imagine that level of animation brought to CGI! In 3D!”

    Actually that one was based on a live-action Saturday morning series (with Forrest Tucker http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ghost_Busters) from the 70s – that’s the one we want a movie of…

    And “Big John, Little John”!

  28. As a big fan of the original, I just want to say that I had no problem in principal with the idea of this movie, even as a comedy, even as a Will Farrel comedy.

    A serious big-budget treatment was never going to happen, and I would be quite happy just to see the pocket universe concept, Enik, and the pylon control systems make it into the movie.
    (Quite frankly, the 1990s revival TV series already provided the worst travesty-treatment that the show will ever suffer, no matter how bad this movie is, due to the way it ditched the weird concepts to make it just “family camping in dinosaur-land” and smoothed out too many of the quirks.)
    I haven’t seen it yet (like most movies I see lately, on the “wait for DVD” list) and am quite prepared for it to suck, but I’m kind of uncomfortable with the kneejerk “it’s being done as a comedy, and OMFG look who’s in it, that’s why I think that they’re bad-touching my cherished childhood memories” reactions that started as soon as it was announced.
    As far as I’m concerned, people who dismiss comedy because it’s less “serious” than drama are exactly like those who dismiss SF/F because it’s not “realistic.”

  29. The LotL trailer runs with Star Trek so I’ve seen it, um, let’s just say more than once. The trailer makes it very clear this is a Will Ferrell Movie at it’s gawd awful worst.

    I loved TOS (acromyn for the original series), and I enjoyed the old LotL TV series for the fun that it was. I should be the audience for a LotL remake. And clearly someone thought I would be for ~this~ LotL remake.

    WTF? Not in this lifetime.

  30. Steve Burnap:
    The cutoff line between Baby Boom and Gen X is much, much fuzzier than hack demographers with delusions of coolness would have us believe.

  31. They could have made a delightfully campy Land of the Lost, but instead they had to fuck it all up with Wil Fucking Farrell, the most embarrassingly awful “funny” guy since Pauly Shore.

    A movie where all the characters take themselves absolutely seriously, instead of being know-it-all losers like EVERY fucking Wil Farrell character (going by commercials and trailers because the very sight of him now makes me vaguely nauseous), and putting in scenes of Sleestaks fucking (I mean, really), might have been worth something. This is just a travesty.

  32. Alien vs. Predator vs. My Little Pony vs. The Carebears.

    Think about it… seriously, think about it!

    =SLAM=

    YOU’LL REGRET YOUR NARROW MINDED DISMISSAL OF THE NEXT BIG THING, YOU PHILISTINES!

    Regards,
    Jack Tingle

  33. Fertanish:
    I just watched the marathon LOTL and also thought it wasn’t too bad. It is easier to watch than some of the other old shows (like He-Man). They made a lot of cool sci-fi references and had many different aspects to draw for the stories. My brother just saw the movie and said “if you like Will Farrell movies you’ll be ok, it just ignores everything that made the original worth while.”

    Roxanne:
    I agree. If they really want to keep the fans that should come pre-loaded with these older shows, they should try to stay true to the original feel.

    Mr. Scalzi:

    Don’t take Jason of Star Command away from me. I WAS Jason every time it aired. I even made the little WIKI robot.

  34. Ed @ 37:

    As far as I’m concerned, people who dismiss comedy because it’s less “serious” than drama are exactly like those who dismiss SF/F because it’s not “realistic.”

    You’re missing the point. These comedies are being dismissed because they are being done badly.

  35. (I’m not sure if I’ve been caught in Moderation, or it just didn’t post, so…..second attempt.)

    Ed @ 37:

    As far as I’m concerned, people who dismiss comedy because it’s less “serious” than drama are exactly like those who dismiss SF/F because it’s not “realistic.”

    You’re missing the point. These comedies are being dismissed because they are being done badly.

  36. I think Will Ferrell, the person, is still entirely capable of being funny. I enjoyed his appearance on The Daily Show a few days ago, for instance.

    But I have had no desire to see one of his movies for quite some time now.

  37. Huh. Maybe it’s because I haven’t seen many Will F. movies that let me enjoy this one. I thought it was a blast, and so did most of the people in the theatre. of course, most of the people in the theatre were teen boys, so I’m not quite sure what that says about me (definitely not a teen any more, and definitely not a boy……)

  38. I’ve long thought that Shazam! would be a great movie franchise. Not based on the 1970′s show, though, preferably.

    I don’t know if any of the Supershow segments could carry a whole movie, though. It’d need to be a mashup – Kroft Supershow: The Movie! When the Electracar breaks down, EW and DG (having recovered their Electracomps from Troy and Dillon) team up with Wonderbug to save the Bugaloos from Dr. Shrinker!!

    OK, glad I got that out of my system…

    …Speaking of cashing in on nostalgia, how did the Carell “Get Smart” do, anyway?

  39. Ed@39: Well yeah, the line is entirely artificial…but ’64 is the latest date for baby boomer I’ve seen, and “Where the Wild Things Are” was a toddler staple for a good part of the late sixties, earlier seventies, which is certainly when a lot of Gen X was in toddlerhood, regardless of where you draw the line.

  40. I find myself somewhat heartened by this news. Not that I am about to declare this as a sign of an improvement, no matter how slight, in the perceptiveness of the average North American movie-goer. That would be foolish in the extreme. Nor am I going to decry the final awakening of the average man to just how banal the standard Will Ferrell movies is.

    No, I am simply going to take a deep breath and be thankful that this particular piece of celluloid poop will hopefully sink from sight sooner rather then later.

  41. I think most of us, going back to look at the stuff we really enjoyed when we were much younger, realize that most of it was unadulterated crap when it was made in the first place. I used to just run home from school to see “Dark Shadows” when it was on ABC and, when it was re-run on Sci-Fi some years ago, I was appalled at how seriously bad it really was–just a soap opera with vampires, zombies and a weird guy with a magic hand. Unfortunately for LOTL, when you couple the “you can’t go home again” syndrome with Will Farrell, it’s a sure loser.

  42. WTWTA was published in ‘63. It’s a boomer thing.

    Which makes it just about right for the boomers to be reading it to their kids. Maybe I just had particularly creaky parents.

  43. I relish the date when I see a live-action Harvey Birdman: Attorney At Law trailer and explain to my (as yet non-existent) children that “This show was so clever and now they’ve ruined it! Bring back Stephen Colbert as Phil Ken Sebben! Bring him back, I say!”

    “…Mom, it’s time for your Tranxital.”

  44. Cicely at 44&45
    “You’re missing the point. These comedies are being dismissed because they are being done badly.”

    No, I get it, and I was not saying that this is going to be either a great SF/F movie or a really funny comedy. See the part of my comment where I mention how people reacted *as soon as the thing was announced*, and that I’m also prepared for the thing to suck for any number of reasons.
    I’m sure that they’re “being dismissed because they are being done badly” by many of the people who are dismissing them, I’m just saying that this isn’t universally true of everyone doing the dismissing, and that I’ve come across online bitching about this movie to whom my previous comment applies..
    The section you quoted, also, was a general principle of mine rather than a reaction to how people complained about this particular type of movie. I just threw it in because I was gaining momentum in railing against comedy-hate.

  45. Jim @ 4:

    Shazam! is in development hell. I believe John August was writing the script for it, and has discussed it on his blog. But IIRC it’s all but dead now.

    My feelings about LotL:

    1. Land of the Lost! Cool! Sleestaks!
    2. Will Ferrell comedy? Are they high? No way I’m seeing that.
    3. Anna Friel as Holly? Ah, crap. Must. Make. Will. Save.

  46. I’m in the right age bracket to have grown up on Land of the Lost and rather liked it for what it was. It was eminently clear from the trailer that the Ferrell film had borrowed the title and not much more — bad news for anyone hoping for a relatively straight-up translation of the series to the big screen (that would be me).

    OTOH, the trailer also suggested at least the potential for a decently funny movie, by way of the running gag wherein the T. Rex is clearly way, way smarter than Ferrell’s character (and probably everyone else’s). I like that gag enough to be tempted to see the movie even though I know how much it is likely to suck rocks as a treatment of the original show.

    Mind, I rather liked the big-screen Rocky & Bullwinkle. It wasn’t the original — but it caught enough of both the general wackiness and the underlying charm that it worked for me. I also liked the Emma Roberts Nancy Drew film a summer or two back — parts of it misfired, but on a lot of levels it executed very well, and proved that Hollywood can still turn out a good old-fashioned “family film” when it wants to.

    And I keep meaning to get hold of the recent Disney version of Underdog, because as much as that film also wasn’t a straight rendition of the original cartoons, all the bits and pieces and buzz I’ve absorbed suggests that it is, in and of itself, an entertaining movie.

    All of which goes to show, I think, that faithfulness has its place, but faithfulness for its own sake can be overrated.

  47. I think most of us, going back to look at the stuff we really enjoyed when we were much younger, realize that most of it was unadulterated crap when it was made in the first place.

    I hear you. I used to love a Brit sf series called “The Tomorrow People” when I was a sprog – a couple of years back, I found it on DVD and couldn’t watch more than ten minutes.

    Still, sorta looking forward to “The Clash of the Titans” remake. Sitting watching the wholly gratitious butt-shot in that was the moment my brain clicked and I figured out what this whole sex/woman thing was about.

  48. Oh, and in the department of “obscure kids’ stuff that would be amusing to resurrect for the big screen”, a nomination even more obscure than those already noted:

    The Kids From C.A.P.E.R.: Catchy theme song. Amusing premise. And the best semi-secret-agency acronym ever: the “Civilian Authority for the Protection of Everybody, Regardless”.

  49. I’m just happy to see all the references to Space Academy in this thread. Nobody I know remembers that show.

  50. 1. Speed Racer may not have succeeded in the theaters, but it was a darned good film, in my mind. My kids have watched it plenty of times since we got it on DVD and enjoyed the original show, too. The movie created its own visual language and while it may not have worked for some people, it generated real extremes in reviews. Mark me in the ‘loved it’ category for the movie in recreating the original series so well.

    2. People didn’t hate starting hating on LotL for being a comedy, so much as for the inherent message that it would deliver a mockery of a property and expect that property’s nostalgic fans to come out and cheer it. The announcement of Will Ferrel as the lead (and the director of Caspar, the movie!) also made it clear what kind of comedy they intended to make….an impression that proved completely correct. See Also: Bewitched.

    3. LotL is a silly adventure TV show from the 70s, made on a shoestring budget. But it DID feature some honest-to-goodness decent SF writers and some interesting concepts…stuff that was all jettisoned for jokes about throwing dinosaur pee in your eyes.

    4. The Nancy Drew movie was a modest success and a well-made movie. A sequel was planned, though it’s not clear if they’re actually going to make it. It has an earnest charm and my daughter, in particular, loves it. It has some elements of self-mockery in it…but they’re loving, self-referential jokes.

    Land of the Lost could have been a ‘Brady Bunch’-esque skewering of it’s own material. It could have been a serious remake with high-power talent and the benefit of modern film effects and a decent budget. The Mummy (the first one) is a good example of what the movie could have been. Even the remake of ‘Dragnet’ back in 1987 was a damn sight better than this.

  51. katie @63: The movie came out in 1984 based on a 1979 book, so yes — definitely Gen-X…

  52. In my memory, the LotL dinosaurs are photo-realistic and comparable to the Jurassic Park Dinos in special effect quality.

    Oddly, what I’ve seen on TV recently is bad stop motion animation, less than convincing Green-Screening, and hilarious puppetry.

    The memory is odd sometimes.

  53. I’m holding out for “The Adventures of Bigfoot and Wild-Boy”.

    Only, since the bad guys on that show are all misguided scientists, they’ll Christian it up into a faith-based movie in which Bigfoot is Aslan, Wild-Boy is His favorite disciple, and the scientists are Darwinists out to force secularism on innocent country people. The underlying message will be that the existence of Bigfoot proves that evolutionary theory is a hoax!

    don’t worry, it’ll be just like the Krofft show. The characters will be trapped in at least three cave avalanches.

  54. As a 36 year old with 8 and 6 year old daughters, I’m smack in the middle of where the target demographic for a LotL movie ought to be.

    1) They are making a Land of the Lost movie – sweet

    2) It’s going to be a comedy – aw crap

    3) It’s going to star Will Ferrel – *sigh*, double crap, never mind then.

    LotL was a campy, low budget SF/Adventure show, but it was never a comedy. It certainaly was never a toilet humor comedey. Trying to make LotL a comedy is akin to trying to make “The Prisoner” a comedy. It does not work onthe face of it.

    See ABC’s reimagining of the classic Gen X series “V” – not a comedy. (oh this one looks pretty good)

    Reimagined BSG -not a comedy.

    Want to make a comedy, make a movie out of Barney Miller or WKRP, not an SF/Adventure show.

    Or sit down and watch “The Big Bang Theory” and learn what makes a show funny.

  55. THis is OT, but I have to take issue with it:

    “Mythago: WTWTA was published in ‘63. It’s a boomer thing.”

    I don’t know why the US Census Bureau and others define the “Baby Boomers” as those being born in 1946 and 1964, but I hate being lumped in with them.

    If the Boomers were protesting the troop increase in Vietnam in 1968, I was 3, and did not attend. Nor was I old enough to attend Woodstock, and to old to have been born at Woodstock.

    When Boomers were at the disco snorting coke, I was in elementary school.

    When Boomers were identifying with line “I saw a Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac” from the execrable Don Henley song “Boys of Summer”, I was laughing at their sell-out atitude and going to punk shows.

    What do I have in common with these people?

    In any case, I’m sure WTWTA will be better than LOTL or any other nostalgia rip-off Hollywood puts out.

    There must have been a brain-drain at the major studios if they green-light projects based on TV LAnd reruns, is there no room left for imaginative writers and producers?

  56. Even with all the painfully bad aspects of the show (and there were plenty), the outstanding feature was the mysterious, unfolding SF aspect, kind of like “Lost” for the younger set.

    But… they chuck all that out the window and make a screwball comedy—-not even maintaining the core idea of a Family as the protagonists. And expect anyone with fondness for the series to lap it up because of the name?

    No thanks.

  57. what I am disappointed about – is that so many parodies have been done well – Brady Bunch, Galaxy Quest, Venture Bros. – seems like they had a great chance and squandered it

  58. Rob@68: You just have to look as far as “Battlestar Galactica” to see that you can take a cheesy but beloved GenX nostalgia trip and make something good out of it. It just takes, you know, talent.

  59. Daniel B. @ 69 & wizarDru @ 62 –

    Yes. There’s a reason we remember the show 35 years later, and it has very little to do with the effects and cheesiness, and everything to do with the essential mystery of the show.

    If you look at the scriptwriters for the episodes of Seasons 1 and 2, you see many familiar names, including Ben Bova, David Gerrold, Norman Spinrad, D.C. Fontana, Ted Sturgeon and even Walter Koenig.

    I visited IMDB.com and saw who Will Ferrell brought to his party. The many producers (at various levels) all have connections to Will through previous films, and no obvious history with filmed SF. The credited writers … well, one was a former SNL writer (who also wrote the timeless comedic masterpiece “The Ladies Man), while the other is famous for having attended the wedding ceremony of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. Links to SF are nowhere to be found in their backgrounds.

    I did not see David Gerrold’s name in the listed credits. I did not see anybody’s name who could bring the mystery and sense of wonder to the remake.

    It seems pretty clear that Will exercised his prerogative to surround himself with friends and folks he knew, and felt comfortable with. Yes, I get that’s how Hollywood works. But it’s too bad, for us all, that they seem to have let him down.

  60. Electra Woman and Dyna Girl occupy a place in my memory out of all proportion to the quality of their television show.

    And it has nothing to do with their flying-saucer-slash-tricycle car thingy, either.

  61. I’m not necessarily trying to defend this movie if in fact it turns out to suck (I haven’t seen it, just like those talking as though they have) but I still feel the need to take issue with a couple of positions apparently being taken.

    1. As a 45-year old who watched the original almost religiously, with some major rows with the parents when they wanted me doing something else at that time on a Saturday, and who remembers digging up everything I could on the thing in my adolescence, such as all of Gerrold’s old “Starlog” columns on his time on the show, I yield to no-one as far as being a “real” fan of the old show.

    2. I just finished skimming around for heavy-spoiler reviews of the movie, and from what I can glean from every source I’ve looked into, the creators of this movie, however misguided they may have been in going so broad in a lot of ways, have a genuine affection for the source material, SF vets or not, and have tried more than many might expect to include elements distinctive to LOTL. In fact, I came across more than one review that cited the attempt to include too much from the original as one of the movie’s problems.
    Again, the movie may well suck, but those talking about how they “obviously” and “clearly” gutted it completely of all the original’s ideas to make a wacky comedy with dinosaurs based on a snap reaction to the trailers are just jumping to conclusions based on very little.
    Hate, Farrel, fine, or fess up to being hostile to the very idea of a comedy treatment, but things like “eminently clear from the trailer that the Ferrell film had borrowed the title and not much more” just seem like very hasty reasoning to me. It is in fact very clear with a bit of easy online investigation that a good deal more than the title (more in fact than I had hoped for when this was announced) was borrowed from the original.
    Months ago, when IMDB first showed that the part of “Enik” had actually been cast, I was heartened that this might have more of the original in it than the totally de-souled 90s version. Just showing the existence of a single Pylon would make the most lowbrow comedy version less of a travesty than that POS.
    Again, I accept that it may be terrible, but I’m pretty convinced after making the effort to check that it’s not going to be just because the makers have just thrown away everything but the title and a few dinosaur images.
    3. Has anyone actually seen this thing?

  62. An amplification in response to Ed@74:

    The quotation from my post (“eminently clear…”) is accurate, and raises a fair point; as I have not seen the full movie, I ought not to have been quite so dogmatic in assessing the degree of similarity between film and source material.

    That said, one might conclude from Ed’s comments that I (a) hate Will Ferrell and/or his movies, and/or (b) have prejudged the present film to be of low quality based on the trailer. Neither is in fact the case.

    I’ve seen very few Ferrell movies (and little of his TV work), and have no real opinion on his ability one way or the other, save that most of his prior affiliations have been with stories or shows whose promotion hasn’t motivated me to watch. At most, I might assert on that basis that Ferrell’s work isn’t to my taste.

    As for the LotL film, I may yet see it; as I said upstream, aspects of the trailer suggest a potentially amusing movie, even as other aspects suggest a less than faithful rendering of the original material. And what that means is that if/when I do see the movie, I’ll be prepared to judge it strictly on its own merits, rather than on the dynamics of its relationship to the TV series of yore.

    On which note, several further instances where feature films arguably did right in diverging sharply from their parent material:

    Candleshoe: On film, a lively Disney family comedy introducing Jodie Foster and co-starring David Niven & Helen Hayes. On paper, an extremely insular novel by Michael Innes that I found nearly unreadable.

    The Secret of NIMH: Don Bluth’s first non-Disney animated feature, adapted very freely from Robert O’Brien’s award-winning book Mrs. Frisby & the Rats of NIMH. In this case, both versions shone.

    :The Iron Giant: On film, a remarkably nuanced American boy-and-robot story from Brad Bird; on paper, a much less intimate and extremely English book by Ted Hughes.

  63. Ed @ 74: 2. I just finished skimming around for heavy-spoiler reviews of the movie, and from what I can glean from every source I’ve looked into, the creators of this movie, however misguided they may have been in going so broad in a lot of ways, have a genuine affection for the source material, SF vets or not, and have tried more than many might expect to include elements distinctive to LOTL.

    As far as I can tell from reviews I’ve gleaned, they only have the most superficial and cosmetic connections, owed no doubt to the input of the Kroft brothers. The only positive reviews are the ones that excuse the film’s faults and assume it to be a massive parody of the remake genre. Most find the plot a mess, filled with time-wasting vignettes (which in a movie that only runs 90 minutes is surprising) and doesn’t even pretend to make sense, so that it can just keep moving to the next gag. I don’t think it has anything to do with the movie’s fidelity to the source material that it currently enjoys a whopping 18% rating at Rottentomatoes (compared with 98% for Up, by way of comparison).

    I like Wil Ferrel in limited doses. Talladega Nights and Anchroman are brilliant comedies, for example, using Ferrel’s talents well. LotL doesn’t.

    There was plenty of room for clever parody, here. Galaxy Quest shows how you can actually make a good parody of a show without resorting to Sleestak sex, giant mosquitos or dinosaur urine for a gag. I take it as false that I must see the entire movie to know it for what it is. When the trailer considers Chaka’s boob-squeeze as one the film’s best comedic moments….it was no surprise to me after seeing three separate trailers that I could find no one who felt the film was worth seeing.

    Battlestar Galactica shows us how you can take a campy show and make it visceral, real and compelling.

    Galaxy Quest shows us how you can take a dated show with elements of camp and make a really funny parody of it.

    Men in Black showed how you can do a ridiculous premise as a comedy and go full-press to make in enjoyable. The core idea is pure camp and they revel in it.

    Hell, even the 2008 Journey to the Center of the Earth movie was earnestly bland. It may have had little to say and do, but it was a better Land of the Lost than the 2009 film with Ferrel is.

  64. A big-screen version of BIG JOHN, LITTLE JOHN might be interesting. Of course, the only person who could play Big John would be Robbie Rist — who, if I’m not mistaken, is now older than Herb Edelman was when BJ,LJ was made in the mid-1970s.

  65. I loved Land of the Lost as a kid; as dorky as the production values look now, in those days we didn’t know any better.

    Nastily making fun of something we enjoyed as kids doesn’t evoke nostalgia. It just ticks us off.

  66. To clarify, my comment about “nastily making fun” of the original is aimed at the filmmakers, in case that wasn’t clear!!

  67. The English show “The Mighty Boosh” manages to have a bit of the Krofft madness, while being very definitely for grownups.

  68. OTOH, the trailer also suggested at least the potential for a decently funny movie, by way of the running gag wherein the T. Rex is clearly way, way smarter than Ferrell’s character (and probably everyone else’s).

    That gag would be a lot better if it wasn’t clear that the T. Rex is ultimately doomed to be defeated by Ferrell’s character, and I’m just not in the mood for a tear-jerker tragedy right now.

  69. They had the right idea, making Land of the Lost into a comedy. Just viewing the TV series, even with careless eye, you’ll see it screams not to be taken seriously.

    But Will Ferrell, even though I haven’t seen this film yet and I’m speaking for other movies, is more of a toned down Robin Williams. Like unstable plutonium, he needs controlled fast if you want to make an explosion of comedy for audiences who like, even though it’s silly, focused humor. The reviews I’ve heard is the film is not bad, but not great either.

    Do I want to watch this? I don’t know.

    http://ultrahip.blogspot.com

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