Sep 8, 2014

Review: The Land That Time Forgot (2009)

If I were to take a guess, there must only be two types of customers who end up watching Asylum movies. The first type of customer is the mistaken customer. They're the ones who get fooled into thinking that they're paying money to see the Hollywood blockbuster movie that The Asylum is ripping off. I pity those customers but really, look a little closer at what you're getting. The second type of customers are the ones who want to see what kind of disaster The Asylum has cooked up this time around. That's me.

He used to be Poneyboy Curtis from The Outsiders and now he stars and directs Asylum movies. He's C. Thomas Howell and you got to wonder how he ended up in this position. This isn't his first rodeo either. He directed Asylum's War of the Worlds 2: The Next Wave and The Day the Earth Stopped in the same year. He then followed that up with The Land That Time Forgot the next year. He's also starred in each one. Co-star Darren Dalton holds the privileged position of having wrote the screenplay for this masterpiece remake of the 1975 TLTTF and also doubles as a mockbuster for The Land of the Lost with Will Ferrell. Dalton too was also in The Outsiders funnily enough. Just goes to show that it's a small world.


Genre: action, fantasy, sci-fi
Directed by: C. Thomas Howell
Produced by: David Michael Latt, David Rimawi, Anthony Fankhauser, etc.
Written by: Darren Dalton
Music by: Chris Cano, Chris Ridenhour
Running time: 88 minutes
Production company: The Asylum
Distributed by: The Asylum, Hamburger Medien Haus, IPA Asia Pacific, etc.
Country: United States
Language: English, German
Budget: $600,000
Box office: N/A

IMDb entry
Rotten Tomatoes entry

Starring: C. Thomas Howell, Timothy Bottoms, Lindsey McKeon, Darren Dalton, Anya Benton, Christopher Showerman, David H. Stevens, Patrick Gorman, Stephen Blackehart, Christian Stoehr, Scott Subiono, Lew Knopp, Jonathan Sanders


Frost Michaels (C. Thomas Howell) is enjoying his honeymoon with his wife Karen (Anya Benton) aboard a ship captained by Burroughs (Timothy Bottoms) and accompanied by another newlywed couple. They get caught in the middle of a storm and are somehow transported through a portal to an island that is inhabited by prehistoric dinosaurs. With not enough water to sail their way back, they're forced to explore the island which ends up making things much, much worse. 


C. Thomas Howell does his best to inject a certain sense of literary-ness with his opening and closing narration because after all, it is supposed to be based on Edgar Rice Burrough's novel. Although I wouldn't really know, IMDb reveals that the movie has absolutely nothing to do with the source material. That isn't really too surprising because why should The Asylum care? Edgar Rice Burrough's name is just used for marketing purposes while they try to produce a movie as cheaply as possible. They gotta fool as many people as they can into thinking that this is some sort of respectable production and ERB is an easy ploy.

It goes without saying that the effects are absolutely atrocious. This is a movie made with a $600,000 budget and I wouldn't expect any less. For those that are wondering, yes the dinosaurs do look worse than those from the 1975 version. Post production issues aren't just limited to the CGI, but also with the subpar sound and amateurish film editing. With fades that remind you of some kind of photo montage your aunt made for the family, it's a less than pleasing effort. Additionally, Chris Cano and Chris Ridenhour's score sounds like something they recorded inside one of those large garbage bins. It's pretty rough on the ears to say the least.

The "acting" in The Land That Time Forgot is pretty far from what usually passes for acting but it's not as bad as what I've seen in other Asylum productions. C. Thomas Howell is the best in this regard. I'd say that the worst we see is mostly from Timothy Bottoms as Captain Burroughs. It's not easy delivering garbage lines but he succeeds in churning it into even more of a mess which ends up being pretty amusing to watch. 

There are lots of opportunities for hokey sentimental scenes involving loved ones being in danger but nothing ever ends up making you the viewer feel anything. You don't care if these characters get gobbled up by tyrannosaurus rexes, in fact maybe you want them to since the movie might end up finishing sooner if everyone gets eaten. The funniest example of C. Thomas Howell trying to inject some emotion into The Land That Time Forgot is a laughable montage showcasing the teamwork and ingenuity of a group of people trying to survive on a dinosaur infested island. It's baloney.

So how bad is The Land That Time Forgot? Firstly, it's not the worst of the Asylum movies that I've seen. Yes the budget is felt pretty much everywhere but it doesn't feel as blatantly lazy as other Asylum movies. The funniest thing though is that it's pretty much on par with the movie it tries to rip off, Land of the Lost. LotL is for sure one of the unfunniest movies I've ever seen and while yes it has more talent and a bigger budget, it's one of the biggest failures in adventure/comedies I can think of. The Land That Time Forgot is just a severely low-budgeted Asylum mockbuster that is fun to laugh at and point out all the flaws. My advice to Hollywood? Better look over your shoulder.



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