Land of the Lost Blu-ray Review
PictureLand of the Lost comes to Blu-ray with a 1080p resolution encoded using the AVC codec and framed within a theatrically correct 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The disc itself is region free.
I'm not sure why it seems to be a rule amongst modern films on Blu-ray that the lousiest look the best but this doesn't deviate from that supposition. It is clear form the outset that this has all the hallmarks of a great image. Colours are bold and vivid yet stay quite nicely balanced against each other. Primaries are particularly strong and lend the visuals that necessary kitsch comic book look that is needed for such outlandish fare. Blacks generally stay deep though can, when shown in large amounts over the screen, falter somewhat. Whites similarly are strong, yet show slight colouration and can grow slightly hot in places. Neither of these minor quibbles is greatly significant though as both remain stable and consistent for the most part.
Skin tones are also generally very good, with only the sporadic slight push towards wan tones on Friel detracting a little from this area. Detail on those flesh tones is extremely pleasing though as freckles, follicles and blemishes are all very much distinguishable. The fine detail overall is the major asset to this picture as between the minutiae of skin surfaces and fabric textures, there really is little that one can assume is missed.
As with any film that relies on computer generated imagery, this is shown to be a very clean and clear visual presentation, but don't be mistaken that this means there is a lack of grain. Unlike similar fare, Land of the Lost maintains a consistent and fine grain structure that really helps the cinematic feel of the piece. There are no obvious problems that I could detect with the CGI such as banding on subtle shades and generally these creations are well integrated into the live action material.
There is a trace of edge enhancement that is more apparent in one or two scenes but this is very much in the minority as throughout the run time there are no massive recurrences of problematic artefacts and the like, so this must be seen in context. Overall, apart from this blip and a slight varying of skin tone and white/black levels this is a very solid presentation that has far more detail and clarity than is arguably needed by the source material.
SoundLand of the Lost features three DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 tracks, in English, Spanish and French. Unsurprisingly I chose the English option.
Much like the picture, Land of the Lost has a similarly accomplished audio performance. It takes a short while for the mix to liven up, as the early sequences merely set the scene, but once we are into the other dimension, things really start to happen. The bass that accompanies the Tyrannosaurus Rex is deep and booming, and really doesn't need to push for subtlety, yet it integrates extremely well, with a myriad of smaller sounds thrown in to these instances that combine well. The breath of the beast could have been decidedly flat but instead it feels far more multi layered than that.
Ambient effects are also well catered for, as the surrounds are used to good effect. Discreet noises such as the buzz of mosquitoes and the sloshing of one such minute insect's hugely engorged bloodsack, as well as the flowing pans make for an encompassing listening experience. Both high and low frequencies mix together well and the dynamic range can actually be very surprising. The crash of a T-Rex rumbles while the breaking of glass is crisp and clear, along with Ferrell's many screams.
If there was one area which might be considered lacking it is that of the dialogue itself. It is clean, but just not particularly well prioritized at times, necessitating perhaps a turn of your receiver's volume knob. This though, like the minor nitpicking of the image, is small in comparison to the wealth of well orchestrated sounds that envelop the listener.
ExtrasFeature commentary with director Brad Silberling
Even though I didn't find the film very enthralling or funny, this actually turned out to be a worthy director's commentary. Silberling clearly has an enthusiasm for the subject material and enjoyed his working experiences on this film which comes across well. He never lets the track lull and continues a steady stream of information about the challenges they faced mixing live action with computer generated effects along with how improvised comedy and cast ideas were incorporated in places.
A simple tool that allows you to create specific clips for later viewing.
Deleted scenes - 1080p - 20:23
This feature comes with an optional commentary from director Brad Silberling. Most of the material is fairly obvious filler or alternate introductions to characters but there are some scenes that may have been worthy of inclusion in the final piece (not that that's a grand compliment though).
Dr Marshall's food diaries - 1080p - 5:49
Again, we are given the option of a commentary with Silberling to accompany the footage. This is arguably the best of the omitted material as it is simply pointing a camera at Ferrell and allowing him to find his comedic footing on his own. I'd argue that these small clips are actually funnier than the film itself.
A day in the life of a big time movie star - 1080i - 11:12
Danny McBride takes us through a typical day in his life on the set of Land of the Lost. It is your standard spoof mockumentary style but McBride wrings out about as much mileage as he can from the improvised format which supposes that everyone hates him, most of all Ferrell.
Devil's canyon gift shop commercial and tour - 1080i - 6:49
Another spoof, this time masquerading as a TV commercial and tour for the run down tourist attraction that is the Devil's canyon. The advert proudly proclaims the various heinous gifts that can be bought, such as knives fireworks and taxidermy, as well as “souveineers” and “belt buckles bitches”. The tour is more low key, with McBride trying his best to make everything seem exotic and coveted.
This is not a routine expedition: Making Land of the Lost - 1080i - 1:23:31
Comprising three segments; “Marshall, Will and Holly”, “Tusa-Jusa” and “welcome to Chatsworth”. Just about every aspect of the film is discussed, from the genesis of the idea through script readings, set design and other areas of production. It is interesting to follow the process of how the final product was brought to fruition and is surprisingly in depth for a feature of this sort.
Bradley, Sid and Marty: A conversation with the Kroffts - 1080i - 23:21
Director Brad Silberling chats to Sid and Marty Krofft, the creators of the classic seventies kids/family television series upon which this film was partially based. There are some nice titbits of information, such as where the inspiration for the banjo music was gleaned from, but generally this will only be of interest to those who remember the series in question with a degree of fondness as otherwise it becomes a little hard to take comparisons to Star Trek too seriously.
D-Box motion code
A code to enter into your D-Box motion controller so you can “experience a whole new dimension while watching this movie”. I don't have one, so I couldn't and therefore didn't.
Basically BD Live by another name. At the time of writing there were two features available. “Virtual worlds and digital doubles” takes us through the various types of technical wizardry incorporated to meld fantasy and reality together thanks to computer generated imagery. “The dumping ground” looks at similar techniques but focuses on the central portal to this new dimension into which various odd objects are placed and shows us which are made by set/props designers and which are entirely computer generated.
There's also a short “How to” option available from the main menu which asks you to “watch these user guides to get the most out of your Bu-ray experience”, focussing on “my scenes”, “registration” and “BD-Live”. Overall this is a fine set of extras that encompasses just about everything that a fan of the film could want to know as well as some light hearted comedy to go alongside the technical information. I may not be a fan of BD-Live or any of the other gimmicks Universal put on their Blu-rays but at least they are trying to ensure they are user friendly as well.
VerdictLand of the Lost, as a specimen of what the Blu-ray format can offer, has to be considered a success. The picture and sound facilitate a pleasant and often invigorating viewing experience, being accomplished in both areas with only minor caveats to be highlighted. The extras are among the better examples to be seen and give just about every scrap of information a fan could ask for, with a nice blend of humorous light hearted mockumentaries mixed with more serious pieces about the actual production.
Unfortunately, the same high praise cannot be attached to the film itself. Fans of Ferrell may find something within that at least appeases their appetite for his style of comedy, but the vast majority will instead see an empty shell of a movie which lacks a real heart. If you have fond memories of the original series upon which this was based, then I can only assume you will fall within one of two camps, either hating it for ruining a cherished childhood memory, or finding the updating to be a nice ride of nostalgic family fun. For me, as an outsider to the series with no previous knowledge of it other than the barest hints picked up from its mention in other American comedies, I found this to be hollow and a misuse of both McBride and Ferrell's comedy talents.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £24.79
Our Review Ethos
To comment on what you've read here, click the Discussion tab and post a reply.