It might be that the most surprising thing about this weekend’s Land of the Lost is how faithful it is to the original show. Sure, the new movie has taken major liberties, including changing the relationships and dynamics of Marshall, Will and Holly (why isn’t it Rick, Will and Holly? Why is the dad referred to by his last name but the kids by their first?), but the ‘mythology’ of Land of the Lost is still there.
That’s surprising because nobody remembers that mythology. You could just make a movie with dinosaurs, Sleestaks and Chaka and most people would think you were being faithful. But director Brad Silberling and screenwriters Chris Henchy and Dennis McNicholas put in a whole bunch of the strange science fiction stuff that permeated the show, including Enoch the Altrusian, futuristic civilizations and bizarre crystals and pylons.
Rewatching the show I’m struck by two things: How serious it is and how cheap it is. The characters stand in front of backdrops that look like they were painted by 6th graders. And then they emote for all they’re worth. If this show was made today it would be so much sillier.
The entire first season of the show is up on Hulu and I’ve selected some pivotal episodes that get referenced in the movie. The first episode, called Cha-Ka, has our timelost heroes meeting their Pakuni sidekick for the first time. The movie changes the details of the meeting, but keeps the injured leg. The movie also makes Chaka… hornier.