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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr
enik1138
-at-popapostle-dot-com
 
(For the original TV series, go to Episode Studies - LOTL70 and for the 1990's TV series go to Episode Studies - LOTL90)
Land of the Lost movie Land of the Lost
Written by Chris Henchy and Dennis McNicholas
Directed by Brad Silberling
Released 2009

Has-been scientist Dr. Rick Marshall, research assistant Holly and redneck survivalist Will take a wrong turn into the dinosaur and Sleestak filled world of the Land of the Lost. Hijinks ensue.

 

Read the complete Land of the Lost movie synopsis 

 

Didja Notice?

 

The Universal Pictures logo that opens the film is an old one which was used from about 1971-1990. Perhaps it is meant to honor the original LOTL TV series (hereafter referred to as LOTL70) which ran from 1974-76. (In the director's commentary, Silberling says the logo was taken from a print of Play Misty for Me, a 1971 crime drama directed by Clint Eastwood.)

 

The static of the astronaut's in-suit transmitter fades in while the Universal Pictures logo is still on the screen.

 

In his attempt to contact Mission Control while slogging through the swamp, the astronaut mentions that he seems to have fallen into some kind of tear in time and space while re-entering Earth's orbit. This would indicate that, somehow, a portal to the Land of the Lost opened up in space. Was there an intelligence behind the opened doorway? Was the astronaut brought on purpose?

 

The astronaut says his coordinates are unknown and asks, "Is this even Earth?" He goes on to tell whoever might be listening that his ship's instruments indicate he's in White Sands, New Mexico. He doesn't live long enough to find out where he really is, but this seems to be a clue that it is Earth of the past. Whether he was in the ancient past of the White Sands region is debatable. 100 million years ago the region was a shallow sea, not a swamp as seen here, the cause of the formation of gypsum deposits that eventually formed the white sands tens of millions of years later.

 

We get our first quick glimpse of the triple moons in a reflection in the water at 0:51 on the DVD.

 

At 1:21 on the DVD we get a shot of a tyrannosaur (presumably Grumpy) roaring into the camera via the reflection on the astronaut's helmet. This may be an homage to the last shot of the opening credit sequence of LOTL70 in which, after chasing the Marshall family into a cliffside cave, Grumpy turns to the camera and roars.

 

We are introduced to Dr. Rick Marshall by Matt Lauer, hosting the Today Show on NBC. The Today Show, of course, is an actual morning news program in the United States airing on weekday mornings on NBC, which Matt Lauer has co-anchored since 1997. Both NBC and Universal are owned by the same company (General Electric). NBC is also the network on which LOTL70 originally aired.

 

On the Today Show, Dr. Marshall is plugging his book My Other Car is a Time Machine. The title has been a bumper sticker since shortly after the release of the movie Back to the Future in 1985.

 

After Dr. Marshall loads his pipe with tobacco, Matt Lauer tells him he can't smoke on the set. At 2:52 on the DVD, Marshall dumps the tobacco into a mug on the coffee table in front of them...but it is Lauer's mug not his, hence Lauer's detached, deadpan look an instant later. Notice that Marshall's mug is on the left, partly obscured by the plant, in the screenshot below.

 

Dr. Marshall's presentation at the La Brea Tar Pits museum begins with the music of Also sprach Zarathustra (1896) by Richard Strauss. It was probably used here due to its familiarity in modern times as the theme of the film 2001: A Space Odyssey

 

The stylized image of a saber-toothed cat that appears on signs throughout the La Brea Tar Pits portion of the film is the actual logo of the La Brea Tar Pits historical/educational site in Los Angeles.

 

Marshall's motivational poster 'RISK-If you don't make it it's your damn "vault"!' seems to have been made just for this film; I've not been able to find it as an actual poster for sale.

 

The fossilized rock of a Zippo lighter that Holly Cantrell presents to Marshall is also seen to contain the fossilized remains of a trilobite, an extinct marine arthropod.

 

Dr. Marshall makes some pop culture references as exclamatory phrases throughout the film:

 

  • At 7:09 on the DVD, he exclaims, "Captain Kirk's nipples!" Of course, Captain Kirk is the legendary starship captain of Star Trek played by William Shatner.

  • At 30:09 he says, "Sweet Gregor Mendel!" Gregor Mendel is the priest and scientist who is known for his study of the new science of genetics in the 1800s.


At 7:25 on the DVD, we see Holly wearing an outfit very similar to what Holly Marshall wore throughout the LOTL70 series.

 

At 7:40 on the DVD, we can see that Marshall's polo shirt says "Page Museum" above "La Brea Tar Pits". The Page Museum is the museum on the tar pits grounds.

 

Explaining his eating binge to Holly, Marshall ends with, "But I'm in control. And I don't have to go back to Phoenix." What is in Phoenix he doesn't want to go back to? An overeaters halfway house?

 

Marshall lists a whole series of fast-food restaurants he ate at the previous night: Arby's, Popeyes, Del Taco, Subway. All are real fast-food restaurants in the southern California area (and elsewhere). Subway was a sponsor of the movie and, around the time of the film's release, even had commercials featuring a Sleestak in line for a sub sandwich!

 

Marshall tells Holly that while he powered through a 12-inch veggie sub at Subway, he was babbling to a cutout of Jared. Jared Fogle is a nationally-recognized spokesman for Subway restaurants, centering on his real-life claim that he lost weight on what he calls the Subway diet.

 

The hard drive in Marshall's tachyon amplifier contains some undeleted old files, including the song "I Hope I Get It" from the film version of the musical play A Chorus Line.

 

As Holly takes command and tells Marshall they're going on a routine expedition, Michael Giacchino's score turns to banjo music. The banjo was an instrument used throughout LOTL70 to provide background music. The phrase "routine expedition" used by Holly here was used in the opening theme song of LOTL70.

 

For some reason, there is a truck with a radiation symbol on it parked outside of Marshall's office at 9:27 on the DVD.

 

Holly brings Marshall to the Devil's Canyon Mystery Cave, a cheap, run-down roadside attraction in desert. She tells him it was here that she found the fossil with the Zippo lighter imprint. Though there are two or three places known as Devil's Canyon in California, none are anything like what is seen here. Most likely proprietor Will Stanton made the name up to make his attraction sound mysterious and dangerous.

 

The vehicle that Marshall drives looks similar to the Jeep Cherokee used by the Porter family in the 1990s version of the TV series (LOTL90). However, Dr. Marshall's vehicle looks more like a Toyota Land Cruiser, possibly the 50 Series made from 1967-1980.
Dr. Marshall's vehicle in the film The Porter family's Jeep in LOTL90

 

As they pull into the dirt parking lot of the Devil's Canyon Mystery Cave, Marshall says, "This dump is a portal?" "Portal" is the term that was used to describe the dimensional apertures in LOTL90; in LOTL70 they were referred to as "time doorways".

 

At the Devil's Canyon Mystery Cave, Marshall and Holly meet the proprietor, Will Stanton. Trying to sell them fireworks, he rattles off a list of types he has in stock. Most of them are familiar as real fireworks, but a couple are probably made up by the writers or improvised by actor Danny McBride; I'm not aware of any "twitter-litters" or "Mexican vasectomies".

 

When Will shows off his model of the casino he hopes to build, the front of it is emblazoned with an American Indian caricature that looks similar to Chief Wahoo, the mascot of the Cleveland Indians baseball team. Additionally, the round building next to the casino looks much like the "UFO"-shaped object seen later in the ancient temple.

 

At 11:54 on the DVD, Will refers to Holly as Mary Poppins, probably because of her British accent. Mary Poppins is an English nanny with magical abilities who appears in a series of children's books and a classic 1964 Disney film starring Julie Andrews.

 

Marshall and Holly pay to take the ride through the Devil's Canyon Mystery Cave. Will loads them into a yellow rubber raft and they head down a fake river into the cave entrance. On LOTL70, the Marshall family's adventure began when they take a routine expedition on a yellow rubber raft down the Colorado River, through what appears to be the Grand Canyon (though may have been one of the tributary canyons).

 

As they make their way through the cave, it becomes apparent that most, if not all, of the "cave" is fake, made of paper mache, chicken wire and plywood. Watching carefully, you can see a number of homages to LOTL70 during this sequence (and in this location at the end of the film). The ride could also be described as a poor man's Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland (minus the pirates!):


  •     The Christmas lights strung up along the ceiling give somewhat of an impression of the colored crystals found stuck in the rock in various places throughout the Land.

  •     Will tells of the Devil's Canyon Lizard Man and has a prop of the creature that slides out of a nook in the "cave" wall to scare the tourists on the raft as it goes by. The Lizard Man mock-up looks much like a Sleestak, but we never get an explanation on how Will came to design the creature since he has not yet been to the Land of the Lost to see the actual Sleestaks. He does mention, as part of the mystique of the cave, that the Lizard Man "has been seen around these parts since the Pilgrim times." It's misleading for him to say "Pilgrim times" since the Pilgrims arrived on the east coast of what would become Massachusetts in 1620 and they themselves didn't make it much further west than that, nevermind out to California. Possibly the native American Indians and early Spanish explorers coming up from Mexico could have seen the "Lizard Man" and told stories of their experience at that time. The sound that plays as the Lizard Man "attacks" is the hissing sound of the Sleestaks from LOTL70. Listen: Lizard-Man hiss

  •     At 13:22 on the DVD, on screen right, a small cannon can be seen pointed towards the water. Reminiscent of the aforementioned Pirates of the Caribbean ride. It may also be a reference to the "Downstream" episode of LOTL70 in which the Marshall family meets an old veteran from the U.S. Civil War who still has his cannon, "Sarah".

  •     When the cave starts shaking, Will exclaims, "This ain't me! This is an earthquake!" and Marshall responds, "Greatest earthquake ever known!" The theme song of LOTL70 explains that, on their routine expedition, the Marshalls "met the greatest earthquake ever known".

  •     At 14:04 on the DVD, a couple of the wooden supports in the cave interior appear to have the words "TORN" and "GONZO" painted on them. I don't know the significance, if any.

  •     At 14:20 on the DVD, there is an animatronic coyote holding a ring of keys in its mouth, similar to the dog holding the key ring on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.

  •     As the raft is sucked towards the portal/waterfall, the water is very bright (almost Tidy Bowl) blue. Here, it is caused by the blue light of the portal that has opened ahead of them. During the opening theme of LOTL70, the miniature canyon/river set that was shot also had very blue water without explanation.

  •     When Marshall and Holly return home through the Mystery Cave, at 1:29:07 on the DVD, a chicken wire type grilling effect is visible on the paper mache wall behind Marshall. This same pattern was frequently visible within the tunnels of the Lost City on LOTL70, a sign of the low budget for sets on the series.

  •  

  • Notice that the Lizard Man dummy in the Devil's Canyon Mystery Cave has tiny pointed teeth in it, a foreshadowing of the double rows of teeth to be revealed on the Sleestak later.

  •  

 
At 15:56 on the DVD we get a daylight shot of the triple moons. Notice that the moons are in different positions and even have different markings than seen previously in the water reflection seen at 0:51 on the DVD; this is consistent with the wildly different aspects of the three moons on LOTL70. Also, note the similarity in the large moon here with the large moon on LOTL70; they both have a sort of Death Star look to them! Of course, LOTL70 ran from 1974-76, years before Star Wars was made!

 

At 16:06 on the DVD, we see a Viking ship, similar in type to the famous Oseburg Ship in the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo, Norway. The airplane is possibly a Cessna.

 

Holly comments that the Pakuni have the posture of an Australopithecine. Australopithecines were hominids during the Plio-Pleistocene era. She continues, saying, "...but the sagittal crest of--" before she is interrupted by Will masturbating.

 

   At 17:17 on the DVD we are introduced to the Pakuni. One of them, who appears to be the youngest, is Cha-ka. The other two may be this film's representations of Ta and Sa, but the viewer is never told.

   Cha-ka was the main Pakuni character on LOTL70 and Ta and Sa were his tribe mates. It was never made clear what their relationship was to Cha-ka beyond that, but speculation has been they were either father and mother or brother and sister to the younger child (although, at times, it was implied that Sa was also male even though played by actress Sharon Baird).

   In the film, the three Pakuni in this scene must all be males since the females are shown to be human-looking at the end of the film.

 

The two older Pakuni run off with Will's lighter. In LOTL70 the Pakuni were also fascinated by Rick Marshall's lighter and attempted to steal it to bring fire back to the tribe.


When Holly tries introducing herself to the young Paku they have just saved, Cha-ka mispronounces her name as Horry. This is a nod to the Cha-ka of LOTL70 who always called Holly "Ari" as the Pakuni did not have an "L" sound in their language, the "L's" sounding like "R's" instead.

 

After rescuing Cha-ka from the other two Pakuni, the humans find he has a sprained ankle. This is a nod to the first episode of LOTL70, "Cha-ka", in which the Marshall family rescues Cha-ka from Grumpy the tyrannosaur after the young Paku falls and twists his ankle, unable to flee from the carnivore.

 

As Marshall moves to examine Cha-ka's injured foot, he says, "I'm Dr. Rick Marshall. Dr. Rick Marshall. Ok? Let's take a look at that ankle. Does that sound good? Keep in mind, Cha-ka, although I'm a doctor, I'm not a licensed physician." In the LOTL70 episode "Cha-ka", Rick Marshall also examines Cha-ka's twisted ankle saying, "I'm not really a doctor you know, so you'll just have to trust me."

 

The markings on the sacrificial altar in the desert look like an amalgam and alteration of shapes from ancient Germanic and Scandinavian runic alphabets. However, I've not found a runic alphabet that matches close enough to translate these inscriptions.

We are not told in the film if these are Pakuni inscriptions, or Sleestak, or something else.

 

Somehow, simply because she spent some time working at the primate house at the Munster Zoo, Holly knows how to speak a fair amount of Pakuni. Since when do Earth primates use spoken words at all? They don't have the proper vocal cords for it! Ridiculous, even for an alleged comedy such as this.

 

After falling through the sandpit into a huge cavern, the humans and Cha-ka are attacked and held aloft by green tendrils of vegetation. This is somewhat reminiscent of the vines in Medusa's garden (which Will called "the salad that fights back") which attack the Marshalls in the LOTL70 episode "Medusa".

 

At 22:20 on the DVD, Marshall spots a ripped and tattered spacesuit on the pile of bones in Grumpy's "feeding station". Presumably this is the suit worn by the astronaut seen at the beginning of the film

 

At 24:03 on the DVD, we get our first look at the crevasse, complete with stone bridge, similar to the one seen in many episodes of LOTL70. Notice that there are a number of what appear to be natural stone pillars on either side, implying that the stone bridge is a fallen pillar itself. Here, the stone bridge leads to the cave our heroes will make their home in initially. This is not the case on LOTL70, where the bridge led into more jungle which eventually opened into the courtyard of the Lost City. We also see some nearby vegetable growths that look a lot like giant cabbages; this is a reference to the giant fruits and vegetables that grew in the Land in LOTL70.

 

Dr. Marshall comments that Grumpy's brain is the size of a walnut. In the LOTL70 episode "Cha-ka", Holly says the same thing.

 

Somehow, not only is the tyrannosaur here very intelligent...he even seems to understand English as Marshall insults him! Ludicrous. 

 

At 25:16 and elsewhere on the DVD, we see that the opening of the cave mouth in which our heroes take shelter from Grumpy is very similar in shape to the opening of the High Bluff cave in LOTL70. Both also had scenes of Grumpy looking into the cave at what he hoped would be his next meal.

 

At 25:23 on the DVD, we see that Grumpy has some scars on his upper lip from a battle with some other creature.

 

At 25:43 on the DVD, Grumpy turns from the cave and roars into the camera, similar to the end of the opening theme of LOTL70.

 

While Marshall, Will, and Holly watch Grumpy stalk away from the cave, Cha-ka disappears into the interior and turns on an old phonograph he finds there. But where is the power for it coming from?!

 

According to the director's commentary, the song we first hear playing on the phonograph in the cave is "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy". It was a popular song during WWII performed by the Andrews Sisters.

 

The interior of the cave appears to be water-eroded sandstone. Many of the side-passages we see here look similar to the Antelope Canyon caves found on Navajo land in northern Arizona, near the Grand Canyon.

 

Through the scenes in the cave, we see that the previous human occupants have left the following Earth paraphernalia: WWII era army uniforms, hats, and helmets; a bell; a phonograph with a number of records; several WWII era wooden crates; a card table; two chairs; an oil lamp; an old iron cook stove; a bicycle; a small animal cage; a lantern; a footlocker; a shield; a pick; a bed frame; a barrel.

 

From 27:17-53:18 Holly is wearing her hair in braids like the Holly character in LOTL70.

 

For no discernible reason, Holly cuts her jeans into cutoffs. Presumably because the director wanted to show off her legs for the balance of the film. Not that I'm complaining.

 

As Cha-ka lays down to sleep in the cave at 27:45 on the DVD, he is sniffing the cut off legs of Holly's jeans! Possibly this is a reference to the LOTL70 episode "The Paku Who Came to Dinner" in which the Pakuni are obsessed with Holly's perfume, particularly her jean jacket on which she spills some of the perfume.

 

The Land of the Lost has giant walnuts growing in it. Somehow, despite his stubby arms, Grumpy is able to wrap one up in leaves as a warning "gift" for Marshall. Absurd. The giant walnut is Grumpy's message to Marshall signifying that, yes, his brain is the size of a walnut.

 

As we watch Marshall record his video report at 30:28 on the DVD, he states that it is 0600 Zulu Time. Zulu Time is another name for Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), a time standard based on International Atomic Time and which is used by aviation and other industries to give the same time all over the world, regardless of time zones.

 

Holly says the ancient Sleestak temple they discover reminds her of the Olmec culture of Mesoamerica. The Olmecs were the first Mesoamerican civilization from about 1400 to 400 BC. Marshall then comments that it reminds him of the Prudential Building. The Prudential Building is located in Boston, Massachusetts. Presumably Marshall is referring to the crystalline pylon in the middle of the courtyard, but I'm not sure why it would necessarily remind him of the Prudential Building; perhaps because the Prudential Building has a lot of windows and appears out-of-place in its location, like an ugly, swollen sore thumb over the Boston skyline.

 

As the Sleestak step out of their hidey-holes at 34:07 on the DVD, we see that one clawed toe clicks up and down once, similar to the claw of the Velociraptors in the Jurassic Park film series. Perhaps here it is meant to suggest that the Sleestak may have evolved from raptors? 

 

Will is the first to touch the crystalline pylon. On LOTL70, it was also Will who first touched the golden pylon the Marshalls found in the jungle. Here, he feels a vibrating motion on the surface. In the original series, Will describes the pylon as feeling cold but otherwise like he wasn't touching anything at all, it was so smooth.

 

While he's touching the pylon, Will's voice is altered to sound like an electro-synth song performer and he sings out, "Do you believe in life after love?" This is from the 1999 Cher song "Believe" (in which Cher's voice in electronically altered). After criticizing him, Dr. Marshall then joins him in performing additional lyrics from the song. 

 

The "Beware of Sleestak" message in the temple courtyard is written to look almost exactly like the one written outside the Lost City in LOTL70. Cool.
Movie LOTL70

 

In LOTL70, the Sleestak appeared to be toothless. Here, they are revealed to not only have sharp teeth, but two rows of them!

 

Marshall somehow gets the idea to use Holly's shiny belt buckle to reflect the sun's rays into the eyes of the nearby Sleestak statues. This scene may be a reference to two different ideas from LOTL70: 1. the reflector mirrors worn by the Marshall family around their necks to send Morse code signal flashes to each other to signal danger or safety (most notably in "Skylons") and 2. the statue from the "Ancient Guardian" episode in which the Marshalls discover an Altrusian statue that uses solar power to keep a large, ape-like beast from pillaging the eggs from their tunnels.

 

The pylon is much larger inside than the outside. This is a trait borrowed from the pylons of LOTL70.

 

When Marshall, Will, and Holly step inside the pylon at 37:26 on the DVD, they are standing on a floating platform, just the three of them. Suddenly at 37:32, Enik is laying on the platform with them. How did he get there?

 

In the pylon, Marshall, Will, and Holly meet Enik the Altrusian. The film does not give an explanation as to why Enik looks similar, but different, to the Sleestak. In LOTL70, it is explained that the Altrusians were a race that lived in a city in the Land who devolved into the Sleestak, seemingly due to their failure to keep their base emotions in check over many generations.

 

Enik says, "Thank Vindark you've come to my aid, Rick Marshall." Who or what is Vindark? It's never explained and the name was never mentioned on LOTL70.

 

The Enik here is dressed similarly to the Enik of LOTL70. Note the red tunic and diamond-shaped pendant. Two differences are that the movie Enik wears a sash over his tunic and does not wear the bracelet of red crystals on his left hand.
Movie Enik LOTL70 Enik

 

Notice that in Enik's speech throughout the movie, the actor's breath can be heard inside the character mask. I assume this was intentional as this trait is also noticeable in Enik's portrayal on LOTL70.

 

Enik seems to pronounce the word "crystal" with an emphasis on the second syllable, similar to the way the evil Sleestak Shung did on LOTL90.

 

Enik is capable of laughter here (or at least a chuckle), unlike in LOTL70 where he did not seem to understand the concept of humor.

 

The matrix tables on LOTL70 were made up of variously colored crystals. Here, they appear to be white or clear crystals but notice that, as Enik moves his hands over them at 39:55 on the DVD, they subtly take on various colors.

 

The collapsible plastic jug that Marshall uses to hold the hadrosaur urine is of a similar type to the ones used for water by the Marshall family in LOTL70.

 

Dr. Marshall compares the hike into the desert that Cha-ka leads them on to the Bataan Death March. The Bataan Death March was the forcible 60-mile march of 75,000 prisoners of war in the Philippines by the Japanese during WWII. Many of the prisoners died in the march due to the tropical heat, withholding of food and water, and cruelties inflicted by the guards.

 

Marshall refers to the artifacts in the desert as a cosmic lost-and-found, not far removed from Enik's description of the world as a land of the lost. 

 

The lost-and-found that Marshall refers to contains a number of recognizable historical, commercial, and pop culture icons as seen in the screen grabs below. Most of them must have come from Earth's future since many of them are unique and still exist on modern day Earth.
A military helicopter, a diesel semi-truck labeled BEEF, a British phone booth, a Japanese Zero fighter plane, a Union 76 gas station sign, a blue box (possibly a portable outhouse), the Sphinx, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Sydney Opera House, a half dozen covered wagons, the Great Wall of China, the Hollywood sign, a cruise ship (possibly the Queen Mary), a ferris wheel. At the left: widely recognized as the Capeteria sign, this one actually appears to be the sign of L&S Carpet in North Hollywood, CA (formerly a Carpeteria). At the right: the gigantic, transparent cube has an Apple Computer logo on it, but I don't know what it's supposed to be (perhaps a futuristic super-computer?).
   
The booth to the left is reminiscent (but not exact) of a Fotomat. In the background there appears to be a submarine, perhaps nuclear.
   
In the foreground and background are the arm and head of the Statue of Liberty. To the left there appear to be two pink train cars; I'm not aware of the reference. There appears to be a flying saucer embedded in the ground. Perhaps the design is from a specific movie?
   
In the background behind Grumpy is what appears to be an offshore oil rig. The remains of an Urban Outfitters store.
   
A stretch Hummer limousine. Big Boy statue from the Bob's Big Boy restaurant chain; a wooden catapult; a U.S. spacecraft, possibly Apollo-era
   
In the foreground is the famous "Giant Buddha" statue from Lantau Island, Hong Kong. In the background, below the Golden Gate, is a tourist tram from Universal Studios. In the background, a drive-in movie screen and marquee sign advertising 2001: A Space Odyssey. In the foreground, two vintage "tailfin" automobiles stuck head-first in the ground; this is perhaps meant to suggest the cars stuck in the ground at Cadillac Ranch, an art exhibit in Amarillo, TX along Old Route 66.

 

At 45:17 on the DVD, Holly points out that the little dinosaurs that are swarming around are Compsognathus. These dinosaurs also appeared in the Jurassic Park sequel The Lost World. Will refers to them as "chupacabras", a reptilian-looking cryptozoological animal commonly spoken of in mostly Latin American regions.

 

At 45:51 on the DVD, a pack of Velociraptors runs right past Marshall, Will, Holly, and Cha-ka to get at the man just arrived in the ice cream truck. Why would they just ignore our heroes if they're so ravenous?

 

At 46:19 on the DVD, we see that a raptor has ripped the arm off of the ice cream man!

 

At 46:29 on the DVD, Holly identifies the newcomer dinosaur as a female Allosaurus. This is a reference to the LOTL70 dinosaur called Big Alice. 

 

Alice's death pose at 50:35 on the DVD is probably an homage to the death of the Allosaurus in the 1966 film One Million Years B.C.
Alice is dead One Million Years B.C.

 

While trying to psych Dr. Marshall back up, Holly admits that she was tossed out of Cambridge for embracing his theories. Cambridge refers to the prestigious Cambridge University, the second oldest university in England.

 

Cha-ka seems to be learning English quickly. At 53:30 on the DVD, Will says, "C'mon, Cha-ka. Let's work on our mission statement." To which the Paku seems to reply, "Okay."

 

At 55:58 on the DVD, Marshall sings his rendition of the LOTL70 theme song. The two places where Will and Holly scream at the insect that is drawing blood from Marshall's body come in where we would hear the Marshall family screaming during the original theme, first when going over the waterfall and second when awakening in their raft to see Grumpy looking down on them.

 

Why do our heroes spend the night in the middle of the jungle instead of at the cave? Has Cha-ka led them that far away from it?

 

How is it that the water in the motel swimming pool they find in the desert is so clean? I suppose the place must have just arrived in the Land of the Lost.

 

Might the LOTL90 episode "Cheers" have been the inspiration for the "funny fruit" consumed by Cha-ka, Marshall, and Will? Here in the movie, Cha-ka the Paku stumbles across a bush bearing the fruit (with whose effects he is already familiar) and introduces Marshall and Will to it, whereupon the three get blitzed out of their minds on the stuff. In the  "Cheers" episode, Stink the Paku stumbles upon a tree bearing fermented fruit (which he seems to be familiar with) and after consuming some himself, later introduces it to Kevin Porter and they get blitzed on the stuff. The fruit here in the movie looks different and is called magala; it is not named in the LOTL90 episode.

 

When Holly finds another pylon in the desert, why does the pylon door seem to lead into a cave instead of the pylon interior? Is this scene meant as a take-off on "The Pylon Express" episode of LOTL70 in which Holly enters a pylon that leads her to other worlds (although there she was still standing in the pylon interior and observing the other worlds through the doorway)? In the director's commentary, Silberling says that, in the TV series, the Marshalls would step into a pylon and go into a series of caves where they would find Enik and his matrix table! Uh, no.

 

One of the few jokes that gets a chuckle from me is when a giant crab is seen falling into a hot spring and then we flash-cut to Will squeezing a giant lemon wedge over a cooked crab leg (bringing back memories of the giant fruits and vegetables found in the Land in the LOTL70). But where did the lemon come from? There don't appear to be any trees nearby to have grown it. It seems like they would have had to make a pretty long hike to go back to the jungle and back again just to grab a giant lemon.

 

At 1:06:34 on the DVD, a trail of fruit rinds can be seen leading from the motel to the spot in the sand where Marshall, Will, and Cha-ka have gathered to eat their boiled crab.

 

In the background, at 1:06:52 on the DVD, you can see that Will catches a flying insect in his hand and eats it.

 

The Zarn presented in the movie is an Altrusian, like Enik. In the original series, Zarn was an alien being with a body seemingly made up of lights.

 

The name "the Zarn" would seem to be a title of position in the Altrusian civilization, perhaps with a constabulary or warden meaning since the being presented here was meant to watch over the criminal Enik.

 

The Zarn appears to have a tattoo or painted sigil on his otherwise bare chest.

 

The voice of the Zarn is provided by Leonard Nimoy, known best as Mr. Spock in the original Star Trek series.

 

From their joking discussion at 1:08:34 and the scene of them awakening in the morning at 1:10:21, we get a vague intimation of gay sex having occurred. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Hilarious.

 

In the scene of two Sleestaks preparing to mate at 1:11:36 on the DVD, there is a heart-shaped caved opening in the background.

 

The Sleestak mating scene suggests they shed their skin during the mating process. 

 

The lead two Sleestak in the procession at 1:12:19 on the DVD are wearing some kind of ornamentation. The center ornament appears to be an image of 12 Sleestak or Altrusian heads surrounding a pylon.

 

Though it's never called that in the movie, the scene beginning at 1:12:36 on the DVD, appears to be the film's version of the Library of Skulls from LOTL70.

 

The scene of Holly suspended in a cage over a pit by the Sleestak is similar to scenes that occurred in several episodes of LOTL70. The scene in the movie may also have been partly inspired by the sacrificial lava pit scenes in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

 

The skulls tell the human captives several things about Enik:

  • He destroyed an entire civilization. Do they mean the Altrusian civilization? Did he cause the Altrusians to devolve into the Sleestak? (This is what happened on LOTL70, though not Enik's fault.)

  • Enik was sentenced to 10,000 years imprisonment. Is he expected to live that long? Do Altrusians have extraordinarily long lifespans?

  • Enik was made to wear a tunic as a symbol of his deceit. If so, couldn't Enik just take it off anytime he wished? Especially once he escaped the Zarn?

 

The staff that Marshall picks up at 1:18:35 on the DVD has a little Sleestak head on it.

 

At 1:19:50 on the DVD, Grumpy steps on Marshall's Zippo lighter, smashing it into the rock floor of the temple. This must be the origin of the fossil Holly brought to Marshall at his lab earlier in the film. At first blush it seems to imply that the world of the Land of the Lost is simply Earth in the past. But that leaves the triple moons in the sky unexplained. And since Holly said she found the fossil near the Devil's Canyon Mystery Cave where they opened the portal to the Land, it may simply be that the fossil falls (or is brought) through a portal itself at some point, to the Mystery Cave area on Earth.

 

At 1:19:54 on the DVD, Marshall runs, rolls, runs as he dives to grab the staff. This is similar to a classic move Captain Kirk used to make frequently on episodes of Star Trek.

 

When Marshall comes riding Grumpy into the temple grounds, it may be an homage to a scene in the LOTL70 episode "Dopey" in which Holly rides the back of a baby brontosaurus.

 

Marshall slides on his feet off Grumpy's back and down his tail, just like Fred Flintstone does off of a brontosaurus in the opening theme of The Flintstones.

 

As Grumpy is mopping up the floor left and right with Sleestaks, at 1:24:16 on the DVD, his lashing tail almost wipes out Cha-ka, but the little guy nimbly jumps over it! A pretty cool moment.


At 1:26:04 on the DVD, Enik shouts some Altrusian words: "Mem kum num ket tall!" No idea what it means (or if I'm even hearing it right).

 

Marshall reveals that he wrestled at Purdue. This would be Purdue University in Lafayette, Indiana. Presumably this is where he earned his Doctorate degree(s).

 

As they fight, and Marshall boasts that he wrestled at Purdue, Enik counters that it was J.V. (junior varsity). How would Enik know this? Did he somehow observe Marshall's past through the pylon at some point?

 

During the fight, Will decides to jump into it and shouts a wrestling move at Cha-ka, "Nicaraguan ball breaker!", which the Paku then assists him with. How would Cha-ka know Earth wrestling moves?

 

When the Pakuni women make their appearance, we see that they are human-looking, gorgeous and sexy by Earth standards. Why would they be so morphologically different from the Pakuni males? They also wear loincloths while the males go about nude except for their natural fur. 

 

The closing logo of Land of the Lost is similar in design to the logo of Planet of the Apes.

 

The art and animation of the closing credits is pretty cool. It also reminds me of Planet of the Apes, but this time the Saturday morning animated series version.

 

Michael Giacchino's score also harkens at times to Jerry Goldsmith's score for Planet of the Apes.

 

After the short animation section ends, we get a final live action scene of story. The Today show crew is cleaning up the set and turning out the lights at the end of the day and they find the dinosaur egg that Holly had picked up in the Land and which Marshall had given to Matt Lauer during their latest interview. They set it aside on top of a coffee mug and walk away, not seeing it crack open and a baby Sleestak emerging. Cute little guy!

 

Pakuni translations
Time on DVD Pakuni English
17:17 Tall Pakuni says, "Anu!" "No!"
17:18-17:32 Pakuni words are spoken but are unintelligible over the comments of Marshall, Will, and Holly.  
17:33 Tall Pakuni says, "Anu!" "No!"
17:40 Tall Pakuni says, "Aboma tessa!" Aboma=leader, "tessa" is unknown.
18:47 Cha-ka says, "Acumeta! Acumeta!" "Acumeta" is unknown. From his gesticulations, Cha-ka seems to want the humans to leave.
20:53 Holly and Cha-ka say "habu" chief or leader (the Pocket Pakuni Dictionary for LOTL70 says it's aboma).
21:02 Cha-ka says, "Don ma don choma. Eroka Marrasharra!" ma=give and "Eroka Marrasharra" means "Marshall freak!"
21:13 Cha-ka says, "Doma." unknown
21:28 Cha-ka-says, "Doma eroka." eroka=freak, doma is unknown.
28:11 Holly says, "Chira Paku." Unknown.
28:14 Cha-ka says, "Cha-ka aboma Pakuni." "Cha-ka leader of Pakuni." Holly translates it as he is a prince among his people.
28:21 Cha-ka says, "Bin. Desa Pakuni dora ka Cha-ka. Un tataka." Holly translates this as he was the victim of a treacherous plot to steal his throne.
28:29 Cha-ka says, "Cha-ka no desa nomasu." Holly translates this as he was not guilty of anything except love.
28:39 Cha-ka says, "Cha-ka abu ma carita tusajusa." Holly translates this as he was treated far too harshly for the very simple crime of pooping in the village well. According to the "Making of..." on the Blu-Ray disc, "tusajusa"=physical intimacy of a non-consensual nature. So, possibly Chaka raped or at least sexually molested someone. Nice.
28:49 Cha-ka says, "Yo, yo, tusajusa amusu! Tusajusa!" Yo=yes. Holly refuses to translate this statement. From his motions as he speaks, it's possible Cha-ka also ejaculated into the village well.
44:16 Cha-ka seems to say, "Fawny, fawny. Hooty na na." I don't know what he's saying here, but possibly he is simply trying to say the English word "funny" and the onomatopoeia "hooty na na" to say that he thinks Dr. Marshall (having just doused himself in dino urine) is funny. If so, this is probably in reference to the Paku character Stink from LOTL90, who was fond of saying "Funny hoo-ha!"
54:07 Cha-ka says, "Ti na mamora un Pakuni casa bisato onam." Onam=food. Holly translates the sentence as "he misses his tribe, it's a beautiful existence, they're carefree and nomadic and they live where the food is."
54:28 Cha-ka says, "Masa ra habimini...ha do maini. Masa doma. Hay weka. Cha-ka abu ma Pakuni, masa, masa, masa. Masasa masani. Onam, onam, onam. Ma dundu makalani. Holly translates as, "Their women wait on the men, serving all their needs. Though they're ugly. They make up for it with nice personalities. As prince of his tribe he personally is served by a harem of 7000 women. They bring him all the apples he can..." Holly refuses to translate the end but Cha-ka is making motions either sexual or masturbatory while he says it.
1:03:04 Cha-ka says, "Magala!" "Magala" is apparently the name of the "funny fruit" growing at the Motel in the desert.
1:03:22 Cha-ka says, "Bendajos su Pakuni. Abimi ki guka magala masa doka." Holly translates this as "...it's a celebratory drink in his village. It brings joyful lightness to the heart and soul."
1:03:34 Cha-ka says, "Imi desa, imi desa!" Holly translates this as "howling loneliness."
1:03:43 Cha-ka says, "Sha ko no ti. Ni. Imi wachusa masusa noma binji ra un tataka ereta bumba!" Holly translates this as "And then your bravery will be tested as your mind fogs. And the Shadow Hags will rise from the graves and hold you in an icy embrace. And it'll feel like your bowel's being pierced by a ghost serpent."
1:04:08 Holly says, "Cha-ka...maki ri shu dondo?" Unknown.
1:04:13 Cha-ka says, "Bomba." Holly translates as, "Zombie dick."
1:07:26 Cha-ka and Will each say, "Amura." "Friend."
1:07:51 Cha-ka says, "Pakuni kasa." "Happy Pakuni." (Though he should probably have said "paku kasa", singular).
1:08:34 Cha-ka says, "Abu guni kasau." Unknown.
1:30:38 Cha-ka says, "Como sarisa ta! Sarisa ta!" Unknown. "Sarisa ta" almost sounds like he may be saying something about the Sleestak (sarisataka).
1:30:43 Will says, "A Pakuni pasa!" Unknown.
1:30:48 Will says, "Pita ta!" Unknown.
1:30:57 The Pakuni women seem to be chattering words but they are unintelligible.  


Notes from the Audio Commentary by Brad Silberling

 

For some reason, Silberling says the original series lasted two-and-a-half seasons. It lasted three: 1st season of 17 episodes and 13 each in seasons 2 and 3.

 

Silberling says he wanted Holly to be the straight, credible character so that the audience would accept Dr. Marshall as credible through her. Why not just make Marshall credible in the first place? Oh, yeah, it's a zany comedy about a doofus.

 

That Marshall built the tachyon amplifier so quickly (overnight) strains credulity, but he already had the idea in mind and Silberling says the design of it is meant to suggest he stole parts from other offices/labs in the La Brea research center to complete it.

 

The floating arm in the water at the end of the Mystery Cave ride after the portal has swallowed up the raft (at 15:05 on the DVD) is an homage to the floating stick seen after the dog gets eaten in the 1975 film Jaws.

 

The sand dune scenes were shot at Dumont Dunes about 2 hours outside of Las Vegas and 31 miles north of Baker, CA.

 

Many of Silberling's comments suggest he was basing his ideas of the Land of the Lost from his childhood memories rather than having reviewed the episodes in preparation for the film. He comments that it seemed as if the Marshalls had to cross the crevasse to escape from some threat seemingly every week. Although they did cross it fairly frequently, I think there's only one episode that involves them escaping a threat while crossing it (Grumpy follows them across in "Follow That Dinosaur").

 

Silberling repeats here what Jorma Taccone has said in interviews, that he, Jorma, used the Pakuni dictionary to write his own dialog for Chaka. A few of the Pakuni words used in the movie are recognizable, but most are not. I suspect he must have used one of the modified dictionaries found on the web that include words made up by fans for home-made role-playing games, etc.

 

Silberling reveals that many of the items found in the cave headquarters (such as the bell, gramophone, oil lamp, card table) are call-backs to the 1962 Russian film, Ivan's Childhood.

 

The ancient temple set was designed with an Angkor Wat/Cambodian feel to it.

 

The crystals on the matrix table of the pylon were based partly on the crystals that trigger the doomsday weapon at the end of Beneath the Planet of the Apes.

 

The interior of the central pylon almost looks like a galaxy of crystals and is meant to tie in to Enik's concept of merging parallel universes.

 

The marquee at the drive-in theater in the desert is hard to read, but is for 2001: A Space Odyssey.

 

Silberling comments that they didn't cutesy up the T. rex in the film, unlike most Hollywood productions. What productions is he speaking of?

 

Marshall and Grumpy are the film's version of Captain Ahab and Moby Dick.

 

Silberling said that Sid Krofft had told him that the banjo music in the TV series had come about due to his having seen the 1972 film Deliverance, with its banjo accompaniment.

 

Silberling points out that Marshall is wearing an undershirt during the pool scenes, yet he didn't have one when we saw him get dressed at their jungle camp that morning.

 

The giant crab was inspired by the giant crab special effects sequence by Ray Harryhausen in the 1961 film Mysterious Island.

 

The shot of Marshall, Will, and Chaka waking up in "position" was referred to as the Y tu mama tambien shot from the 2001 film of that name. The film is a coming of age story about two teenage boys in a relationship with the same older woman (and each other).

 

For the Sleestak mating scene, the cave and its heart-shaped opening were redresses of the humans' cave set.

 

Silberling says that Michael Giacchino's score was meant to capture the vibe of Jerry Goldsmith's and Lalo Schiffrin's scores for the Planet of the Apes films.

 

The floor of the central pylon was inspired by the hotel room sequence at the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

 

In the extra materials of the Blu-Ray edition of the film, Silberling comments several times on his intention to do an extended version of the film.

 

Deleted Scenes Commentary

 

A scene of the Sleestak pulling quills from their backs which they shoot using the webbing of their hands was cut from the film due to budget concerns; they are shooting at a hadrosaur and it became too expensive to animate the creature.

 

A scene in the Land was cut from the end of the film which would have established that Will has become "The Man Who Would Be King" from the Rudyard Kipling story. In that story two British men become rulers of a foreign nation. Eventually one is killed in an uprising of his subjects and the other goes insane. What does that say of Will and Chaka's future?

 

Wesley Eure and Kathy Coleman appear in a scene that was cut from the film but which can be found as extras on the DVD and Blu-Ray discs.

 

Rick Marshall's Food Diary

 

Cut from the film were scenes of Marshall keeping a video food diary. These are included as extras on the Blu-Ray edition release.

  • In the second diary entry, notice that the burrito Marshall is eating contains no filling! It appears to be all tortilla!

  • In the third diary entry, Marshall is in the jungle recording. The background set appears to be half day and half night!

  • In the director's commentary, Silberling refers to the Land of the Lost as an alternate universe.

 

Devil's Canyon Gift Shop, Cave and Tour Commercial

 

The Blu-Ray edition release contains a commercial for the Devil's Canyon Gift Shop, Cave and Tour featuring Will. He refers to himself as William O. Stanton. The commercial describes the site as being in Palmdale, CA. Palmdale is a small city in the desert about 40 miles north of Los Angeles.

 

Sid and Marty Krofft Interview

 

The Blu-Ray edition release contains an interview with Sid and Marty conducted by Brad Silberling. They suggest that Allan Foshko wrote most of the theme song of the TV series although credited to Linda Laurie.

 

Sid says that the name "Sleestak" originated because the creatures are sleazy and stacked high.

 

Making of Land of the Lost

 

Silberling says that Sid and Marty claim that UCLA linguist Victoria Fromkin did not really do anything in creating the original Pakuni language, she just agreed to lend her name to the production to cover the educational needs of Saturday morning television of the time.

 

We learn that the Sleestak design (at least for the movie) shows that they have their breathing structures on the sides of their rib cage.

 

The desert scenes in the Land that aren't in the sand dunes were shot at the Trona Pinnacles in the Mojave desert of California.

 

Memorable Dialog

 

tear in time and space.wav

White Sands New Mexico.wav

where the hell am I.wav 

quantum paleontology.wav

50 million dollars.wav

future of industrialized civilization.wav

it is great.wav

greatest earthquake ever known.wav

not a routine expedition.wav

Matt Lauer can suck it.wav

the power of fire.wav

the size of a walnut.wav

the real dummies of the world.wav

he is grumpy.wav

cook and eat.wav

Sarisataka.wav

chorizo tacos.wav

Enik the Altrusian.wav 

thank Vindark.wav

Matt Lauer video.wav

a prisoner in this land of the lost.wav

I am the Zarn.wav

a truly advanced intellect.wav

you're a little asshole.wav

God bless the internet.wav

you can take that to the bank.wav

you're funny Chaka.wav

I believe I will begin with your Earth.wav

full scientific credit.wav

dumb ass dude who dressed stupid.wav

science shows no mercy.wav

a strange world.wav 

 

View Land of the Lost Episode Studies