Welcome to the movies at PS News.
Each week, PS News’s film critic Victor Rebikoff will highlight the latest offerings from the silver screen and share his expert commentary for our information and guidance.
Land of the Lost
Director: Brad Silberling, Rated PG, 101 minutes
Brad Silberling’s direction of Land of the Lost is largely based on the 70’s sci-fi adventure television series for children of the same name.
It has a rather absurd script written by screen writers Chris Henchy and Dennis McNicholas who teamed up with the writers of the original TV series, Marty and Syd Krofft.
Unlike the children’s television series, Silberling has endeavoured to make this an adventure comedy that will appeal to the whole family.
To achieve this he has cast Will Ferrell in the lead role of Dr Rick Marshall, a scientist and self-confessed time warp expert who, along with his young assistant Holly Cantrell (Anna Friel), builds a tachyon accelerator to travel back in time.
Fast-forward a couple of scenes later, and both Marshall and Cantrell are in a boat with an unsuspecting tour guide, Will Stanton (Danny McBride).
A quick turn of the tachyon accelerator and the trio are transported to the land of the lost – complete with a T-Rex and primate named Chaka (Jorma Taccone).
Chaka befriends them and endeavours to help them find their way back to their own dimension.
While trying to get their time machine back, they battle dinosaurs, cavemen and the Slestaks - green reptilian villains.
With the exception of Ferrell and McBride, the rest of the acting is somewhat abysmal and visually, the Computer-generated Imagery effects suffer from a fake feel.
The best part of Land of the Lost is watching Ferrell and McBride work off each other, making one wonder why they needed the elaborate settings in the first place.
It also tries hard to be a comedy, and while it does come up with some occasional laughs – there are just not enough of them. It is somewhat surprising that Silberling (who is credited with directing the successful fantasy City of Angels) should make a motion picture out of a children’s television series, believing it would be an entertaining movie when in fact the entire production comes over as quite amateurish.
VIC'S VERDICT: 2 ½ Rubber Stamps
The Little Mermaid and Peter Pan
Rated G, 83 minutes and 96 minutes
Two of Walt Disney’s cinematic classics that have been treasured by both children and adults the world over are the The Little Mermaid (released in 1989) and Peter Pan (released in 1953).
The two movies are going back into the Disney Vault at the end of June 2009, together with The Jungle Book (released in 1967) for a period of seven years.
Every year the Disney Vault opens to release exclusive Walt Disney Classics on DVD.
The prestigious nature of these classics means they are only available for a short period of time.
The limited availability is to ensure Disney can focus on a small number of titles at any one time.
While titles are in the Vault, the studios are able to restore the animation to their pristine condition to keep them timeless and allow their re-release every seven years.
This is what has happened in the case of The Little Mermaid and Peter Pan.
Both have been released as a 2 Disc Special Edition DVD containing a variety of special features including a section devoted to games and activities.
Peter Pan was first released in 1953 and was based on J.M. Barrie's famous play and novel about a boy who could fly but never wanted to grow up.
It is widely considered to be one of Disney’s greatest classics.
The Little Mermaid is one of the best Disney films of the 80s and tells the story of a mermaid named Ariel who wanted to be human so she could marry the man that she loved.
Besides the wonderful animation – especially the underwater scenes, it has some great songs.
One song in particular, Under the Sea, stands out.
It is no wonder that it won the Academy Award for Best Original Score and Song in 1990.
And for those interested, there is a prequel coming - The Little Mermaid – Ariel’s Beginning.
For those lucky enough to have obtained any or all of these charming and magical movies, the much anticipated and memorable classic of all time – Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is being released from the Disney Vault in October 2009.
VIC'S VERDICT: 5 Rubber Stamps