In some respects, this movie is the opposite of Tarzan. Whereas Tarzan is the story of a feral monkey-man who checks out the modern world only to discover that it sucks, The Land that Time Forgot is about a group of modern humans stumbling on the world of the past, and then shooting at it, because it sucks.
Based on the book of the same name, by Tarzan author Edgar Rice Burroughs, The Land that Time Forgot answers the burning question of what would really happen should a group of warring Germans and Brits, as well as a tough American and ‘a woman’, become stranded on a mythical island where dinosaurs exist side by side with Neanderthal man, and try to fix their submarine before the whole place explodes?!
Now that I’ve said that, maybe the Land… is actually a Creationist bible story, and Edgar Rice Burroughs should take his rightful place alongside L. Ron Hubbard as purveyors of the finest pseudo-religious magic stories ever committed to paper. I don’t know.
What I do know is that this movie was 100% ‘medium’.
Written for the screen by sci-fi stalwart Michael Moorcock, only for the producers to change the ending on him, it still cannot be denied that the story is a bit of a plodder.
The first 40 minutes or so is basically a submarine movie, with a bit of action, spates of shouting, and a whole lot of waiting around.
Then we find a mythical island, someone says ‘ooh, look at that big crocodile’, and it looks like the party’s getting started: Dinosaurs! Cavemen! Fixing the submarine! Wait, what?
Yeah, that’s right, a lot of the rest of the movie centres on the difficulties of gathering enough oil to fix up the submarine while making friends with a hairy idiot, and shooting at dinosaurs once in a while.
Some other things happen, but to mention them alone would not give a fair representation of how boring a lot of the film really is.
Nevertheless, there are fights, pterodactyls, guns, beards and a volcano, all for your viewing pleasure, so it can’t be all bad. Right?