Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Movie and DVD Reviews: The best and not-so-best movies available on DVD, and whatever else catches my eye.

Mimsy Review: Land of the Lost

Reviewed by Jerry Stratton, July 29, 2000

Special features

Interviews6

“Marshall, Will, and Holly, on a routine expedition, met the greatest earthquake ever known. High on the rapids, it tossed their tiny raft, and tossed them down a thousand feet below, to the land of the lost.” Wow, I haven’t seen that thing for twenty years and I still remember it. I can’t believe they’re releasing this on DVD. Does this mean I have to break out my twenty-year-old pot stash too?

RecommendationPossible Rental
DirectorsBob Lally, Dennis Steinmetz
Movie Rating4
Transfer Quality7
Overall Rating5
Formats
  • Television Format

I remembered this series as being bad, but I didn’t remember how bad. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad I bought the disk. It’s a lot of fun to watch this blast from the past. But if you didn’t watch it when you were a kid, you probably aren’t going to like watching it now. It’s pretty much a straight nostalgia trip.

There are four episodes on this DVD. They aren’t in any sort of order, they’re just four reasonably representative episodes. Two involve Enoch, the ‘Sleestak from the future’. Two involve Cha-ka (one of which I’m fairly sure I never saw originally).

In “The Stranger”, Rick, Will, and Holly meet Enoch for the first time and discover that the glowing crystals all over the Lost City have special powers. In “Tag Team”, they teach Cha-Ka and his family to get food on their own instead of stealing it. In “The Search”, Enoch almost finds his way home, and tempts Will to go home without Marshall or Holly. And Rick tells Holly what he thinks of her on his deathbed! In “The Paku Who Came To Dinner”, Cha-Ka falls in love with Holly—or perhaps he just likes her perfume.

The video quality on these episodes is amazingly good. Also amazingly, the quality of the camera work holds up under DVD quality and the television set I have which is much better than the television set I watched this stuff on back in 1974. Even the special effects are pretty good. It is obviously a combination of blue-screen and stop-motion, but for a weekly show in 1974 it works quite well. They put some good work into getting the effects right.

Each episode has a title. It’s probably just the blocky font, but the title is displayed in a manner that is strongly reminiscent of the original Star Trek series. There is a remote Star Trek connection: the first episode on the DVD, “The Stranger”, is written by Walter Koenig.

Particularly cool are the two interviews on the disk. One is with Sid and Marty Krofft, the creators of the series, who also created a number of other influential shows in that time period: H.R. Pufnstuf, for example, and Electrowoman & Dynagirl. Sid and Marty Krofft were hot properties back in the seventies. I even remember an interview with them in “Dynamite”, a monthly news magazine for kids, in which they were building a theme park (apparently it opened in Atlanta and then closed down again within the year).

The other interview is with Kathy Coleman and Phillip Paley. If those names don’t sound familiar to you, try Holly Marshall and Cha-Ka. Kathy’s changed her hair color since 1974 and she now has more than one change of clothes. The IMDB lists “Land of the Lost” as her only credit and “now working in retail” for where she is now. And her two kids brag that their mother was Holly Marshall. Phillip Paley didn’t fare much better in the acting world, with one other item under his belt besides “Land of the Lost”. Today he’s an “Internet businessman”. Together they tell some great stories about working on the show. As a kid I never really thought about the fact that these characters were played by other kids my age—in this case, one of them covered in makeup and fake fur!

There’s an interesting trick on the menus. The background on all of the menus are in motion: scenes from the shows. To keep them longer without using up lots of space for the video, they carefully chose scenes that could be “reversed”: a few seconds of scene plays, the scene reverses, plays backwards, and then plays forward again. It doesn’t always work so well, but it’s a good try.

If you have the VHS releases, these are the same episodes as were released in Volume 1 and Volume 2 of the VHS tapes. I don’t know if I would actually buy a “volume 2” DVD that collects volumes 3 and 4 of the VHS series. Mostly I bought this so I could say that I have it. As I said earlier, if you never saw this as a kid, you probably don’t have any need to watch it now. But if you fondly remember “The Land of the Lost” on Saturday mornings, you’ll get a kick out of watching these episodes again.

Recommendation: Possible Rental

DirectorsBob Lally, Dennis Steinmetz
Spoken languageEnglish
SubtitlesNone
Special FeatureInterviews
More links

If you enjoyed Land of the Lost…

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