The Land/People that Time Forgot DVD Review

Once a movie has raised the bar for special effects, going back and reliving some of those childhood favorites can be painful. Case in point, "The Land that Time Forgot." Mesmerizing at age 5, it doesn't quite hold up after repeated viewings of "Jurassic Park," but it's still enjoyable if you can get past the effects. This is not true for the second movie on this disc however, "The People that Time Forgot." After a German submarine destroyed their boat, the small band of survivors, including Bowen Taylor (Doug McClure) and Lisa Clayton (Susan Penhaligon) manage to hijack the war machine. After numerous changes in command, the group ends up on an uncharted island surrounded by an iceberg, "The Land that Time Forgot." Inside they find dinosaurs, caveman, and one very active volcano. Everyone bands together in an attempt to survive, forgetting that they are actually enemies. The effects are far from great in "Land," (especially the pterodactyl late in the film; you can obviously see the strings suspending it), but the sense of adventure is unmistakable. Things do start off a bit slow (40-minutes before the first dinosaur makes an appearance), but all of the actors do a fine job and the younger set, just like me many years ago, will be enthralled. If you can past the effects and just use your imagination a bit, you'll have fun for the majority of the running time. (*** out of *****) "The People that Time Forgot" picks up a few years after "Land." Having found the note that Taylor through into the ocean at the end of the previous film, Major Ben McBride (Patrick Wayne) gets the sponsorship of a newspaper to find the hidden land and to see if his friend Bowen is still alive. Soon after reaching the island, they meet up with a cavewoman named Ajor (Dana Gillespie in the most revealing cavewoman suit of all time) who tells the group that Bowen is still alive. Their search, now having purpose, is just beginning. "People" suffers from a wealth of flaws. First and foremost, the effects are even worse this time around, and this was made two years after the original. The film has absolutely no momentum behind it all, lacks tension, and just never seems to pick up steam. The finale, which should be a major spectacle, is just laughable. It's obvious that all of the explosions have been pre-set. It feels like you're right there on the set watching it all happen instead on some lost prehistoric island. The only reason to watch this one is for Gillespie and her costume. Otherwise, stick with the original. (* out of *****) Both films are presented in 1.85:1 widescreen on opposite sides of the disc. "Land" looks excellent on the format. A few occasional scenes of heavy grain barely mar the outstanding color that brings this film to life. Any scratches or specks on the print have been fixed to perfection. The black levels are never compensated and the transfer even holds together when brighter shades of red are thrown at it. This is outstanding work considering the age of the film. (****) Sadly, "People" doesn't fare as well. The color is toned down quite a bit here. The black levels are wildly uneven and a few sequences not only display a distracting amount of grain, but lose most of their color as well. The few scenes of clarity are far too soft and it looks like the camera is out of focus. You can certainly do worse, but it's obvious that equal time was not given to the restoration of both films. (**) Both movies are presented in 2.0 mono. These movies are mixed extremely low, so prepare to fight with the volume level throughout them. Some minor hiss and distortion is evident at many points in each film, but this is to be expected. These are tracks that just do what they need to do and nothing else. (***) Extras include, well, nothing. These films get the original trailers attached to them and that's it. Oddly, "Land" has English subtitles while "People" does not. (*) These films are part of the ever-growing "Midnite Movie" line produced by MGM. These discs are exclusive to Best Buy stores. For only $9.99, these discs are a great deal, but the exclusivity doesn't make much sense. Also, "People" was available separately on DVD not long ago. Those people who bought it separately have every right to be angry. Regardless, if you have fond memories of watching these films when you were a child, you won't find a better way to watch them than this disc.

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