Land of the Lost (film) was a adventure/science fiction film directed by Brad Silberling, starring Will Ferrell, loosely based on the 1974 Sid and Marty Krofft television series of the same name.
Three years before the start of the story, Paleontologist Rick Marshall has a disastrous interview with Matt Lauer of Today, with both men getting into a vicious argument. When the interview became a viral video, it ruined Marshall's career. In the present, Doctoral candidate student Holly Cantrell tells him that his controversial theories combining time warps and paleontology inspired her. She shows him a fossil with an imprint of a cigarette lighter that he recognizes as his own along with a crystal made into a necklace that gives off strong tachyon energy. Holly convinces Rick to finish his tachyon amplifier and come help her on a seemingly routine expedition to the cave where Holly found the fossil, which is in the middle of a desert.
With gift shop owner Will Stanton the three raft into a nearby cave, where Marshall has detected high levels of tachyons. He activates the tachyon amplifier, triggering an earthquake that opens a time warp into which the raft falls. The group finds themselves in a desert, filled with various items from many eras, and without the amplifier. They rescue a primate-like creature, Cha-Ka, who becomes their friend and guide.
The group spends a night in a cave after surviving a meeting with a fast, intelligent Tyrannosaurus rex they nickname "Grumpy". Marshall receives a telepathic message begging for help and finds himself in ancient ruins. The group encounters a race of lizard men called Sleestaks before meeting the one who sent Marshall the telepathic message, Enik the Altrusian. He explains that he was exiled by The Zarn, who is attempting to take over Earth with his Sleestak minions, but Enik can prevent this if Marshall retrieves the tachyon amplifier.
The group stumble upon a desert where many things from across time and space have ended up and they encounter many Compsognathus, Dromaeosaurs, Grumpy, and a female Allosaurus, possibly Big Alice. The Allosaurus and Grumpy battle it out over a previously killed ice-cream seller until they sense Marshall and the others, decided to work together instead of fight over food. Marshall kills the Allosaurus with liquid nitrogen and finds that the amplifier was eaten by the Allosaurus. The amplifier is then stolen by a Pteranodon and taken to its nest. The group arrives at the nest and Marshall lightly steps through the Pteranodon eggs to retrieve the amplifier, but when he reaches it, it stops broadcasting the music. When the eggs begin to hatch, Holly realizes that the music was acting as a sort of lullaby keeping the baby Pteranodons asleep. Marshall, Will and Holly sing a song to lull them back to sleep.
Marshall, Will and Cha-ka celebrate their good fortune. Meanwhile, Holly pockets a dinosaur egg and learns from a recording left by the long-deceased Zarn that Enik deceived them and he is actually the one planning to invade Earth. But she is captured by the Sleestaks to be brought to the Library of Skulls for judgment.
The others saved her from being executed for helping Enik, but the villain—now possessing the amplifier, and mind-controlling the Sleestaks—leaves them to open a portal to Earth. Marshall pole vaults into Grumpy's mouth and after removing an intestinal blockage, befriends him. He joins the others to defeat the Sleestak army and confront Enik. After the crystal link between the Land of the Lost and Earth is shattered, Enik reveals the portal will close forever. Thinking fast, Marshall grabs Holly's crystal and inserts it into the port, knowing that the substitute crystal won't hold for long. Will chooses to stay behind to live a better life and to prevent Enik from following Marshall and Holly back to Earth.
A triumphant Marshall again appears on Today with the dinosaur egg Holly brought back to promote his new book.
The egg, left behind on the Today set hatches, and a baby Sleestak hatches from it.
- Will Ferrell - Dr. Rick Marshall
- Anna Friel - Holly Cantrell
- Danny McBride - Will Stanton
- Jorma Taccone - Cha-Ka
- John Boylan - Enik
- Leonard Nimoy - The voice of The Zarn
- Matt Lauer - Himself
- The original actors who played Holly and Will in the television series, Kathy Coleman and Wesley Eure, filmed cameos for the film. However, the final version of the film cut these scenes.
- The film serves as a parody of the original television series, similar to Starsky & Hutch and "The Brady Bunch Movie".
- Rick Marshall is a paleontologist in the film, not a park ranger as in the original series.
- In the original series, the main characters were the father and two children. While the first names remain the same, the film converts the Holly character into an unrelated research assistant to allow for more risqué humor because she is the main character's love interest.
- The character of Will, instead of being Marshall's son, is an amusement park operator and survivalist.
- The film's budget also uses CGI special effects rather than the puppet and stop motion animation effects that defined the original series.
- While the original Saturday morning show targeted a child audience, the film was designed for a more adult audience and includes many adult-oriented references.