King of the Lost World

When the 1976 remake of King Kong hit screens it was accompanied by small flock of crappy rip-offs, films like A*P*E (1976) and Mighty Peking Man (1977). I'm a little sad that there wasn't a similar outburst of exploitive photocopying when Peter Jackson's King Kong came out last year. In fact, I can only think of one Kong rip-off last year, and I just saw it and it wasn't what I thought it was.

Special effects cost less if you don't ask for any color.
That movie is King of the Lost World (2005), and while I was think it would be KING (Kong) of the Lost World, it's really King of the LOST World. Supposedly based on Arthur Conan Doyle's novel The Lost World, though the resemblance is so tenuous that the same reasoning would have Top Gun based on Sense and Sensibility, King of the Lost World begins with a number of young attractive people (and Bruce Boxleitner) mysteriously surviving a passenger plane crash in the Amazon. From there the plot flails about, almost as if the screenwriters were trying to guess what direction a certain popular ABC show was going based on the first seven or so episodes. Other planes have crashed in this same area, and Boxleitner (as a character named Challenger) is toting around a mysterious briefcase. Soon the castaways are attacked by giant spiders and scorpions, captured by natives ruled by the flabbiest white guy who's ruled a native tribe since Abe Vigoda, and of course run away from a giant gorilla the natives keep in check with sacrifices to flying dragons. Steve Railsback is thrown in the mix as a crazy survivor of a previous plane crash, though his role is so small and inconsequential I wondered if it wasn't from a earlier draft of the script, until I realized the script wasn't nearly good enough to have had any drafts. Oh, and it ends with a nuclear explosion.

"Bring me a bacon sandwich this big!"

The movie makes a token attempt to deliver the sex and violence that Peter Jackson's ape movie, but the movie is SO cheap! The monster are all bad CGI, and they never interact with the actors at all, making it nearly impossible to get any sense of scale. I'm still not sure how big the giant ape or the dragons were. I'd guess that the movie was largely shot in a botanical garden, and some of the female cast members are brainwashed into joining the evil tribe to cut down on the need for extras.

Posted: Tue - August 8, 2006 at