By Ray Schwetz
Rhino Kid Video
Interviews with Kathy Coleman, Philip Bailey, and Sid & Marty Krofft
If you were a kid in the seventies, you had to love this live action TV show. Rick Marshall and his kids, Will and Holly, slip into another dimension while on a "routine expedition."
The Marshalls have an uneasy alliance with the ape-like Pakuni and must be constantly on guard against the villainous Sleestaks. All the while, they must fend off nasty dinosaurs like "Grumpy" the Tyranasaurus Rex and "Alice" the, er, Somethingorother Rex.
The real charm of "Land of the Lost," as with other Sid and Marty Krofft productions, is the extremely creative use of special effects on a very low budget. Some of the sets are obviously cardboard and the caves are obviously plaster. However, "Land of the Lost" is undoubtedly the most ambitious Krofft show.
It mixes film stock and video for the effects, while utilizing claymation and puppets for the dinosaurs. The costumes for the Sleestaks and the Pakunis are cheesy, but effective (for those unfamiliar, the Pakuni look like kids in ape suits with Frankenstien foreheads and the Sleestaks are lizard-like creatures with huge jeweled eyes).
The stories, unlike many of the kiddie shows nowadays, were complex and mature. It was a show that kids could watch with their parents. Surprisingly, the show holds up very well.
There are four episodes on this DVD: "The Stranger," "Tag Team," "The Search," and "The Paku who Came To Deinner."
"The Stranger" was written by "Star Trek" cast fave Walter Koenig. It is the story of how the Marshalls meet Enik, a being who believes himself to be the descendent of the Sleestaks. In an interesting twist, he discovers he is not. This episode also introduces magic crystals that may enable Enik and the Marshalls to return to their worlds.
"Tag Team" follows the Marshalls struggles with the Paku. Chaka and his family are stealing their food. The Marshalls chase the Paku into a standoff with an angry Alice.
In "The Search," Enik experiences success with the time travel crystals. However, he must choose between his own work and saving Rick Marshall from imminent danger.
The last episode on the DVD (and my personal favorite), "The Paku Who Came To Dinner," sees Chaka become an unofficial member of the Marshall family. He follows Will and Holly home and is persuaded, by the smell of their cooking, to stay.
The video quality of the DVD is average. Colors are a bit oversaturated and the picture is soft. There are also dropouts from the original videotaped source. However, given the show's age, I'm fairly confident that this is the best "Land of the Lost" has looked since its original broadcast.
The audio is digital mono. It sounds fine. The dialogue and trademark sound effects (i.e. Grumpy's roar) are clear as a bell.
The animated menus are fun. The main menu page has the Marshalls looking around as if surrounded by dinosaurs, accompanied by the sounds of Grumpy's roars. If you leave it on longer than 30 seconds, it becomes really annoying. The chapter selections appear next to various characters. There are roughly 4-5 chapters per episode.
Included on the DVD are interviews with cast members Kathy Coleman (Holly) and Philip Bailey (Chaka) and producers Sid and Marty Krofft. The cast interview is really fun. There are lots of nostalgic anecdotes and behind the scenes stuff to keep fans happy. The interview with Sid and Marty is very fun and informative. Both interviews are approximately 20 minutes.
All in all, this is a must have for Krofft fans.