• Land That Time Forgot, The



    Released by: Umbrella Entertainment
    Released on: December 6th, 2017.
    Director: Kevin Connor
    Cast: Doug McClure, John McEnery, Susan Penhaligon, Keith Barron, Anthony Ainley, Godfrey James
    Year: 1974
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    The Movie:

    Director Kevin Connor’s 1974 Amicus production The Land That Time Forgot begins in June 1916 where a German U-Boat attack leaves a British ship on the bottom of the sea. An American named Bowen Tyler (Doug McClure), his British girlfriend Lisa Clayton (Susan Penhaligon) and fellow English-men Bradley (Keith Barron) and Olson (Declan Mulholland) are the survivors taken aboard the ship controlled by Captain von Schoenvorts (John McEnery) and his second-in-command, Dietz (Anthony Ainley).

    Our heroes manage to take control but not before Dietz smashes the radio and the compass and inevitably they wind up lost and the boat runs out of fuel. Eventually they wind up on the mysterious continent of Caprona, where ancient dinosaurs still rule the land! With little choice, the German’s form an uneasy alliance with the others, figuring if they can work together to refine the oil on Caprona they can fuel their boat and get back home, but in order to do that they’ll have to rely on a friendly caveman named Ahm (Bobby Parr) and survive an onslaught of dino-attacks!

    If the effects, which are undoubtedly the highlight of this picture, aren’t the most realistic you’re ever going to see they are incredibly cool. Derek Meddings, who worked on Thunderbirds and a few other puppet-heavy projects prior, was the man behind bringing these thunder lizards to life and does a fine job of it. Again, you’re never going to be convinced these creatures are real, but they do physically interact with their surroundings in the film in interesting ways and you’ve got to appreciate the craftsmanship and creativity that went into making them happen in the first place.

    Performances are alright. Not amazing, but alright. Doug McClure is dashing and noble and tough, the consummate good guy. We like him. Pretty Susan Penhaligon is fine in her role, though she isn’t given as much to do. John McEnery and Anthony Ainley aren’t particularly convincing as WWI German soldiers, but they’re fun to watch while Bobby Parr is just fine as the friendly caveman character.

    The movie is well-paced and consistently engaging. Michael Moorcock’s script keeps the excitement level high throughout and it presents not only interesting, if slightly shallow, characters but also some memorable set pieces. The story shows off the survivors battling dinosaurs in some unexpected and surprising ways, all of which adds to the movie’s omnipresent fun factor. Not quite as kid-friendly as you might be led to believe, the movie also does interesting things in how it ties in the German characters to the plight of those they would have only a few days earlier considered to be their enemies. Ahm admires these modern men, but it’s they that could learn from him, of course (they’re always fighting and seemingly involved in perpetual war while Ahm and his clan take pleasure in the simpler things).

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    The Land That Time Forgot arrives on Blu-ray in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 1.85.1 widescreen and it looks quite nice. Colors looks quite nice while black levels stay nice and strong. There’s some minor print damage here and there but for the most part the image is pretty clean. Detail and texture are both very good, there’s solid depth here too. All in all, this disc offers pretty strong picture quality.

    The English DTS-HD 2.0 Mono track on this disc is also fine. There are no issues with hiss or distortion and everything comes through cleanly and clearly. As this is an older mono mix you obviously can’t really expect much in the way of channel separation or fancy surround action but for what it is, this older single channel tracks sounds just fine. No alternate language or subtitle options are provided.

    At first it looks like there are no extras here, as the disc doesn’t even have a menu, but if you play around with the audio options you can access a commentary track with director Kevin Connor moderated by Brian Trenchard-Smith that is actually quite interesting despite some occasional lengthy gaps of silence. Tenchard-Smith is clearly a fan of the movie and he does what he can to keep Connor talking about the history of the production, the cast he worked with, his producers, sets and locations, effects work and more.

    The Final Word:

    The Land That Time Forgot may be a product of a bygone era but don’t let that dissuade you – this is a smart adventure story with a lot of heart, a well-made film that really and truly captures the imagination. If it’s a little light in the extra features department, Umbrella Entertainment’s Blu-ray release looks and sounds quite nice.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!