The People That Time Forgot

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Major Ben McBride (Patrick Wayne) organises a mission to the Antarctic wastes to search for his friend Bowen Tyler (Doug McClure) who has been missing in the region for several years. A British naval survey ship takes them to Caprona. McBride’s party: the paleontologist Norfolk (Thorley Walters), gunner and mechanic Hogan (Shane Rimmer) and photographer Lady Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Cunningham (Sarah Douglas) fly over the mountain wall of Caprona in an amphibious aircraft, but are attacked by a pterodactyl and forced down. They find themselves in a world populated by primitive warriors and terrifying prehistoric creatures, all of whom they must evade in order to get back safely to their ship. They meet a cave-girl, Ajor (Dana Gillespie), who can speak English (she was taught by Tyler); she leads them to the land of a race of samurai-like warriors called the Nargas, who are keeping Tyler prisoner. When the volcano that the Nargas worship erupts, they must escape the cataclysm engulfing the land. Tyler sacrifices himself to cover their retreat.

REVIEW:

There was a time when one could go to the movies on a Saturday afternoon and enjoy a cheesy action flick. When I chose to view The People That Time Forgot this afternoon, I was hoping for that feeling. Did I get it, or was I disappointed? Let’s find out, shall we?

What is this about?

Maj. Ben McBride returns to the lost island of Caprona to rescue a fellow explorer, who’s battling brutal cavemen and prehistoric creatures.

What did I like?

Samurai. There has always been a fascination with me and samurai, especially after the animated series Samurai Jack and Afro Samurai. When I saw the samurai garb that the Naga were wearing, I was at first perplexed as to why they were wearing it, but then I came around and appreciated that they latched on to that part of culture. It definitely is a novel one to aspire to.

Adventure. A Jedi is not supposed to crave adventure. Good thing I’m not a Jedi, right? The adventurous expedition made for some interesting viewing. Who would want to watch as the plane goes down in the icy mountains, they encounter dinosaurs, fierce natives, get thrown in prison, and have their women’s lives endangered? This is the kind of stuff they used to write about. Oh wait, this is based on a book of the same name, so I guess it was written about!

Son of a Duke. Being the son of one of the biggest movie stars of all time is hard enough, but imagine if your dad is the immortal John Wayne! Patrick Wayne is not his father. If you’ve seen McLintock! you learned that, but he is a capable actor in his own right, portraying a character that would do his father proud and give him some distance and individuality. Is it me, or in some scenes does he resemble Paul Walker?

What didn’t I like?

Cavegirls know makeup? I was reading some comments about this film and someone brought up a point that I didn’t even think about. The cavegirl, Ajor, had perfect hair and makeup. Why is this a big deal? Well, let’s say you’re a prehistoric woman living on an island that, as the title says, time forgot. Are you going to look like you just walked off of a photo shoot? I doubt it! Even the penultimate movie cavegirl, Raquel Welch in One Million Years B.C., at least looked a little disheveled.

Dinosaurs. When I was kid, there were these little dinosaurs that you could get cheap. Basically, they were the equivalent of those military men. The dinosaurs in this film seem to have the same texture, but they can move…barely. I will say that the pterodactyl scenes were impressive, but the rest, not so much. I know everyone that works in stop motion can’t be Ray Harryhausen, but I wonder if these dinos were nothing more than something put in to create a danger, because there is an apparent lack of care shown.

Evidence. I don’t believe this is spoiling anything, and if it is I apologize, but conveniently the paleontologist loses his notebook to the stomach of a creature they confront while escaping and the photographer has her camera thrown out of the plane so they can be lighter, leaving no evidence of this prehistoric land. Maybe I’m growing cynical in my old age, or I’ve been watching too much Cinemasins, but this just screams to me of a cop out to get rid of evidence real quick in the last few minutes of the film. Seriously, what are the chances that they both lose evidence?

Remember that Saturday afternoon fun I spoke of earlier? The People That Time Forgot doesn’t quite fit the bill. Sure, it makes an attempt, but I feel as if this film is either taking itself too seriously or trying too hard to be a fun Saturday flick. I’m not sure which it seems to be doing more of. That said, this is not a horrible film and I think anybody can enjoy it at any given time. Do I recommend it? No, but only because it just isn’t the kind of film that is worth recommending. It is the kid of picture you’ll come across and love or hate.

3 out of 5 stars

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