Ok, let's get this out of the way: there are two other versions of this story floating around, one made in the 70's, one in the 90's. When Hulu put the 70's version up, I watched it and totally didn't recognize it because I had watched the 90's version. It wasn't until after I watched the movie, while browsing for a picture to put on this review that I realized that they were two separate shows. Now, undoubtedly, the beloved version of today belongs to the 90's kids. This is the version that people were afraid Will Ferrell was going to screw up, but it seemed to me (although I admittedly don't remember a lot of the 90's show) that the movie was based on the original 70's show. That said, there are several differences, for example, the relationships between the characters. In the movie they're totally unrelated, and the "kids" are much older, so it's okay that that Holly kisses Rick. But I end this comparison by saying what I always say: ALWAYS take a new incarnation of a story as a separate entity unto itself. NEVER judge it based on how much it's like the source material.
Ok, just thought I would get that out of the way so that people don't yell at me and throw rocks when I say it was actually a pretty good movie. I wasn't expecting it to be! I swear I was prepared to fall asleep in the theater, but my laughter kept me up. Usually Will Farrell plays the part of an idiot who thinks he's smart. This time he's a genius who knows he's smart. He tries to play the leader of the team, and in a sense he is a perfect parody of the original Rick Marshall: patronizing and slightly controlling. His PhD does him no good in this land of the lost, but he tries to pretend that it does.
Viewers who aren't well versed in scifi (read: "Non-geeks") will probably feel a little uncomfortable at a couple of the alien story devices, but that's ok. They just have to realize that it's a silly fantasy comedy and none of it is supposed to be any kind of real. What's important is the search for the device that Rick loses and the hilarious events leading to the inevitable end. Just suspend your disbelief a little harder and try to see it as an SNL sketch with a ridiculously huge budget.
So there it is. Please don't hate me. So I laughed at Will Farrell, is that a crime? Go see Land of the Lost and see for yourself. It's really not that bad.