Unfortunately, there are other hunters in the woods. Some trophy hunters with SAMs take out Air Force One, leaving the lame-duck President (Samuel L Jackson - Kingsman ) ejected in the pod from Escape From New York . His bodyguard (Ray Stevenson - Punisher: War Zone ) also makes it out ...
Naturally, the two stories collide. Two different genres meet - art-house coming-of-age story and Hollywood blockbuster shoot-em-up - and despite the schmaltz and clichťs, the result is pleasantly watchable.
This rips off the Dan Brown story, but it is actually one of the most watchable Mockbusters so far. It is certainly better-paced than the Tom Hanks film!
A TV company hires a team to go to the Congo and look for dinosaurs They are an English crocodile hunter, his son (think Wesley Crusher from Star Trek: TNG ), a few redshirts and a couple of unrealistically beautiful young women.
The CGI is used sparingly, which is for the best. Usually it is over-used, which stretches the SPFX budget too thin and makes the whole film look cheap. However, there is still too much of it.
A drunken Immortal (Jackie Chan - Armour of God ) takes him on a quest to save the Monkey King (yes, Monkey himself - Great Sage, Equal of Heaven)! They are joined by a beautiful young girl on a vengeance quest, and a mysterious warrior monk (Jet Li - The One ).
The parents' mission is taken up by Robbie Amell ( Tomorrow People ) and his blonde-haired ex-GF ( Alexa Vega ) with whom he bickers constantly. In the Han and Leia school of this, this means they are destined to be together.
When the parents are declared MIA, the children must take over their mission. This was the plot of Spy Kids , except that in the earlier film the brother was Alexa Vega's and back then she was too young to have a love interest.
Victor Garber ( Alias ) rounds out the cast as the mentor figure. Also, there is a secret evil genius that is manipulating our heroes.
The story starts in California in the Victorian era. Victoria Pratt hires a scientist (Ricky Shroeder - NYPD Blue) to help find her husband. Dr Shroeder finances his research by bareknuckle boxing, so he is more than happy to take her money. His nephew tags along as the party's scribe, although he could just have stayed home and married Elyse Levesque .
Our team of American adventurers set off to a Russian mineshaft in Alaska (as opposed to a volcano in Iceland). At the bottom they discover an enormous cavern with a phosphorescent ceiling. The flora is the same as in Alaska (or Canada, where this was probably filmed) but the fauna includes a CGI plesiosaur.
Of course, our protagonists discover the heroine's lost husband (Peter Fonda - Ghost Rider ). He is god-king to the natives (more American Indian than caveman), but this is a case of The Man Who Would Be King.
Ferrell and McBride each bring their own brand of humour to the film. Friel dresses like a slender Lara Croft, a reason in itself to watch the film. Unfortunately she uses her own Rochdale accent.
Some Americans on holiday get lost in the Bermuda triangle, and end up on a time-warped island. C Thomas Howell ( Red Dawn ) is in the Doug McClure role.
Thankfully the CGI dinosaurs are kept to a minimum. They actually look better than the rubber ones in the Hammer original!
The German characters actually speak their own language.
Lara recruits an untrustworthy ex-lover, Gerard Butler ( Dracula 2001 ), as a guide - he knows many of the players too. However, she tends to ignore his advice. He wants to take the slow way into China, whereas she has a high-tech alternative already lined up. If she does not listen to him or even trust him, why does she bother to bring him along?
Evil billionaire Mr Rice (Ciaran Hinds - Ghost Rider 2 ) is after the artefact, knowning it will lead him to Pandora's Box. The box contains a deadly disease, which is why Alexander the Great had it hidden in a magic cave guarded by supernatural monsters. Rice wants to sell it to the highest bidder as a bio-weapon, like the villain of Mission Impossible 2 . Naturally this would end in a Zombie Apocalypse, but Rice does not seem to care. He has forgotten the saying there are no pockets in a shroud.
In modern times, many Hollywood blockbusters are filmed in China for financial reasons - to secure a spot in the Chinese market. This film, released in the year 2003, evidently got its funding from product placement. The Chinese setting seems purely because it is glamourous and exotic.
The story is set aboard a cargo ship that has seen better days. There are a handful of passengers aboard, but they all have nasty secrets. Worse, the captain is smuggling tons of volatile explosives. The crew are a mutinous rabble. And finally, the ship is steaming straight into a tropical storm.
Everything is set up for the survivors to arrive at the Lost Continent of the title. However, it is only a remote island and it only appears at the end of the second act. Just in time for the survivors to battle some conquistadors. Well, who expected the Spanish Inquisition?
As befits the Ray Harryhausen reference, the monsters are portrayed through good old-fashioned stop-motion animation.
Nimís island paradise is invaded by Buccaneers, a cruise-ship crewed by the likes on Anthony Simcoe ( Farscape ). The only one she can call for help is Alex Rover. Unfortunately Alex the Adventurer is the alter-ego of Alex the Writer - an agoraphobic Jodie Foster !
This is a great kidsí story, with one major problem. The protagonist is never in any actual danger. We see the characters do things, but there is no actual emotional connection with them. Itís a very well-made film, but ultimately there is nothing to it.
The archaeologists are accompanied by a TV journalist and her cameraman - one of The Inbetweeners. This is not the distraction so much as the fact that this is not a true Found Footage film. It keeps flipping between what the explorers are filming (they have the TV camera, the robotís cameras and even a web-cam for a tablet computer) and what the storytellers want us to see. This is a cheat, and allows the use of additional music and sound effects - not to mention the threat of a disappointing Untruthful Narrator ending.
The monster is original, to an extent. The writers chose a creature that is part of ancient Egyptian folklore, but it has not been used as a movie monster before. The CGI is also well-rendered, so the visuals are not to blame.