The People That Time Forgot (1977)
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First, there was The Land That Time Forgot. Then there was The People That Time Forgot, a film that is also based off a Edgar Rice Burroughs book by the same title and is a direct sequel. The only returning actor is Doug McClure but in a much reduced role despite the first billing. Patrick Wayne takes over the principal role and I can't but feel bad for a guy who's father is THE John freakin' Wayne. Talk about casting a shadow over someone's career.
The story takes us back to Caprona, the continent which is still inhabited by dinosaurs and cavemen. Although I don't have any confirmation, the budget for The People That Time Forgot has been reduced since The Land That Time Forgot. If that's not the case then there are some really serious production issues. Everything that The Land That Time Forgot did, The People That Time Forgot does it worse.
Major Ben McBride (Patrick Wayne) leads an expedition to Caprona to rescue his friend Bowen Tyler (Doug McClure). Arriving by ship, a McBride and a small team leave by amphibious plane before getting attacked by a pterodactyl. Their plane is unfortunately damaged and unable to take off. McBride leaves Hogan (Shane Rimmer) to repair the plane while he goes with everyone else to find Tyler. They have a limited amount of time to find Tyler or they risk being left completely behind by the expedition.
It's pretty clear right away that TPTTF can't match its predecessor. It's not even like TLTTF had wonderful production values either. The miniatures used for the boat and plane aren't very nice and it disappointed me that the expedition didn't use the underwater tunnel from the previous movie to enter Caprona, which I think is just a way to reduce the budget.
Dinosaurs look something like plastic/Play-Doh garbage. The dinosaurs in The Land That Time Forgot looked great when they were doing their thing but that's not the case anymore. They also sound absolutely atrocious. I swear to you that there is a dinosaur that sounds exactly like a man grunting. They look bad all the time and action involving dinosaurs is often listless and boring. Sound in general is pretty weak though. I'd really like to know who made the decision to make volcanic explosions sound like lasers.
There are some really lame attempts at humour that don't work at all and every single action scene is poorly choreographed and filmed. The People That Time Forgot focuses a whole lot less on dinosaurs and much more on cavemen and a people called the Nargas. It becomes much more of a cheap, fantasy sword and sandals movie with dinosaurs that could easily be replaced by any sort of reptilian monster.
I guess I should give the makers of The People That Time Forgot some credit for including two prominent female characters. Neither of them work for different reasons though. Lady Charlotte 'Charlie' Cunningham (Sarah Douglas) has a Princess Leia hairdo and she can take care of herself. She's a photographer and she's a good shot with a gun. She's also pretty dumb to have made her party leader pose for a picture close to a dinosaur without his knowledge. It's just stupidly dangerous and she does it all for a laugh. What about Ajor (Dana Gillespie)? Well her introduction is a neat mix of sexism and awkwardness. She's your typical damsel in distress cavewoman who doesn't wear very much.
The Land That Time Forgot came pretty close to being a pretty good B-movie. Despite having the same director, The People That Time Forgot feels like it was shortchanged. Dinosaurs are nowhere near as nice-looking and all the effects are a collective step back. Patrick Wayne is not the leading man that Doug McClure is and there are just too many poorly done action sequences. It's no wonder that The People That Time Forgot is "The Movie That Everybody Forgot."
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