Monday, February 11, 2008

The People That Time Forgot: Part 2

Two of the reasons the film was so popular.

The two fleeing cavemen are soon shot down by arrows fired from their fur-wearing, beardy enemies, the less evolved Ba-Lu. Our heroes totally fail to save them, mainly because the way they deal with the hostile tribe is to shoot not very scary orange smoke at them. Ajor recognises them as being from her people who were taken by the evil Naga.

They carry on towards the Mountain of Skulls, HQ of the Naga, walking through some particularly scenic parts of Santa Cruz de la Palma (birthplace of girlies favourite shoe peddlar Manolo Blahnik. No, really.) on La Palma in the Canary Islands. Ajor disappears to find the cave route through to the land of the Naga (and to pose artistically in the middle distance) leaving Son of John, Norfolk and Lady Charlotte to get captured and tied up by the beardy tribesmen from earlier who sneakily jump out of a tree. The three wake up, tied to the ground, and start to panic becuse of the presence nearby of a noisy puppet dinosuar of rather vague provenance. Fortunately, Ajor rescues them and they flee into the cave where they are followed, unbeknown to them , by another not-really-a-proper-dinosaur creature.

Eventually they get out the other side to the barren land of the Nagas, who appear before them looking exactly like 17th century Samurai. I suppose Samurai weren't so well known in the seventies hence the producers thought they could get away with not bothering to come up with an original design.

They're behind you!

The Naga leader claims that they were sent by Tyler, hence his ability to speak English. They proceed artistically highlighted against the horizon before arriving at one of the worst matte paintings in motion picture history, the Mountain of Skulls (more like a heap, really)!

Oh dear, oh dear oh dear!

Inside they meet the dreaded leader, an inexplicably pale-green, bald man who looks like he has escaped from a completely different film. Our heroes are grabbed by the duplicitous Naga who take Son of John and Thorley Walters off to a cell while the green slaphead shows the girls the volcano god; a bubbling special effects pit.

Inside their skull festooned cell who should our heroes spy creepily looking through a skull in the wall but Trampas/Tyler!

Overdressed for a B movie sacrifice scene, I think!

Meanwhile, back in the evil Greeny's palace the two girls are now dressed in disappointingly voluminous orange robes and are told they will be sacrificed at sunrise.

Back in the cell Trampas has smashed through the wall but looks very beardy and washed out (he was allegedly drinking heavily during the making of the film). Nevertheless, when the guards bring their morning Quaker Oats he joins the other two in overpowering three fully armoured, katana armed samurai with just a few thigh bones for weapons. Heroic!

Meanwhile, poor Ajor has been put on a chopping block as Greeny only seems to sacrifice girls' bodies to the Volcano God. He keeps the skulls to use like breeze blocks to build extensions to his palace. The executioner is none other than Darth Vader himself (or at least, his body). However, Ajor is saved in the nick of time by our three heroes who have disguised themselves as Samurai guards and burst into the throne room.

Greeny grabs Ajor whilst the other three make short work of Darth and the others. Ajor struggles with Greeny and in he goes to the volcano which promptly starts to erupt. Why it never did this when anyone else (such as poor Susan Penhaligon, from the first film, we find out) was thrown in is not explained.

"I remember it being much bigger!"

Our reunited heroes and heroines leg it into another cave, running the gauntlet of some scary glove puppet monsters before getting out into the landscape as burning rocks start falling everywhere. The Samurai chase after them and Son of John and Trampas hold them off with Lady Charlotte's pistol whilst the two girls and Norfolk escape into another cave. Trampas is hit by arrows and dies tragically leaving SoJ to join the others. They are briefly attacked by a giant ankylosaurus/rock-monster/armadillo/slug thing which must be one of the least threatening monsters of any film. Ajor breaks off a six inch thick stalactite (she must be stronger than she looks) and bops it inefectually over the head. Fortunately, tremors cause more stalactites to fall, one of which conveniently skewers the monster and puts paid to its dreadfull fake waddling.

Meanwhile, the slimy officer (played by Richard LeParmentier) who Darth Vader chokes in the original Star Wars, tells the captain that they had better get moving quick as rocks are falling all around them.

Our brave heroes briefly get chased by the cave people from earlier but they are conveniently blown up by the, obligatory for this sort of film, exploding volcano.

Now that's a big explosion!

Even though it took days to trek to the Mountain of Skulls again, as always in such films, they manage to run back to Scott Tracy and the plane in about ten minutes as the special effects team impressively explose most of the Island of La Palma behind them. They take off (amazingly, considering there appears to be no runway or even flat surface, just rocks and bushes) and despite having to throw out all their gear (including Lady Charlotte's camera) to get over the mountains they manage to get back to the ship just as it is leaving.

Later, they all stand on the ship's bridge drinking Port and we are left to wonder how Scott managed to get quite so friendly with the voluptuous Ajor quite so quickly as the ship literally sails off into the sunset.

I think I would have artistically ripped more than her sleeve!

Although The People that Time Forgot is not as good a film as The Land that Time Forgot it does have a few things going for it: Sarah Douglas, some nice location photography, the amphibian plane and, of course, Dana Gillespie in her dinky outfit. The dinosaurs are a big disappointment and the script is not as good as the first film. For me, however, as I watched it a month ago, I realised that I was watching it for the first time which was something of a surprise. The Region 2 DVD has a nice crisp picture but no extras apart from the original theatrical trailer.

Overall it is probably a 5/10

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