The People That Time Forgot (1977) – By Duane L. Martin

 

In this sequel to The Land That Time Forgot, Major Ben McBride (Patrick Wayne) organizes a rescue mission to go after his childhood friend Bowen Tyler, after a canister that Bowen threw into the sea washes ashore and tells of a strange land full of dinosaurs and a variety of different cave people.  Sailing in on an ice breaker and then flying in on a sea plane, the group ends up crash landing after they’re attacked by a pterodactyl.  Now it’s a race against time to find Tyler Bowen and to repair their plane so they can get back to the ship before it has to evacuate the area due to heavy ice formations.

So…what can I say about this one?  Well for starters, as sequels go this one wasn’t too awful bad.  It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t bad either.  It did have certain aspects that were rather fun and well done, but for every success the film had, it had a failure to go along with it.

Now the cast did as well as they could with the material they were given…with one exception.  See, Doug McClure is cheesy as hell, and I love watching him act because of that.  He’s just fun to watch for whatever reason.  Patrick Wayne on the other hand is lacking something.  He’s got that same sort of cheesiness with his “handsome leading man smile” and his slick, yet oh so rehearsed line delivery, but there’s something about him I’ve never quite been able to connect with.  Not that he did a bad job with his role in this film, but it wasn’t as entertaining to watch as Doug McClure’s performance in The Land That Time Forgot, or for that matter his appearance in this film as well.  When Doug McClure acts, you know what you’re getting and you love him for it.  When Patrick Wayne does it, it just feels off for some reason.

Then there’s the dinosaurs.  They have a great scene early on where they use a stegosaurus to pull their plane from the sand, and the stegosaurus itself looks pretty cool, but when they finally get it to move forward the movement is so hokey that it sort of ruins the scene in a way.

There are several different dinosaurs in this film, including one that I think was recycled from At the Earth’s Core, which was made in between The Land That Time Forgot and this film.  I always sort of associate it with these two films just because it has a similar theme and they all have Doug McClure in them, but the story in At The Earth’s Core isn’t related in any way to these two.  Anyway, there’s this giant hippo looking dinosaur that appeared in At the Earth’s Core that also made an appearance in this film if I’m not mistaken.  Mostly the dinosaurs in this film are as cheesy as you’d expect, but with the pterodactyl it was like they didn’t even bother trying.  They made little to no effort to make it actually look like it was flying.  Mostly it just glided and tried to knock the plane out of the sky.  Oh!  And that’s another thing.  One of the crew was trying to shoot the stupid thing with a machine gun.  I mean, he shot at it a lot, and because he constantly missed it, the pterodactyl managed to disable the plane and force a landing.  Yet later on this same guy is shooting one pterodactyl after another right out of the sky with a regular ol’ rifle.  I mean, come on…

That brings us to the clan of evil cavemen who are more advanced than all of the other clans and doing everything they can to wipe the others out of existence.  They have a leader who could have just as easily have been played by Tor Johnson since they have a similar sort of a look to them, and this guy is supposed king badass #1.  No one can stand up to this guy…and yet he doesn’t actually do any fighting.  His soldiers do the fighting for him.  All he does is order girls to be thrown into a volcano, and then rather than throwing them in he stands right on the edge of it himself and ends up falling in.  I mean, come on…they could have done better than that.

Doug McClure is found and rescued in this film, as I stated earlier, but after they go through all that trouble to rescue him, he ends up getting himself killed so that the rest of them can escape, thereby making the whole expedition one great big waste of time.

You might think from everything I just said that this is a horrible film.  On the contrary, it’s not horrible at all.  It’s not awesome or anything, but it’s not bad.  The Land That Time Forgot was a much better film overall, but this one has its own triumphs and its own charm that definitely make it worth both watching and owning.

For special features, this new release from Kino Lorber includes audio commentary with the film’s director Kevin Connor, on camera interviews with two of the film’s stars, Sarah Douglas and Dana Gillespie, and the film’s trailer.  What it doesn’t include is subtitles, and I’m going to keep on complaining about that until they start including them in these releases.  People who are deaf or have hearing loss benefit greatly from subtitles, and they deserve to enjoy these films just as much as anyone else.

While I can and do recommend this film, it doesn’t get as strong of a recommendation from me as The Land That Time Forgot.  The problems with the film are forgivable and there’s nothing in there that’s a deal breaker in any way, but there were things that could have been done so much better with only a reasonable amount of extra thought and effort.  This film, as well as The Land that Time Forgot and the unrelated At the Earth’s Core are all worth picking up and adding to your collection, though of the three, this was my least favorite, but only by a small margin.