Monday, June 18, 2012

Movie Review: Lost Treasure of the Grand Canyon

As a youth a lot of my creative fiction was derivative of books or movies that I enjoyed. Sometimes I simply borrowed whole concepts (e.g. I once drew a fantasy map that included Shannara, Mordor, and Narnia along with several imaginary countries of my own design) while others fell squarely into the realm of fan fiction (e.g. I once started writing a "spec script" for a Jurassic Park sequel which involved all of the embryos in the canister dropped by Dennis Nedry combining together to form a giant mutant dinosaur which then wreaked havoc à la Godzilla [1][2][3]). I also came up with several adventures for the Indiana Jones franchise, one of which involved the discovery of El Dorado in the Grand Canyon. So when I saw the title of this movie I was curious to see how much it overlapped with my story even though it had really poor reviews.[4]

My verdict: This film deserves its reputation. All of the characters were lame except for the “bookie type” (played by Michael Shanks) and the acting was deplorable (again, except for Michael Shanks). The costume and set design were deplorable—even by SyFy standards—and it was surprisingly gory for a TV-14 movie. There wasn’t really any point to having the film set in the Grand Canyon—especially since most of the shots of the canyon were poorly-done CGI. The Quetzalcoatl (which every one of them mispronounced) looked quite ridiculous. The quicksand scene was also ridiculous. In short, this made-for-television movie isn't worth watching until RiffTrax takes a shot at it.[5]


[1] If you've seen the official sequel, Jurassic Park: The Lost World then you know I at least got the Godzilla scenes right.

[2] One thing that really disappointed me about both the book version of The Lost World is that it never addresses the herd of Procompsognathus that escaped into the Costa Rican jungle.

[3] Even though I didn't pursue a career in screenwriting, Jurassic Park still had an influence on my final career choice.

[4] See Lost Treasure of the Grand Canyon#Reception.

[5] Rifftrax is the successor to Mystery Science Theater 3000 (to read some of my MST3K reviews, see here and here). Rather than record their commentary over the movie (which requires them to purchase distribution rights), now they just record their audio commentary and you play it while watching the movie. You can read my review of the movie Twilight and its accompanying RiffTrax here.

Image attributions:

Puebloan Granaries in the Grand Canyon is by Drenaline, available at 

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