King of the Lost World DVD Review
Written by Steve Pattee
DVD released by The Asylum
Directed by Leigh Scott
Written by Carlos De Los Rios and David Michael Latt
2005, Region 1 (NTSC), 90 minutes, Rated R
DVD released on December 13th, 2005
Bruce Boxleitner as Challenger
Jeff Denton as Malone
Rhett Giles as Roxton
Steve Railsback as Larry
Somewhere in the Amazon, a plane has crashed.
Fortunately, everyone seems to be accounted for—except Gloria, a flight attendant. And half of the plane is missing as well.
So a search party is organized to go find Gloria and the other half of the plane. Gloria because they care, and the other half of the plane because they need to get to the radio. But there are a few problems.
First, the joint is occupied by scorpions (both the normal size and the extra value horse-size), dragons, giant spiders, an angry tribe and, oh yeah, a giant fucking gorilla.
Oh, and Gloria? Forget about her. She was ape lunch in the first five minutes.
These certainly aren't the challenges the CBS “Survivors” have to face. And, hell, at least when that tribe decides they don't like you, they send you packing. They don’t sacrifice you.
Jeff Probst wouldn't last a day in this jungle.
At first glance, King of the Lost World looks to be a low-budget rip-off of King Kong, made only to capitalize on Peter Jackson's epic monster movie. But, like Asylum's H. G. Wells' War of the Worlds, that's far from the case.
Certainly, The Asylum released World around the time Kong was coming out — they aren't stupid. But, like their version of the Wells classic, it is very apparent that The Asylum takes its work seriously, and uses marketing to its advantage.
The two main stars, Rhett Giles (Frankenstein Reborn, Jolly Roger: Massacre at Cutter's Cove) and Jeff Denton (Frankenstein Reborn, The Beast of Bray Road), deliver solid performances, as usual. These cats are never disappointing, and when you throw in a brief stint with Thomas Downey (Frankenstein Reborn, The Beast of Bray Road), you know it's good times.
But if that weren't enough, Bruce Boxleitner (Legion of the Dead, Tron) adds his experience to the movie as Challenger, the man-with-a-mysterious-past that has the equally mysterious briefcase, and there are a couple of scenes with him and Denton that are flat-out hilarious.
Plus, the great Steve Railsback (Lifeforce, Helter Skelter) shows up as Larry, the crazy cave dweller. Unfortunately, Railsback was completely underused. Granted, his appearance is more than a cameo, but it doesn’t justify his name on the box cover.
And after playing smaller roles in previous Asylum films, the two leading ladies, Christina Rosenberg and Sarah Lieving, handle their roles with ease, and they are rightfully moving up the Asylum “ladder.” Hopefully, both will continue to climb that ladder and have bigger roles in future films.
The CGI effects in King are The Asylum's best to date. The dragons look exceptional, the giant spider and scorpions are decent and, while it's the weakest effect in the movie, the giant ape is passable because of the wise move to use quick cuts on it, rather than film it full on.
The script is good, as well, throwing in humor in all the right places and keeping the film moving without ever quite slowing down.
The King of the Lost World is perfect proof that The Asylum is putting out a better product with each release. The bottom line is King is a fun romp through the jungle from beginning to end.
Video and Audio:
For the first time, I am really pleased with the video quality of an Asylum film. Gone is the softness so often seen in the studio’s previous releases, and the blacks are suitably deep. In addition, King uses different color schemes, from the darker blues in the cave scenes to the lush greens of the island, and they all look good, with no noticeable bleeding.
Like The Asylum’s previous DVDs, King is presented in 16:9 anamorphic widescreen.
King’s Dolby Digital 5.1 offering is great, and the rears and sides get a lot of use. In one particular scene, tribal drums are alternating beats between the left and right speakers. This is a demo disc for low-budget movies, showing that even if you don't have a budget of Hollywood scope, you can still put out a damn decent soundtrack.
Dolby 2.0 is also available.
The cast and crew commentary is more comedy than information, but that doesn't mean it's not worth a listen. There are numerous laugh-out-loud-funny moments and it is very MST3K-like. However, once again, there are not enough mics for the people in the room and I had to go back and forth with the remote so I could hear the people sitting in the back. Asylum, I implore you, less people or more mics. It's really hurting your commentaries.
An eight-minute behind-the-scenes featurette consists of various interviews. It feels like an HBO piece, but unlike an HBO piece, this is fun to watch.
Andrew Tucker, the special effects supervisor, hosts the 10-minute visual effects featurette, “How'd They Do That?” This is the best featurette of those offered, and it left me wanting more. Tucker has a great résumé, including Blade.
Also offered is a brief segment of outtakes.
Trailers for King of the Lost World, Dead Men Walking, Shape Shifter, The Girl in the Basement and Frankenstein Reborn round out the special features.
If you haven't checked out an Asylum film yet, this is a great one to start with. It has all the strengths of the studio’s previous films, with none of the weaknesses. A fun movie from beginning to end.
Want to comment on this review? Head over to the Horrortalk Review Forum.