CAST: Sandra Bullock, Channing Tatum, Daniel Radcliffe, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Patti Harrison, Oscar Nuñez, Brad Pitt, Raymond Lee, Bowen Yang
RUNNING TIME: 112 mins
BASICALLY…: A romance-adventure novelist (Bullock) and her dim-witted cover model (Tatum) are thrust onto a real-life adventure together…
NOW FOR THE REVIEW…
There’s little beating around the bush when it comes to the cold, hard fact: The Lost City is basically the same movie as Romancing The Stone. From its plot to its tone to even some of its characters, the classic Robert Zemeckis adventure film shares strong DNA with Aaron and Adam Nee’s newer, but not necessarily better, film which may as well be a modern-day remake of Zemeckis’ acclaimed movie (hell, you could even argue that it could also share DNA with the less-successful, Lewis Teague-directed sequel The Jewel of the Nile).
However, that doesn’t seem to bother anyone – critics and audiences certainly seem to like it, and it’s already proving to be a box office hit – because, frankly, movies like The Lost City or even Romancing The Stone are rarely made nowadays: that kind of epic romance-adventure studio blockbuster that contains an equally heavy dollop of romance and adventure, with reliable movie stars carrying the plot based on their charisma and chemistry alone. In that regard, it’s rather cool to see a film like The Lost City not only be made but also doing well, and despite its glaring similarities to other movies, it is also a fun and often funny ride that’s entertaining and, yes, adventurous.
The film is about novelist Loretta Sage (Sandra Bullock), who in the wake of her husband’s death has become a house-bound recluse, begrudgingly completing the latest in her popular romance-adventure book series about a handsome, long-haired hero named Dash McMahon. Pressured by her publicist Beth (Da’Vine Joy Randolph) to go on a book tour for her latest book titled The Lost City of D – originally the title for this film, but shortened when they perhaps realised it would instead remind people of the actual adventure epic The Lost City of Z – a with Alan Caprison (Channing Tatum), a model who has become famous for posing as Dash on her book covers, Loretta finds herself out of her depth. Things get worse for her, though, when she is suddenly kidnapped by eccentric billionaire Abigail Fairfax (Daniel Radcliffe), who is convinced that Loretta knows the location of a hidden treasure on a remote island, as described in her new book. Alan, wanting to prove to Loretta that he’s more than a simple cover model, attempts to rescue her from her captors, but soon the pair find themselves alone in the jungle and heading on a journey to find the fabled treasure location, before Fairfax and his men can get to it first.
It’s one of those films that relies heavily on its star power to keep itself moving, and luckily both Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum are strong enough performers to easily carry a majority of the movie on their combined shoulders. They share fun chemistry together, complimenting each other’s comedic skills with funny line deliveries and slapstick physical humour, while also projecting their immensely likable selves onto characters that might not be the most three-dimensional, but are still enjoyable enough for the viewer to want to spend a whole movie in their company. Elsewhere, Daniel Radcliffe is having the time of his life chewing scenery as the film’s villain, and Brad Pitt has a funny role early on in the film which is more of an extended cameo, but the Oscar-winning A-lister makes the most of his limited screen-time with his hilariously cool take on the kind of action movie hero you’d normally expect in a standard adventure film.
The rest of the film, while certainly entertaining and occasionally pretty funny, is honestly rather disposable. Ignoring the similarities to Romancing The Stone, of which there are noticeably many, The Lost City is a light adventure, one where the clues and puzzles are astonishingly easy to solve – so much, in fact, that you wonder why Radcliffe’s villain even needs someone else to be brought in to lead him to the treasure – and the ultimate climax isn’t quite as satisfying as something you’d see in an Indiana Jones movie. It’s also one of those comedies that just lets actors ad-lib to make certain comedic scenes even longer, like a sequence involving leeches and Tatum’s naked body, which rambles for so long that it sometimes forgets why it was there to begin with. Some of that works, again because the actors have such great comedic timing, but more often than not the scene ends up outstaying its welcome. There are also some questionable green-screen shots of characters on mountain-tops, which do take you out of the overall adventure movie feel (yes, a lot of films have green-screen nowadays, but when it’s this noticeable then you know that it’s not doing a good enough job at blending in).
Overall, The Lost City is fine – it’s entertaining, and will give anyone going in for its main actors exactly what they’re looking for, but if it’s genuine adventure you’re looking for with this exact plot, then try and find Romancing The Stone on Disney+ instead.
SO, TO SUM UP…
The Lost City is a fun, but derivative, romance-adventure comedy that largely relies on its heavy star power to move forward, for it lacks the genuine thrills and filmmaking perfection to fully impress.