This Movie I’d Never Heard Of has an oddball but interesting premise: A group of archeologists funded by the Smithsonian are conducting a dig in the Grand Canyon in the late 1800s when the elderly scientist in charge of the expedition disappears while trying to find proof of his theory that the ancient Egyptians traveled to North America. A group of his fellow scientists, including his beautiful daughter and accompanied by a cynical newspaper reporter, sets out to find him.
That’s a pretty pulpish plot, and the mixture of Western, historical, lost race, and fantasy elements ought to make for a rip-roaring adventure yarn. Unfortunately, the execution isn’t as charming as the idea. The script has enough anachronisms to be a little annoying (like the fact that the female characters are referred to as Ms., a term I don’t think existed in the Nineteenth Century), and the low-budget special effects aren’t very effective. The acting is okay at best, although Michael Shanks turns in a pretty good performance as a reluctant scientist/hero (the part Doug McClure would have played if they’d made this movie during the Seventies).
Despite that, the sheer goofiness of the plot does have a certain appeal to it. With its fistfights and scary monsters and even a quicksand scene (!), I would have loved this movie when I was eight years old and took such things completely seriously. If you’re still in touch with your inner eight-year-old (you know I am!), you might find it worth taking a look at.
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