If any of you are listeners to our Just the Slips podcast, then you know I can have a different taste in movies than most. I dislike some classics and love some terrible DTV movies that I will recommend to anyone. Because of this, I will sometimes buy the cheapest films available just to see how bad they are. Lost Treasure of the Grand Canyon cost me a whole four dollars brand new, so I figured it would be worth the cost of a coffee. After watching I may rather have the coffee; this is certainly a film worthy of fellow nerd Garrett’s Films from the Basement series.
The Movie Itself (2/5)
Lost Treasure of the Grand Canyon takes place in the late 19th century. It never really states, but it has a decidedly Old West setting while our researchers are looking for ancient relics. First, we begin with Dr. Samuel Jordan and his crew. They are running through some caves being chased by a native tribe when something mysterious and terrifying flies in. It eats/kills some of the no name fodder before turning onto Dr. Jordan and some blood flashes across our view.
We see a makeshift camp where we meet our adventurers. They are lead by Dr. Jordan’s daughter… Dr. Susan Jordan (Shannen Doherty) who is worried that she has not heard from her father in weeks. After discussing her concerns with the other Doctors (there are a lot of them) she decides to make a trek to see if she can find him. The next half hour is spent crossing the desert-like country trying to find a trace of their whereabouts. The barkeep in the local town refuses to help, but some others were persuaded with the power of money. There isn’t much to write about because not much happens. Even a pool of quicksand (which you can see is cut out and doesn’t resemble quicksand at all) does not even provide any reprieve from the dullness.
At this point, Dr. Thain (played by Michael Shanks) catches up with the expedition. He is one of the men competing for the affection of the lovely Dr. Jordan. Dr. Thain begins our film as the second place contender to Dr. Langford (he may not be a Dr., there are too many that I lost track and didn’t care to remember as information from this film is leaving my brain faster than I can type) who initially catches Susan’s eye. I hate to say it but I wish one of them died early on in the film. They look exactly alike (see picture below) and when the second half takes place in the darker caves, they blurred together as one person.
Once our adventurers reach the Aztec lair (yes, a secret Aztec stronghold hidden in the US in the 19th century) they discover Dr. Samuel Jordan is still alive and attempt to rescue him. The question with these films is can they do that and save more lives than they would end up losing and would it have been better to just turn around? I believe you already know the answer to that. I won’t spoil the “monster” or any of the lore as that may be the only reason someone might watch this film.
Jokes aside, this is a bad movie. It is not unwatchable, I just have trouble finding anything redeeming to justify my four dollar purchase. The worst part is I enjoy a host of bad films; I own more Asylum movies than anyone should. The acting is dull, the shots are bland for 90% of the film, the CGI goes from passable to horrid, and the actual story is uninteresting. At the end, they even repeat flashbacks from the film to show the little nuances that made Susan fall in love with Dr. Thain… just in case your brain was erasing the memories as fast as you watched, like mine did.
Visuals/Picture Quality (3/5)
A three might be a generous score for this film but it can look really nice at times. Clarity on closeups gives faces and forms nice detail. This especially true on some of the beginning and outside shots. Even though the palette is bland, whether it is the wardrobe or the desert, the outside shots look nice. Most of the problem stem from the latter half with the cave shots and especially the CGI. The monster CGI is slightly better than the rest. He looks somewhat menacing and has some decent animation. The outside temple shots and some of the fire look like garbage that some highschooler created in his AV club lab.
Score/Audio Quality (3.5/5)
While Lost Treasure of the Grand Canyon does not have a lossless audio option, what it does have was a nice surprise. The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack uses the rear speakers often and very complimentary. The rear speakers are very busy with conversations from the off screen actors, horses, birds, and just about anything else that is going on in the film. An uncompressed option for sure would have been better, especially since the disc only uses 18gb of the disc, but what it does have is more than serviceable.
Special Features (0/5)
Nothing. No choices here. Chapter select? No. Audio options? No. Menu? What are you crazy? The movie automatically starts and if you hit the menu button it starts over. There are 10 chapters you can use to navigate with your remote though.
- Disc Art
- Aspect ratio: 1.78:1
- English: Dolby Digital 5.1
Runtime 90 Mins
Lost Treasure of the Grand Canyon might be worth a watch if you don’t mind things like people being perfectly okay after huge boulders fall on them, people who are poisoned suddenly being fine, very very easily killing a 10,000 year old creature in seconds with almost no effort. Also, secret Aztec villages that are self contained and go unnoticed in the middle of the desert. No need for food or water sources… also they wear modern flip flops. Don’t forget about the couple minute recap of the whole love story scenes with a sepia tint, just in case you forget what you just watched.
Normally, all this sounds funny and worth watching just to have a good laugh, but unfortunately I can’t recommend it unless you and a friend make some sort of drinking game out of it. It is just too dull and uninteresting otherwise, even with all the faults to laugh at. It seems like it is over double now what I paid on Amazon so I would certainly wait for it to come down. If you see Lost Treasure of the Grand Canyon at someone’s house, be sure to insult their movie taste and then steal it from them because you want to see for yourself just how bad it can get.