Away We Go To Hollywood’s Lands of the Lost

Adventure is the name of the game at the movies this weekend. We’ve got “Land of the Lost,” which features a plucky trio flung into a land of dinosaurs, Sleestaks and Pakunis. Then there’s “Away We Go,” in which a young couple expecting their first child decides to travel the country in order to find the perfect place to raise it. Finally we have the boys of “The Hangover,” who are on the hunt for their friend after one wild bachelor party.

They’re wildly different stories and genres, but at their heart they’re all about getting away… far away. I’ve decided to honor this group of daredevils by running through five of Hollywood’s most fantastic journeys. It’s really tough to narrow it to just five, but I’m hoping that you’ll share some of your favorites in the comments below. Together we can make this the list to end all lists! Yes we can!

“20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954)

Jules Verne’s novels are all about otherworldly adventures. Seeing as how “Land of the Lost” is essentially a retelling of the author’s “A Journey to the Center of the Earth,” I’ve opted for another of his adventures, one that goes underwater, does battle with a giant squid and is set to the jaunty tune of “A Whale of a Tale.” That’s the scene everyone remembers from Disney’s 1954 version, but the Nautilus also visits New Guinea reefs populated by cannibals, Nemo’s Vulcania hideout, and sunken shipwrecks loaded with treasure. Oddly, Disney left out the book’s journey to the underwater ruins of Atlantis, though they included it in the ride. Perhaps they’ll work it into McG’s upcoming prequel.

“The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” (2005)

Now here’s the fantastic journey I’d like to take. The first time I read this book, I wasn’t sure what a wardrobe was, but I was determined to find one so I could visit Narnia and hang out with fauns and talking animals. Later books invented other ways for the Pevensie children to make the trip, but nothing was ever as cool as Lucy pushing past fur coats expecting to find the rear wall of the wardrobe… and finding trees, snow and a lamp post instead.

“Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” (2007)

As crazy as the previous two “Pirates” installments were, they all took place in the real world. As the title of the trilogy capper says, this one finds them journeying to the world’s end in order to rescue Captain Jack Sparrow from Davy Jones’ Locker. They sail across icy seas, down steep waterfalls and into a realm where up is down and where multiple Jacks abide. It’s definitely my favorite part of the film, and the Chinese junk (it’s a type of boat) sailing across a sea and sky of stars is one of the most striking scenes in the whole trilogy.

“Back to the Future” (1985)

You can’t really ask for a bigger adventure than one that involves time travel. As funny as this ’80s classic is, it becomes a pretty creepy and perilous trip when Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) nearly undoes his entire existence after his own mother falls in love with him. How he manages not to undo the entire space-time continuum after inventing rock and roll, saving Doc Brown and making his family rich and successful is still a mystery to science. But hey, at least he didn’t become his own father!

“King Kong” (2005)

It was a tough call between this and “Jurassic Park,” but with all of the modern advances in cloning, a theme park stocked with dinosaurs just doesn’t seem all that far out anymore. There might even be a real-life “Jurassic Park” in the world catering to an exclusive clientele of the ultra-rich! Besides, Skull Island is stocked with so many giant and prehistoric creatures that even the local dinosaurs seem boring. There are a lot of versions of “King Kong” to choose from, but I’ve chosen the recent Peter Jackson version purely because it has an exhausting number of bugs, birds and dinosaurs, and the most heartbreaking Kong ever committed to film.