In the vein of Romancing the Stone, and even a dash of The Mummy (1999), The Lost City captures the best of rom-com adventure films.
On paper, I can’t say The Lost City looked like something that appealed to me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m always down for romantic comedies, but at first I wasn’t digging the concept. When the trailer hit, however, I was all on board. It looked goofy sure, but also like a ridiculous amount of fun. Combine that with Sandra Bullock (always great) and Channing Tatum, and it seemed like a solid recipe for success.
The Lost City
Directed By: Adam Nee, Aaron Nee
Written By: Oren Uziel, Dana Fox, Adam Nee, Aaron Nee
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Channing Tatum, Daniel Radcliffe, Da’Vine Joy Randolph
Release Date: March 25, 2022
Thankfully, that’s exactly what it turned out to be. As you’ve seen from the trailers, The Lost City puts the focus on middle-aged author Loretta Sage (Sandra Bullock). After penning a long-running best-selling series of romance/adventure novels has lost her drive to keep writing. In fact, she’s lost her drive to do pretty much anything following the death of her husband (years before the events of the film).
With the launch of her latest book, Loretta must re-enter the world and participate in a travelling book tour alongside Alan Caprison (Channing Tatum) who’s been the cover model/face of her novels’ hero, Dash, since the beginning. Things go horribly wrong from the start, however, and as she attempts to leave the disastrous event, Loretta finds herself abducted by an eccentric millionaire, Abigail Fairfax.
Thanks to her background in archaeology, Loretta’s novels are infused with real-life legends and history. Fairfax has managed to find the fabled “Lost City of D,” and now needs Loretta’s help to find the priceless Crown of Fire supposedly buried there (and the central focus of Loretta’s latest novel). When she refuses, Fairfax straight up kidnaps her, whisking her away to a remote island off the Atlantic.
Having borne witness to Loretta’s initial abduction, and desperate to prove he’s more than a cover model, Alan sets off to stage a rescue. Even with the aid of the ever-impressive Jack Trainer (Brad Pitt), the rescue doesn’t go as planned and the duo find themselves in the jungle, with no idea what they’re doing, and on the run from gun-toting goons desperate for Loretta’s info.
As they make their way back towards civilization (and rescue), Loretta manages to uncover new clues that could lead her to the discovery of a lifetime and a new found lease on life in general…
There aren’t any big surprises to be had in the film, but I think I’ll leave the story bits there for now to avoid any potential spoilers for those looking to go into the movie completely fresh. Suffice it to say, it feels like a standard action/adventure romance setup in the same vein as Romancing the Stone, The Mummy, and even a smidge of Indiana Jones to go with it.
While the humor is at the forefront of things, The Lost City manages to bring some solid action as well. Whether it’s Brad Pitt’s over the top rescue, or unexpected chase sequences through the jungle, the film manages to put a fun spin on competent action scenes. Seriously, they’re fun to watch, feeling thrilling, but the the exact right touch of humor to make it all fit within the world they’ve crafted here.
There are moments of intensity, thrills, and genuine emotions as the story progresses, but it never loses that overall thread of humor to go with it. It’s a deft touch, one that doesn’t overpower the other emotions at play, but keeps everything tied together so none of those other moments feel out of place in the big picture of things. It’s impressive how well crafted it is, keeping me laughing throughout without taking away from the more “serious” moments within it.
On top of a solidly put together script and being well-edited, the big reason everything works so well boils down to the excellent chemistry between Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum. It’s clear they’re having fun together, and so much of their interactions feels completely natural. There’s a genuine flow to their banter that’s hard to fake, and it makes even the more ridiculous elements of their journey more acceptable/engaging.
The Lost City is just a top-to-bottom blast. Sure, there’s no real surprises to be had, and it doesn’t feature any heady themes that will keep you thinking long after the credits roll…but it’s impossible to be mad about that. Regardless of its predictability, for an hour and a half you completely forget about everything in the outside world and just having fun. That’s what the movie experience should always be about, and The Lost City exemplifies this excellently.