Two main things popped in my brain while prepping for and watching The Lost City of Z. First of all, cool title, really exciting, went in without looking up a trailer or description.
The first thing I realized? This was not a zombie movie. Sorry, a Z on its own just kind of screams that out. (Doesn’t help that Brad Pitt was a producer on both this film and World War Z).
Secondly, I had been pronouncing it wrong for two weeks. And if I pronounced it correctly, I wouldn’t think it was about zombies. That is because it isn’t an American Z, it is a Canadian Z, or a “Zed”. So before you look like me, silly as a goat, it is The Lost City of Zed.
These guys also look foolish, with spears in their faces. Just not as foolish as me.
Our story is about Percy Fawcett (Charlie Hunnam), a real man, with a real story, and real interesting facial hair. He is a British officer, but he has no medals to speak of, mostly training troops in case there is a big war (This is 10-15 years before WWI). His dad did some bad stuff, so he has to try and reclaim his family name to help elevate his new family. You know, his wife (Sienna Miller), and their little boy.
Percy is eventually chosen to go on a dangerous movie to Bolivia in South America. The Royal Geographical Society is going to have him lead a mission to follow a river, map out the area, and find its source. It is important for peace in the region and making money. Percy reluctantly goes on a multi year journey, leaving his pregnant wife behind, with danger and mystery in his future.
He gets a right hand man, Henry Costin (Robert Pattinson), who is rocking a killer beard. What he really discovers is that the savages there are not so savage, and there might be an older ancient culture hiding in those woods, he just has to find it to prove it to the world.
Also starring Clive Francis, Ian McDiarmid, Tom Holland, Angus Macfadyen, and Edward Ashley.
At least they have guns, the best invention for scary potentially zombie infested ruins.
Right off the bat, I disliked The Lost City of Z. It had a filter applied to it to make it look time period specific, which movies love, and it just distracts me. Seriously. The entire film it just distracts me. It makes the whole thing look odd, but I am apparently the only one who gets annoyed by these things.
The Lost City of Z is pretty long, over 2 hours. It is extremely thorough, impressively so at times, and I learned a lot about this man who did some pretty exciting things in South American exploration. The Costin character is also pretty exciting. But I actually learned the most about James Murray, an Antarctic explorer who also went on a mission and was kind of a dumb ass. Which isn’t fair, because this story about Fawcett would be super biased.
Outside of filter issues, I do believe this movie has a bit too much going on. Although World War I ends up becoming an important change in his life, it feels so weird to spend so much time on that front (heh), when we have already had two expeditions and know that a third one is coming before the movie ends. And at the same time, I wish they explored a bit more of his relationship with his kids and wife. The ending also takes some liberties with what happened to Fawcett, because the truth is a lot more unclear than that.
And all of these points are still pretty minor. It is a well crafted film about a non well known subject, and one that will interest many sects of people.
3 out of 4.