Movie: out of
A team of archeologists, led by Dr. Samuel Jordan (Duncan Fraser), are in search of an Egyptian treasure in the Arizona desert. When the team disappears (perhaps because they were searching for Egyptian artifacts in Arizona), Dr. Jordan’s daughter, Susan (Shannen Doherty), assembles a team to rescue them. The team consists of Jacob Thain (Michael Shanks from Stargate: SG-1), Marco Langford (JR Bourne from Stargate: SG-1), Hildy Wainwright (Heather Doerksen from Stargate: Atlantis), and Isaac Preston (Peter New, who appeared in one episode of Stargate: SG-1). Shanks’ performance as Thain is the oddest character in the film, at first a queasy, mousy archeologist, and just a few scenes later a dashing hero, then back to the shy, easily flustered professor.
As a Sci-Fi Channel original movie, Lost Treasure of the Grand Canyon is mediocre at best. The exterior locations resemble nothing remotely close to the Arizona desert, and the Cinematography by Adam Sliwinski is amateurish, using the zoom lens as if it’s a new toy, adjusting focus in the middle of a close-up, and very shaky hand-held camera work. The story is contrived, borrowing heavily from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (there are no less than 3 scenes of a heart being ripped out of someone’s chest), and using a computer-generated serpent-like creature to try to scare up some thrills. Lost Treasure of the Grand Canyon is not bad enough to be fun as Mystery Science Theater 3000 fodder, and thinks it’s campy enough to be a fun matinee, which it sadly is not.
Video: out of
The video is often quite good on this disc, with accurate flesh tones, decent blacks, and colors that are never over-saturated to the point of bleeding or smearing. Detail is quite good, as well, for a standard-definition DVD.
Audio: out of
For a television movie, the 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack, encoded at 448 kbps, is quite active. Dialogue is front and center, and surrounds are used to envelope you into the action with discrete sound effects and effective ambience. Michael Neilson’s score is reproduced to good effect, as well.
Special Features: out of
The only special feature included on this disc is the 11 minute Behind the Scenes of Lost Treasure of the Grand Canyon, in non-anamorphic widescreen. This is a typical EPK piece, with the actors saying how much fun it was to make and work with the other actors.
The disc also includes the following trailers playable when the disc first starts: Cyclops, Sands of Oblivion, and Chrysalis.
As a real head-scratcher, the disc comes packaged in an eco-friendly keepcase with a paperboard O-ring sleeve.
Overall: out of
Fans of the Stargate television franchise may be intrigued by the cast, but the actors have done much better work on Stargate. Other than that, there is not much else to really recommend Lost Treasure of the Grand Canyon.