movie film review | chris tookey
 
     
     
 

The Lost World: Jurassic Park / Jurassic Park: The Lost World / The Lost World: Jurassic Park 2 / The Lost World: Jurassic Park II

 (PG)
© Universal Pictures - all rights reserved
     
  The Lost World: Jurassic Park / Jurassic Park: The Lost World / The Lost World: Jurassic Park 2 / The Lost World: Jurassic Park II Review
Tookey's Rating
7 /10
 
Average Rating
6.00 /10
 
Starring
Dr. Ian Malcolm ...... Jeff Goldblum, Dr. Sarah Harding .... Julianne Moore, Roland Tembo ......... Pete Postlethwaite
Full Cast >
 

Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Written by: David Koepp, based on the novel by Michael Crichton.

 
 
 
Released: 1997
   
Genre: ACTION
ADVENTURE
MONSTER
SERIES
SCIENCE FICTION
SEQUEL
FAMILY
   
Origin: US
   
Length: 134
 
 


 

More close encounters with dinosaurs.

Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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Dr Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) is shocked when he learns from millionaire businessman John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) that the dinosaurs which inhabited Jurassic Park were in fact bred on a different island nearby, and are now being studied by Malcolm’s palaeontologist girlfriend (Julianne Moore).
Hammond has renounced his ambitions to set up a theme park, but still fancies himself as a naturalist. He wants Malcolm to help gather information about these dinosaurs living in their natural state. “Don’t worry, I’m not making the same mistakes again,” Hammond says. “No,” Malcolm replies sardonically, “you’re making all new ones.”
Malcolm sets out to rescue his dino-damsel in distress, with the help of a technical expert (Richard Schiff) and an ex-Greenpeace documentary-maker (Vince Vaughn). Once on the island, Malcolm discovers that his damsel doesn’t wish to be rescued, and Malcolm’s daughter (Vanessa Lee Chester) has stowed away, to be closer to him. Like Sam Neill’s hero in Jurassic Park, Malcolm finds battling for survival is not enough in a Spielberg movie - he must learn parenting skills as well.
Of further annoyance to the local wildlife is Hammond’s mercenary nephew (Arliss Howard), who arrives with a gang of big-game hunters and the aim of shipping the prize exhibits off to a new theme park in San Diego, with the help of white hunter Pete Postlethwaite.
So, several dozen deaths later, The Lost World turns into a Godzilla movie - with a Tyrannosaurus Rex rampaging through downtown San Diego and treating the local citizenry as fast food.
The motto of the movie may be “Something has survived”, but not much has survived from Michael Crichton’s best-selling novel. Director Seven Spielberg and screenwriter David Koepp have thrown out most of the book and virtually all its scientific content.
There were gaping plot-holes in Jurassic Park, but here the story is an even jerkier succession of action set-pieces, which allow virtually no character development. I didn’t really believe in, let alone like, any of the characters. Would an experienced naturalist such as Julianne Moore’s character risk using a noisy camera close to lethal Stegosauruses? Would she really be so dumb that she would bring an injured infant T. Rex back to her trailer, and not think its parents might come after her?
The scientific curiosity which made Jurassic Park intriguing is sadly absent, and the movie is unfair to T. Rexes - turning them into predators rather than scavengers, and endowing them with a quasi-human capacity for revenge.
This may not worry many laymen in its audience. Far more likely to irritate is the over-cluttered soundtrack, which renders much of the dialogue inaudible, and the plot hard to follow.
It is very different in tone from Jurassic Park. Gone is the joy and wonder of the original. There is no moment as uplifting as that classic sequence where we first saw a brachiosaurus eating leaves from a tree.
Jurassic Park was a dream with nightmarish sequences. The Lost World is all nightmare - reflected in John Williams’s untypically grim score.
Gone, too, is any claim to be considered as a family movie. The opening sequence has a small girl being mutilated by dinosaurs (mostly off-camera, but the grisly implications are clear). The piece continues in just as child-unfriendly a tone.
There is no attempt to make the dialogue comprehensible to children under twelve, and the atmosphere of relentless threat, interspersed with extremely gruesome violence, is much closer to films like Predator and Aliens, than it is to the original Jurassic Park.
This movie ought to have carried at least a 12 certificate; and, not for the first time, the British Board of Film Classification (which gave it a PG) here showed that it was more interested in placating the industry which finances it, than in informing and protecting the public.
However, for teenagers upwards, this is a thrilling action-adventure. Steven Spielberg’s flair as an action director ensures that all the set-pieces are exciting. A few are terrifying.
The key to the movie’s success is that the dinosaurs are more varied and lifelike than ever before. Their interaction with the actors is astonishingly realistic. There are sights here that are unforgettably strange and scary, such as the grassland trails left by velociraptors hunting their human prey.
It’s a pity that The Lost World depends for so much of its impact on extreme violence, and the screenplay fails to make the most of the actors and special effects; but Spielberg shows once again why he has made six of the top twenty highest-grossing films of all time. This will probably join that list as the seventh. It is far more frightening than Jaws, and certainly among the most spectacular motion pictures ever made.

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