Monday, April 8, 2013

Review: "The Lost World: Jurassic Park" is Both Different and Good

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 26 (of 2013) by Leroy Douresseaux

The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)
Running time: 129 minutes (2 hours, 9 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for intense sci-fi terror and violence
DIRECTOR: Steven Spielberg
WRITERS: David Koepp (from a novel The Lost World by Michael Crichton)
PRODUCERS: Gerald R. Molen and Colin Wilson
EDITOR: Michael Kahn
COMPOSER: John Williams
Academy Award nominee


Starring: Jeff Goldblum, Julianne Moore, Pete Postlethwaite, Arliss Howard, Richard Attenborough, Vince Vaughn, Vanessa Lee Chester, Richard Schiff, Peter Stormare, Harvey Jason, Ariana Richards, and Joseph Mazzello

The subject of this movie review is The Lost World: Jurassic Park, a 1997 science fiction adventure film and thriller from director Steven Spielberg. It is the sequel to the 1993 film, Jurassic Park. The Lost World: Jurassic Park is loosely based on the 1995 novel, The Lost World, from author Michael Crichton. The first film is based on Crichton’s 1990 novel, Jurassic Park.

The Lost World: Jurassic Park opens four years after the events depicted in the first film. The story focuses on Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), a mathematician, chaos theorist, and one of the survivors of the disaster at Jurassic Park (located on the island of Isla Nublar). Ian is invited to the home of John Hammond (Richard Attenborough), the billionaire industrialist who created Jurassic Park. Hammond has lost control of his company, InGen, to his unscrupulous nephew, Peter Ludlow (Arliss Howard). Hammond asks Ian to lead a team to Isla Sorna; also known as “Site B,” this is where he initially engineered the dinosaurs before moving them to Jurassic Park.

Isla Sorna has become a “lost world,” where dinosaurs have been living free in the wild. Hammond wants the island to become a nature preserve. He needs a team to document the dinosaurs in their natural habitat, documentation Hammond hopes to use to rally support for the creation of a nature preserve. Ian initially refuses, as he has his daughter, Kelly Curtis Malcolm (Vanessa Lee Chester), in his custody. Ian changes his mind and rushes to the island when he learns that his girlfriend, Dr. Sarah Harding (Julianne Moore), is part of the team and is already on the island. Once on Isla Sorna, Ian discovers many unexpected visitors to an island full of unpredictable dinosaurs.

The Lost World: Jurassic Park is the only one of the three Jurassic Park films that I did not see during its theatrical release. When it was first released in 1997, I thought about seeing it, but a friend of mine (Pete) told me he hated it. I did see The Lost World when it first arrived on VHS, and though I liked the movie, I could see that it paled in comparison to Jurassic Park: the movie, memories of it, and the feelings it evoked. Since I first saw The Lost World, I have seen it countless other times (as with Jurassic Park). I have either liked it or had mixed feelings, leaning towards the positive, about it. Recently, I have started to like The Lost World more and more with each viewing.

The Lost World and the original Jurassic Park are different films. Jurassic Park is a fantasy adventure, wearing a genre suit that is half science fiction-techno thriller and half action thriller. In spite of its violence and intense elements, Jurassic Park is a family film and juvenile fantasy filled with a sense of wonder and discovery. The Lost World is an adult drama that is part monster movie, part science fiction adventure, and part action-thriller.

The Lost World does not have a sense of wonder and discovery about it. It is darker, where its forebear is light and magical (thanks to the magic of Hollywood visual and special effects). The Lost World is the dark side of the mess adults make of the world with their corporations, schemes, mistakes, and even good intentions. Where is the fun in that? As scary and amazing as the Velociraptors are in the Jurassic Park, they’re just filthy, nasty, ugly things that need to be killed in The Lost World. Even the cameo appearance of Jurassic Park’s child stars, Ariana Richards and Joseph Mazzello, as, respectively, Lex and Tim Murphy, only serves to remind that this movie is something different from the first movie.

I think when you accept what The Lost World is and also is not (Jurassic Park), you can really enjoy the sequel. I think it is a fine movie, although not the all-time great I think Jurassic Park is. I am also glad that Jeff Goldblum appears in The Lost World. The third film, Jurassic Park III, clearly misses Goldblum’s acerbic, but resourceful Dr. Ian Malcolm. He is the main reason I have come to really like The Lost World: Jurassic Park and why I’ll probably watch it again… soon.

8 of 10

1998 Academy Awards, USA: 1 nomination: “Best Effects, Visual Effects” (Dennis Muren, Stan Winston, Randy Dutra, and Michael Lantieri)

1998 Image Awards: 1 nomination: “Outstanding Youth Actor/Actress” (Vanessa Lee Chester)

1998 Razzie Awards: 3 nominations: “Worst Reckless Disregard for Human Life and Public Property,” “Worst Remake or Sequel,” and “Worst Screenplay” (David Koepp)

Sunday, April 07, 2013


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