Thursday Night Movie Club
The Lost World: Jurassic Park
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Release Date: 23 May 1997

Director: Steven Spielberg
Jeff Goldblum
Julianne Moore
Pete Postlethwaite
Arliss Howard
Richard Attenborough
Vince Vaughn
Vanessa Lee Chester
Peter Stormare
Harvey Jason
Richard Schiff
Thomas F. Duffy
Joseph Mazzello
Ariana Richards
Thomas Rosales Jr.
Camilla Belle
Ian Malcolm
Sarah Harding
Roland Tembo
Peter Ludlow
John Hammond
Nick Van Owen
Kelly Curtis
Dieter Stark
Ajay Sidhu
Eddie Carr
Dr. Robert Burke
Cathy Bowman
The Lost World: Jurassic Park movie poster The Lost World: Jurassic Park movie poster The Lost World: Jurassic Park movie poster
Stegosaurus in The Lost World: Jurassic ParkSomething has survived. Nice sentiments. The Lost World: Jurassic Park is the expected sequel to the blockbuster Jurassic Park. Steven Spielberg is back directing the film. Once again, novelist Michael Crichton adapts the screenplay from his own novel.

The dinosaurs are back... bigger, grander and meaner. Unfortunately, the story is not as interesting. In fact, the story is rather stupid. Jeff Goldblum does not make much of a leading man in this type of horror film. Spielberg ruins Crichton's novel by insisting on falling back on his now tiresome dysfunctional family story. In this case, playboy/ladies man Ian Malcolm has a daughter with an ex-wife. Ordinarily, this would not hurt a film except the daughter has a large role in this film. The kid is just as annoying as the kids in the first film.

A rich family, accustomed to getting their way, set up an afternoon picnic on Isla Sorna, an island off the coast of Costa Rica. Isla Nublar was set up to house the theme park Jurassic Park. Isla Sorna is the island where the actual research and rearing of the animals took place. Once the dinosaurs reached maturity, they were transfered to the theme park. The failure of Jurassic Park has led to a shut down of the facilities. The dinosaurs were allowed to roam free without any human interference. When a young girl is horribly attacked by a pack of Compys, the secret of the island is out of the bag.

InGen's competition was unsuccessful in their attempts to steal live embryos. Now, the island is open to full corporate exploitation. Something must be done to protect these amazing, wonderful creatures. Former capitalist turned naturalist John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) enlists the aid of mathematician Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) to lead a survey expedition to Isla Sorna. Before Hammond can legally seek protection for his creation, he needs a full accounting of every species on the island.

Hammond's team plans their next move in The Lost World: Jurassic ParkHammond has already sent someone to Isla Sorna to begin cataloguing the animals. Malcolm's ex-girlfriend Sarah Harding (Julianne Moore) has been on the island for awhile. Hammond is organizing a mission to join and assist her efforts. Malcolm relents but he is adamant that the mission is now a rescue effort.

The Lost World is a morality tale. Malcolm explains to Hammond a scientific theory: The simple act of observing an ecosystem actually changes the dynamics of the system. There is no such thing as unobtrusive observation. Malcolm sums up the events in the first film while foreshadowing the expected results to come, "Sure, everything is cute, cuddly, touch-feely now. Then comes the running and the screaming." If anyone listened to Malcolm, there wouldn't be much of a movie.

Hammond has learned the error of his ways and is spending his remaining time on the planet in an all-out effort to protect his beloved animals. On the corporate side, since the animals were created by Man not God, the animals are a commodity to be exploited for maximum profit. Greed is good! Just like Hammond, these corporate raiders have no idea what they are getting into. Conservationist Nick Van Owen (Vince Vaughn) releases the captured animals and they wreak havoc during a live teleconference with the investors. The power has been released. It is not nice to fool Mother Nature.

The two competing teams unite in The Lost World: Jurassic ParkThe race is on. The battle of Good vs. Evil is unfolding. On Hammond's side are the nice, friendly scientists and conservationists. On the other side are the corporate raiders led by Roland Tembo (Pete Postlethwaite). Tembo isn't in it for the money. He wants to be the first and possibly only person on the planet to have hunted and killed a Tyrannosaurus Rex. The rest of his team is out to capture as many animals as possible and transport the animals to a new "Jurassic Park" being built in San Diego. Say it ain't so! Spielberg isn't really going to fall for the obvious. Yes, he does.

Hurting The Lost World is a feeling that we have seen this before. There really isn't anything new in this outing. Sam Neill's paleontologist is replaced with Julianne Moore. Bob Peck's gamekeeper is replaced with big game hunter Postlethwaite. Ariana Richards and Joseph Mazzello are replaced with Vanessa Lee Chester who plays Malcolm's estranged daughter Kelly. That's right... estranged daughter. Spielberg once again falls back on his overdone dysfunctional family ploy.

These elements are nothing anyone in the audience cares about. The rampaging T-Rex and marauding velociraptors steal the show. Due in large part to Spielberg's brilliance as a director, there are several truly scary sequences in the film. Bigger sometimes is better. There are two T-Rexs. Harding can't resist helping an injured baby T-Rex. She is absorbed with her act of kindness and cannot see the obvious. Mom and Dad are looking for their lost child. Harding safely releases the baby to the care of the parents. She doesn't count on them coming back to seek revenge.

T-Rexs attack in The Lost World: Jurassic ParkThe signature sequence comes when the T-Rexs knock the trailer Harding uses as a base of operations over a steep cliff. Harding falls to the back of the trailer onto the back plate glass window. As she watches in horror, the glass slowly begins cracking around her. She is facing a 500 foot drop into the raging surf below.

Another sequence involves the survivors fleeing a T-Rex. They seek refuge behind a waterfall. The T-Rex's head slowly passes through the raging water looking for victims. White knuckle time. A singular amazing shot is an overhead view of Tembo's men fleeing a pack of raptors through a tallgrass field. As the men run, trails in the grass show the raptors approaching the unsuspecting men from all directions. Slaughter ensues.

Stegosaurus in The Lost World: Jurassic ParkThe Lost World ultimately fails in its last half hour. The corporate raiders have captured a T-Rex and the baby and transported them to San Diego. The baby has been flown on ahead. The mother T-Rex kills everyone on the cargo ship, promptly escapes from the ship and terrorizes San Diego. Steven Spielberg pays homage to the great monsters of cinema: King Kong and Godzilla.

The action sequences are spectacular. The sequence in San Diego seems as though screenwriter Crichton ran out of ideas and needed to fill 30 minutes of screen time. All things considered, The Lost World is not a sequel as much as a retelling of the same story, only the names have been changed for the sake of creativity.

What the heck? Grab a bucket of popcorn and enjoy seeing dinosaurs once again walking the earth. The Lost World is escapist fare. Suspend disbelief and enjoy the effects!