Julianne Moore and Jeff Goldblum go face-to-face with a T-Rex.
(©1997 Universal Studios Inc. and Amblin Entertainment Inc. All rights reserved.)
This continuation of the Jurassic Park story suggests that dinosaurs were bred on another island before being moved to the dinosaur theme park. And while the dinosaurs in the theme park were destroyed, dinosaurs now roam wild on the other island. Therefore, a party of explorers is put together to photograph and document the dinosaurs. Goldblum only decides to go along after he discovers that his girlfriend (Julianne Moore) has already joined the party and, in fact, is already in route to the island. However, John Hammond (Richard Attenborough), the head of InGen, the company responsible for creating the dinosaurs, has recently lost control of the company to his mercenary nephew (Arliss Howard). And now, against his wishes, an army of hunters (led by Pete Postlethwaite) descends on the island to rope and crate the creatures (just like the safari crews in Hatari! (1962), where John Wayne and crew rode jeeps across the African veldt to trap rhinos and wildebeest). Goldblum and company (including Vince Vaughn of Swingers and Richard Schiff of Seven) react in horror as the trappers chase and tranquilize the critters. But eventually the tyrannosaurs show up (surprise!) and everyone scatters like cockroaches from bright light. Chomp! Chomp! Chomp!
Most of the developments in The Lost World are incredibly predictable, not particularly surprising, and at worst, quite mundane. But even with its weaknesses, the movie contains several absolutely stunning set pieces. In one scene, the humans run through a field of tall grass with a pack of velociraptors in pursuit. With the camera looking down on the field, we watch as the velociraptors quickly converge on the humans from all sides. In another scene, a pair of tyrannosaurs attack an RV and send it tumbling to the edge of a cliff, while Goldblum and Moore get battered around like pinballs inside the vehicle.
If you're familiar with the silent movie The Lost World (made in 1925 by the same team responsible for creating King Kong eight years later), you'll have a pretty good idea where The Lost World: Jurassic Park is headed. Few people except movie buffs have seen the original The Lost World. While it pushed special effects to a completely new level and awed its audiences, it lacked the great storytelling that made King Kong a vital part of our culture. As a result, it has faded away to just a footnote in history. The same fate may one day await The Lost World: Jurassic Park, but for the time being this is the best roller coaster ride around. The movie should be credited for giving the tyrannosaurs parental instincts. They aren't simply the killing machines of Jurassic Park; now, they are protecting their young. But this development is simply a ruse to excuse the human slaughter that soon takes place.
Coming from Steven Spielberg, the same man responsible for Schindler's List, The Lost World: Jurassic Park promises much more than it actually delivers and ultimately it becomes an irritatingly superficial thriller. If Spielberg had actually given the same attention to the human characters and the storytelling that he gave to the dinosaurs and the technology that created them, he might have given us a classic tale of the dangerous lengths that parents may go to protect their brood. But the dinosaurs dwarf everything in the movie, even the monumental reputation of Spielberg.
A Universal Pictures Presentation
An Amblin Entertainment Production