A Jurassic Review, Vol. 2: The Lost World

Scene from
1997 Scenes From The New Movie "The Lost World: Jurassic Park" The Sequel To "Jurassic Park" (Photo By Getty Images)

A Jurassic Review is an ongoing series at LWOS Life that takes a critical look back at the iconic series that kicked off the dino craze in Hollywood. See the first installment of the series here.

We’re back with another look at the Jurassic Park franchise. We’ve escaped Velociraptors and turned the main power back on, but it’s time to switch gears. The next installment will have giant dinosaurs, guaranteed. But, instead of kicking back on Isla Nublar, it’s time to head over Site B, aka Isla Sorna. Ravaged by a severe hurricane and abandoned, the cloning facilities became the dinosaurs’ world. Welcome to The Lost World: Jurassic Park

The Lost World: Jurassic Park Review

A Lost World Where Something Has Survived

After the chaos and destruction of the previous events on Isla Nublar, the survivors have adjusted back to life as civilians. InGen is on the verge of extinction in the form of financial disaster, and our beloved, snarky chaotician Jeff Goldblum is trying to live the simple life. But once he learns of a secret island off the coast of Costa Rica, his mood changes from hermit scientist to rescue operation leader.

John Hammond’s way with persuasion and a checkbook roped in more professionals to catalog the remaining species on the island. But as soon as Ian Malcolm and his team arrive to save his girlfriend Sarah Harding, a rogue team of InGen mercenaries has stormed the island, not to stop Malcolm, but to capture the dinosaurs. It’s a race against time, and soon enough, Isla Sorna will become a battlefield with lives on the line.

But you have to ask yourself, did The Lost World live up to the hype back then? Could have it done better than its predecessor?

The Good: A New Setting, but With a Dark Side

Four years have passed since the accident on Isla Nublar, which has given enough time for Steven Spielberg to deliver on a highly anticipated sequel to his blockbuster titan, Jurassic Park. A wizard in the world of cinema, Spielberg has made amazing movies. But with a movie with ferocious dinosaurs, philosophical themes, daring action and ground-breaking CGI, how do you top a movie that almost made a billion dollars at the box office?

Shifting from the “glory and majesty of dinosaurs,” The Lost World does take on a darker and more serious tone. Goldblum’s character went from quirky and smart to cynical and reluctant. Such is the danger of assuming control of organisms that have not seen light in eons. The dynamic shifts in themes and characters were a serious undertaking for Spielberg.

And of course, we see some familiar faces: Goldblum, Richard Attenborough, Joseph Mazello and Ariana Richards, a.k.a. Tim and Lex. However, the true stars of the movie were the dinosaurs, like the king of dinosaurs, Tyrannosaurus Rex. The Velociraptors still managed to blow the socks off of moviegoers.

The Better: New Dinosaurs and New Actors

New species shown on the silver screen certainly received an “A+.” From the swarms of Compsognathus to the honking calls of the Parasaurolophus, the dinosaurs did not disappoint. Others such as Triceratops, Stegosaurus, and Pachycephalosaurus showed that herbivores can bite back too.

Plus, that travel sequence of the motorcyclist going under the Mamenchisaurus is still awesome to watch.

However, we’re introduced to a couple of new members of the Jurassic Park franchise: Quick and clever, somewhat macho Nick Van Owen, played by Vince Vaughn; Roland Tembo, a big game hunter from Kenya, played by Pete Postlewaite; and Julianne Moore, who plays a free-spirited paleontologist named Sarah Harding.

A slew of both old and new characters made for a great combination.

The Bad: Dull Dialogue and Personalities

While the casts of both parties were top notch, it was rather unfortunate to see how some of these characters developed throughout the movie, including some of the dinosaurs. The actual dialogue and conversations that some of the characters had were a bit lackluster.  It wasn’t so much that the movie was rushed. It definitely needed an extra “oomph” in order to match its predecessor.

Seeing more conversation between Sarah and Ian about their relationship or the philosophy of cloning could have made for stronger points in the movie. More personalities could have been brought out from the movie. There were vital dialogues that left awkward aftertastes, unfortunately.

Plus, the Raptors got a little “stupid,” if you know what I mean. Going from opening doors to crashing through windows didn’t make for the best impression, and squabbling over a kill didn’t do the raptors justice either. However, the male T. Rex rampage through San Diego made up for it.

Last Word: Life Will Find a Way, Hopefully

Overall, The Lost World was certainly not bad but could have been worked on more. A more careful direction during the production stage could have made for a stronger film. With new faces, new dinosaurs, and new themes, the second installment of the Jurassic Park franchise was a blockbuster hit for sure. Maybe in future films, we can see more cute Compy’s swarm another human victim and not have dimwitted raptors crash through everything.

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