The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)

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Connections: Jurassic Park

A research team is sent to an island eighty-seven miles away from the previous home of Jurassic Park, to document and photograph the now liberated dinosaurs. However, InGen the BioEngineering company has sent another larger team to the same island to catch, sedate, and transport some dinosaurs to San Diego where they will be used in a new Jurassic Park location. But life always finds a way. Will both teams return to the mainland with successful findings? Or will another tragedy occur? --IMDb
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Review by Chad
Added: March 28, 2006
Taking place a few months after the events of Jurassic Park, this sequel begins when Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) receives a phone call from John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) inviting him to his house for a business proposal. Ian shows up to find out what's going on, and Hammond informs him that not only did he create the island attraction known as Jurassic Park, but he also created a second island known as "Site B." This island was used to allow the baby dinosaurs to reach adulthood before bringing them to the main island, and as such, there were no cages or fences constructed. The problem is that after the disaster of the first film, the dinosaurs on Site B just sort of stayed there and grew up... so now we have two islands plagued with dinosaurs. John also informs Ian that his investors have decided to recoup some of their monetary losses (wrongful death lawsuits, funding, etc.) by taking some of these dinosaurs off the island and bringing them back to the city, and that he wants to prevent this at all costs. So, his proposal goes something like this: Ian, in exchange for a healthy paycheck, should go to the island with three other people and document the living conditions of the dinosaurs so that Hammond can convince the general public that these dinosaurs should be left alone on this island and allowed to live without human interference. Ian declines the offer, until he finds out that his girlfriend Dr. Sarah Harding (Julianne Moore) has agreed to Hammond's plan... and that she's already there. Accompanied by his stowaway daughter Kelly (Vanessa Lee Chester), photographer Nick Van Owen (Vince Vaughn), and field-equipment expert Eddie Carr (Richard Schiff), Ian returns to the island that nearly claimed his life in the first movie. Not only does Ian have to worry about the numerous Velociraptors and the pair of Tyrannosaurus', but this time, he and the gang also have to worry about John's nephew Peter Ludlow (Arliss Howard), who has brought along a team of men including big-game hunter Roland Tembo (Pete Postlethwaite) to hunt down these dinosaurs, capture them, and bring some back to the city alive.

To some, this sequel did not live up to the original. While I'll fully agree that it wasn't as good as the movie that kicked the series off, I will say that it was still a damned good movie, even for a sequel. There's nothing to be found here that will change your mind about the series at hand if you didn't like the first movie, but for those who did like it, there's a lot to enjoy here. At the root of the movie, it's a basic rehash of the first; there's a group of humans on an island fending off hordes of dinosaurs that want nothing more than to line up for the "walking buffet" of humans. The effects are just as good as the first, and once again, it really seems as though the actors are literally standing on the set with real-life beasts.

What sets this apart from the first, however, is the tone of the movie and the pacing. Instead of attempting to deliver a message and holding off on showing the dinosaur attacks, this movie jumps right into things almost from the start. It's more action-based than the first, more people die, and the double-shot of Tyrannosaurus action (what's the plural form of "Tyrannosaurus Rex", anyway?) definitely raises the tension level of the film. The only problem with this change of focus is that by the time the credits roll, you start to get a bit weary of watching the humans run and hide from the dinosaurs; there's only so many ways that this can be done, and after you've watched it happen repeatedly for ninety minutes, the last thirty starts to drag.

In an homage to King Kong and Godzilla, the last act of the movie features a Tyrannosaurus running wild in a large city. I've heard numerous criticisms of this scene, but personally, I thought it was a breath of fresh-air for a movie that had started to grow stagnant by this point. I've never been a big fan of the Godzilla-style of having a huge monster demolish a city (nothing against it, just not my thing), but the way that it's handled here works out beautifully. You really can't help but get a smile on your face as you watch the chaos that ensues when a thirty-foot beast is running down Main Street, leaving a path of destruction and dead bodies behind it.

The only other problem that I had with this movie was the acting put forth by some of the cast. Jeff Goldblum is, well, Jeff Goldblum... you either love him or you hate him, but he definitely delivers in this movie. Pete Postlethwaite (the hunter) is also quite enjoyable in his role, and he manages to steal more than a couple of scenes with his lines. Those two are the highlights of the film, but the rest of the cast merely borders on average. Julianne Moore tries to fill the female scientist role that Laura Dern played in the first, and while it's obvious that she was trying to play the exact same type of character, she comes off as nothing more than a second-rate imitator. She has the acting ability, but in this particular role, she just didn't cut it. My main problem with the cast was Ian's daughter, played by Vanessa Lee Chester. I could ask why Spielberg chose to have a black actress play the daughter of a white guy, but I won't; it could happen, so although it was a bit odd, I'll leave it at that. My problem with her was that she served three functions throughout the film: product placement ("They don't even have a Sega" while she eats skittles and drinks Coke), annoying the main characters and the audience ("I want out of here now now now now now!"), and finishing off a Velociraptor near the end of the movie in one of the most unbelievable scenes to date. Look, if a big-game hunter armed with a high-powered gun can't take out a raptor and if a whole fleet of men are mauled to death by them, I find it hard to believe that a thirteen-year-old girl can put one down with nothing more than her feet.

The movie does have some problems, but in the end, it's still a pretty enjoyable film. It's not as good as the first, but then, how often does a sequel surpass the original? Not very often, and definitely not in this case. 7/10.
Ginose #1: Ginose - added August 8, 2007 at 11:36pm
I actually found this one siginificantally better than the first. I'm not a fan of the series as a whole, but this one was definately my favorite of the three. 8.1/10
Bliss From A Dead Embrace #2: Bliss From A Dead Embrace - added January 30, 2009 at 1:54am
great movie but it wasn't as good as the original.
Lucid Dreams #3: Lucid Dreams - added June 26, 2010 at 10:44am
It was good, but nowhere near as good as the first. Fuck you Ginose! 7/10
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