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The Lost World: Jurassic Park Movie Review

After the success of the first movie, Universal pushed Spielberg & Crichton to work on a second film and novel. So it must have been a success right? Well, it was to some extent.

Genre: Action / Adventure / Sci-Fi / Thriller

Director: Steven Spielberg

Cast: Jeff Goldblum, Julianne Moore, Vanessa Lee Chester, Pete Postlethwaite, Vince Vaughn, Arliss Howard, Peter Stormare, Richard Schiff, Joseph Mazzello, Ariana Richards & Richard Attenborough.

Run Time: 129 min.

US Release: 23 May 1997

UK Release: 18 July 1997

German Release: 07 August 1997

Welcome back to my string of reviews for the Jurassic Park films, today I am going to talk about the second movie in this franchise. Like I said in my previous JP post, I will be revisiting all of the three features before the launch of Jurassic World, which will be released on 11th June, here in Germany. Today so lets gets started!

The Lost World: Jurassic Park is the sequel to the highly successful Jurassic Park from 1993. The movie is directed by Steven Spielberg and very loosely based on Crichton’s second novel. It stars Jeff Goldblum, Julianne Moore, Arliss Howard, Pete Postlethwaite,Vince Vaughn and Peter Stormare. as well as Richard Schiff and Vanessa Lee Chester in smaller roles. Cameos are also made by Richard Attenborough, Ariana Richards and Joseph Mazzello as John Hammond, Lex Murphy and Tim Murphy respectively.


The film takes place four years after the events of Jurassic Park. John Hammond (Attenborough) has lost control over his company InGen, now run by his money-grabbing nephew Peter Ludlow (Arliss Howard). Looking for redemption, Hammond sees a chance to protect the dinosaurs, that living on a second island, from his company. He sends a team, led by Dr. Ian Malcolm (Goldblum) and his girlfriend Dr. Sarah Harding (Moore), to document the creatures and file a petition to preserve and protect the island from human interaction.

The flick is overall good but does not manage to capture the wonder and awe of the first one, no matter how much it tries to. Nevertheless, it does make for an entertaining movie to watch every now and then. Spielberg tried to steer the story into a different direction, not wanting to rehash the same plot elements of the first movie but instead wanted to give the audience a fresh take on the story. The screenplay, written by David Koepp, tells for the most part a good story, feeling like a natural extension of the first narrative. It drops the ball, however, during the final act. That whole last part, which takes place in San Diego, was handled very bad! The only amusing scene in that act, is when the Tyrannosaurus steps into a garden of a suburban house and wakes up a kid, who in turn wakes his parents.

Other than that, the San Diego part was filled with cheesy one liners, mostly delivered by Goldblum, and shots of people running away, screaming in panic. While we are on it, one of the biggest continuity errors of this movie is embedded during that final segment, as it doesn't explain how the T-Rex managed to get out of the cargo area on the ship, mawl the whole crew to death and then get back into the cargo area and successfully closr the gates behind it? That part made no sense what-so-ever!

One of the highlights of the Lost World, is once again Jeff Goldblum as Dr. Ian Malcolm. It is great to see him back in the sequel and even better, as the lead character. He was truly amazing in the first Jurassic Park and has great chemistry with his co-workers . Ian Malcolm is one of the most amusing personas in cinema history and he added so charisma much to this movie. The chemistry between him and Julianne Moore is great, they really had a connection there and Julianne Moore also does a great job as Dr. Sarah Harding. There have been changes made to Malcolm’s character, though which make no sense. With Dr Alan Grant missing, it seems as if the writers tried to blend his personality with that of Grant, yet Malcolm and Grant were opposing characters in the first picture.

While we are on the subject of Ian Malcolm, the inclusion of his daughter in the story is simply unnecessary. It is a nice nod to a comment he gives in Jurassic Park and it would have been fine if she'd had just that one scene at the beginning, but bringing her along to the island has no effect on the outcome of the narrative. Apart from that very over-the-top and unbelievable scene where she kicks the crap out of a raptor, she serves no real purpose.

Pete Postlethwaite is brilliant as InGen’s private hunter Roland Tembo. Vince Vaughn’s portrayal of Nick Van Owen is his best performance on screen to date. Also, as short as his screen time is, the scenes with Peter Stormare’s character are highly entertaining. Generally speaking, except for a few actors, nearly all cast members give a good performance!

Again, there is nothing negative to say about the cinematography of this film. Spielberg is a genius behind the camera and knows how to use it effectively! As in the first one, he makes use of practical effects and animatronics, as much as he was able to. It still amazes me how real the robotic dinosaur and puppets look. Compared to the first movie, however, there is a greater use of CGI in The Lost World. This is partially due to more additions of wide-shots of dinosaur herds and the final San Diego act. It still looks real, though, after all these years! It also contains effects that did not age well, such as the green screen scenes. An example of this, is the scene where the T-Rex shoves part of a camp van from a cliff and our heroes are hanging from a rope looking into the abyss.

John Williams musical score for this movie is once again marvellous. It does build upon his theme from the first one and, although, not as epic as the Jurassic Park score, it fits the new approach that Spielberg took. I adore the implementation of the old score, when Hammond comes on screen, or when Vaughn’s character finds the logo of the failed theme park.


Verdict: The Lost World: Jurassic Park is a nice sequel to the first movie but it does have its issues and shortcomings. Nonetheless, it is still a good film and even though it is disliked by most, it is not as bad as it's made out to be! It contains once again a grand performance by Jeff Goldblum, Julianne Moore also gives a good rendition of her character and the cinematography is fantastic, with the practical effects holding up beautifully. The Lost World: Jurassic Park is a fun and entertaining flick to watch and therefore obtains a 7.5 out of 10.

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