Friday 29 December 2017

Movie Review: The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)

A dinosaurs-on-the-loose monster movie, The Lost World: Jurassic Park offers good special effects and very little else.

Chaos theorist Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) is hired by John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) to observe and document dinosaurs in their natural habitat on the fictional Isla Nublar. Hammond created the dinosaurs on that island before moving them to the park that was the subject of the first movie. Malcolm travels with photographer Nick (Vince Vaughn) and field equipment manager Eddie (Richard Schiff) and on the island they team up with Malcolm's girlfriend behavioral paleontologist Dr. Sarah Harding (Julianne Moore).

At the same time, Hammond's nephew Peter Ludlow (Arliss Howard) is taking over the business and sends his own large and heavily equipped group, including big game hunter Roland Tembo (Pete Postlethwaite) to capture some of the dinosaurs and restart the business of commercializing the animals. The two teams initially clash but eventually have to team up to survive as the dinosaurs resent the multiple intrusions on their territory.

The first sequel to 1993's Jurassic Park, The Lost World is again directed by Steven Spielberg and serves mainly to showcase the advances in technology over the four years. Good as the creatures were in the original, they are much better here, with more fluid movements and more detailed textures.

And that's as far as any enjoyment goes in The Lost World. Beyond ogling the dinosaurs, this is a fundamentally deficient film where the characters are of the immediately forgettable plastic variety, the plot, dialogue, events and set-pieces are contrived, familiar and far from scary, the action and violence is mainly bloodless, and everyone acts as stupidly as possible at every decision point in order to unleash and prolong the rampage.

The David Koepp screenplay, adapting Michael Crichton's follow-up book, does not even appear to try and create anything intelligent. The action rushes to humans idiotically unlocking the cages of pissed-off dinosaurs as quickly as possible, and then compounding the lunacy by smuggling a baby dino away from its parents and into a trailer. Then the supposedly intelligent protagonists stand around and wonder why the dinosaurs are sort of upset and wrecking the place.

And just to emphasize the prevailing asininity, how about the heavily armed guard whose job it is to protect others, except that he is always wearing headphones to enjoy his music and drown out, you know, all cries for help or the sounds of approaching prehistoric predators.

The Lost World: Jurassic Park looks gorgeous, but is otherwise a vacuous piece of cretin-dominated silliness.

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