The Lost World, the first sequel to 1993's Jurassic Park is an exhausting, thinly scripted film, that depends entirely on it's action sequences and special effects. Now that I've got the critique out of the way, let me just say that I had a blast watching The Lost World, the rare sequel that improves on the original. The Lost World may be missing some of the majesty and inventiveness of it's predecessor, but The Lost World is more fun, and the dinos are just as thrilling the second time around.
4 unfortunate souls make the dangerous decision to go to Isla Sorna to observe and document the dinosaurs living on the island. Among those five are Ian Malcolm, who had been to the island before, and had been nearly killed as a result of the reptilian beasts. He's hesitant to return, but his mind is made up when he discovers his girl friend, Sarah, is already at the island. And the plot thickens further when it's discovered thatone of Ian's daughters, Kelly, manages to stow away to the treacherous place. And when the group discovers that a rival team of considerably more people have also shown up on the island (with more greedy plans in mind), it doesn't take long for the dinosaurs to show their faces.
It hardly matters why these individuals have decided to come back to Jurassic Park. The plot is thin, so we're hardly given reasons for why this ill-fated group are choosing to set foot on the island. The obvious lack of story and the forced nature of this sequel is bothersome initially. But once the ball gets rolling, it's nothing but sheer entertainment value.
Like the original, The Lost World has a painfully slow start. Obligatory appearances of cast members from the first film and some echoes of John Williams iconic score is all there is to entertain one during the first while. And an awful lot of talking. Seriously, for a film with so little plot, I'm not sure why so much time had to be spent in discussion.
At any rate, the fun starts much sooner in this film. The pace picks up a bit about 40 minutes in, but right around the 50 minute mark, The Lost World fires all cylinders and doesn't look bad. Utterly terrifying and remarkably suspenseful, I had a big silly grin on my face for a majority of the action.
Admittedly, The Lost World has a few gimmicks. For one, there are two Tyrannosaurs this time around. Twice the dinos means twice the fun, right? Well, not necessarily, but the added dinos were certainly welcome.
Don't like being scared? This film isn't for you. Don't like seeing people in horrifying peril? This film isn't for you. Do you insist on some emotional depth or intellectual stimulation when you watch an action flick? Then once again, this film probably isn't for you. But if you kick back and relax, and just turn off your brain, this is one wild ride.
Still, the run time is a bit excessive. The Lost World lasts 2 hours and 10 minutes, and I was left pretty exhausted after the first 100 minutes. So while the last half hour is perfectly thrilling, and still plenty of fun, it also felt a bit unnecessary, and a bit tacked on.
The characters, like the original, aren't particularly developed. After all, they're not the main attraction here. But for the most part, they're likeable when they need to be, and unlikeable when they need to be (though there are exceptions...).
The acting is unimpressive, but serviceable. The actors only need to use some big words to describe the equipment they're using, and be able to show obvious signs of terror. As a result, the actors easily fit into their roles, though I couldn't help but hope for more impressive performances considering the talented players here; Jeff Goldblum, Pete Postlethwaite, Vince Vaughn, etc. Richard Attenborough brings plenty of charm to his character though, reprising his role as John Hammond from the original. Still, his part he is extremely small.
The special effects has held up well. They look just as good as the ground breaking effects in the original (though they're not quite as innovative the second time around). With more dinosaurs this time around, and more complex action sequences, the special effects team likely had their hands full. It all looks great, though.
John William's score, while lacking the iconic nature and grand scale of the original, is still good enough. It's certainly by-the-numbers Williams (and his new theme is completely forgettable), but it still manages to capture the spirit of the film. And fragments of the original themes do find their way into the film, so listen for them.
This being my second visit to Jurassic Park, I knew what to expect. Lots of dinosaurs, moments of awe at the beginning, moments of terror everywhere after that, and stupid humans thinking they can control it all. I even made a few light-hearted attempts at guessing those who wouldn't live to see the end credits (I actually got most of my guesses right). But that may be the biggest issue for some; The Lost World doesn't do much to differentiate itself from the original. Still, considering how much fun the original was, that didn't bother me too much.