The Lost World: Jurassic Park


PreCommentary: This sequel to Jurassic Park was advertised with the boominginsistence that “Something Has Survived,” a billingprobably drummed up when the assumption was that those vials droppedin the mud in the 1993 film would spawn more dinosaurs. Otherwise,it doesn’t really apply. Also, Jurassic Park is not the “lostworld,” and Crichton never acknowledges Doyle, so aspectsof the big conception here are sloppy and irresponsible.

Notes: UniversalPictures presents an Amblin Entertainment Production. 129 min.
Ian Malcolm: Jeff Goldblum
Sarah Harding: Julianne Moore
John Hammond: Richard Attenborough
Pete Postlethwaite, Arliss Howard, Vince Vaughn,Vanessa Lee Chester

Director: Steven Spielberg
Screenplay: David Koepp
Special Effects: Stan Winston

Summary: On an Isla Sorna beach a wealthy family picnics. Mom’s concernfor the girl who wanders off emerges as “What about snakes?” Bratso sees a very small dinosaur: “What are you? A littlebird or something?” She is soon surrounded and screams. Parents run to her and Mom screams.

Cut from Mom’s mouth to Ian Malcolm yawning(having to look at Goldblum is the true horror) and waiting forthe subway. He ignores a passenger who knows him from tv andarrives at John Hammond’s mansion. After a brief reunion withthe brats from Jurassic Park, he has a run-in with Hammond’snephew Ludlow who now runs the InGen corporation. Hammond explainsthat the dinosaurs to have been exhibited at Jurassic Park wereactually bred on nearby Isla Sorna and these have fluorished inthe last four years despite a genetically engineered vitamin deficiency. An observation team must document these dinos to justify preservationbefore InGen tries to exploit them to avoid bankruptcy. “It’sonly a matter of time before this lost world is found and pillaged.” The inclusion of girlfriend and paleontologist Sarah Harding forcesMalcolm to go. After an encounter with his daughter, he joinsphotographer Nick Van Owen and technician Eddie Carr to land onthe island the locals call “Five Deaths.”

Although her backpack is found rather ragged,Sarah is fine studying stegasaurs. The other men are awestruck,but Malcolm sneers, “Oo ah, that’s how it starts, but laterthere’s running and screaming.” He asks them, “Whatdid you think you were going to see?” Nick: “Big iguanas.” Sarah pets a young stegasaur and starts a stampede, but her goalshe explains is to change the perception of dinosaurs as “viciouslizards” to that of “nurturing parents.” Malcolm’sdaughter has stowed away and is revealed trashing the trailer,ostensibly trying to make dinner. Malcolm wants everyone to leave.

InGen invades ahead of schedule, capturingdinosaurs and led by Roland, whose goal is to bag a male T-rexfor himself. Nick announces that he is Hammond’s back-up planand turns out to be a member of EarthFirst, sabotaging InGen andtheir San Diego Zoo plan by releasing the captured dinosaurs whichthen wreak havoc on the camp. Nick brings a young tyrannosaurwith a broken leg to the trailer and Sarah sets the leg. Eddie,Malcolm, and his daughter ride a contraption into the trees, butMalcolm runs back. The parent tyrannosaurs come looking for theyoung one, and peer into the trailer. Sarah returns the youngone, and the three leave, but the parents come back and nearlyknock the trailer off a cliff. From his car, Eddie tries pullingit back, but the tyrannosaurs eat him. The trailer falls andcrashes below, but the three remain hanging from a rope and climbup, met by the InGen team.

They decide to trek to the communications centeron the island’s interior. One slimeball off the path is devouredby small dinosaurs. At night, a T-rex visits the camp, smellingthe young one’s blood on Sarah’s jacket. The camp panics andpeople are killed, one stuck to the bottom of the T-rex’s foot. One InGen paleontologist panics when a snake goes down his shirtand runs out of the cave and into the T-rex’s mouth.

Other men are slaughtered by velociraptorsin the tall grass but Nick radios for help. These dinos harassMalcolm, Sarah, and the kid, until one raptor is kicked by thekid’s gymnastic display. While two velociraptors turn on oneanother, the four humans board a helicopter and see below thatInGen has captured a T-rex.

In San Diego, a ship plows into the harbor. The entire crew is dead, and the T-rex bursts out of the cargohold. Its infant is in another InGen facility and Malcolm andSarah race to retrieve it. Meanwhile the T-rex wanders into suburbia,drinks from a pool, scares a family who all deserve to die, buteats just their dog. Soon the city panics and even groups ofJapanese are seen running in the streets amid car wrecks and otherchaos. The dinosaur chases Malcolm and Sarah who have the youngdinosaur in their car towards the docks. Ludlow follows also,to retrieve the infant. When the two jump into the water on theother side of the ship, Ludlow returns to find the infant in thecargo hold. The parent T-rex arrives, traps Ludlow, and giveshim to the infant to learn how to kill its own food.

Sarah shoots a narcotic and the dinosaurs arecaptured in the cargo hold to be shipped back to the island. In the last scene, Malcolm and Sarah are asleep while Malcolm’sdaughter watches CNN with John Hammond saying, “These creaturesrequire our absence, not our help. Step aside; life will finda way.” We see final shots of the island and pterodons.

Commentary: With short-attention-span chapters, Crichton had already designedhis book to read like a screenplay, but Hollywood put it throughmore meat-grinding so although this film is visually effective,the excess baggage being trimmed to slightly over two hours makesit seem choppy and muddled. My adrenaline is growing immunedto manipulation.

Finally a movie has the sense to bring backthe right kind of dinosaur to civilation (unlike the 1925 LostWorld). But San Diego? No landmarks are defiled and there’svery little investment in these scenes. It’s supposed to be alaugh that the T-rex ate the dog and that the chain and doghouseare hanging from its teeth, but the brat if not this entire SanDiego family should have died. Spielberg needs to kill kids. Lord knows, they always deserve it; they’re always obnoxious.