On Second Thought: “The Lost World: Jurassic Park”

When there’s a successful adaptation of a successful book, there’s only one logical thing to do. Make a sequel! While most sequels are inferior in some way, every now and then you may find yourself one that actually does a decent job of furthering the story and thus the franchise along. However, it’s usually only after it opens that you regret continuing the series.

The Universal Pictures film “The Lost World: Jurassic Park”, continues the story of genetically engineered dinosaurs, but stumbles here and there along the way.

This adventure film stars Jeff Goldblum (“Portlandia”, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”), Julianne Moore (upcoming films “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2”, “Freeheld”), Pete Postlethwaite (“In the Name of the Father”, “The Town”), Arliss Howard (upcoming “Concussion”, “True Blood”), Richard Attenborough (“Miracle on 34th Street (1994)”, “The Flight of the Phoenix (1965)”), Vince Vaughn (upcoming season “True Detective”, “Unfinished Business”), Vanessa Lee Chester (“Scorpion”, “How I Met Your Mother”), Peter Stormare (“Strange Magic”, “Dark Summer”), Harvey Jason (“Street Corner Justice”, “Seinfeld”), Richard Schiff (upcoming seasons “The Affair”, “Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp”), Timothy F. Duffy (“Supremacy”, “Louie”), Joseph Mazzello (“G.I. Joe: Retaliation”, “Justified”), and Ariana Richards (“Broken Silence: A Moment of Truth Movie”, “The Princess Stallion”).

The film was directed by Steven Spielberg (“War Horse”, “The Adventures of Tintin”) and written by David Koepp (“The Little Engine That Could”, “Angels & Demons”). It is based on the novel “The Lost World” by Michael Crichton.

The originally hit theaters on May 23, 1997. It would go on to be nominated for an Academy Award, six Saturn Awards, and three Razzie Awards.

Continuing on in this week of dinosaurs, all leading up to the release of “Jurassic World”, we find ourselves face to face with the sequel that’s fun yet not, all at once. I personally have no problems with this, except for the same one I did with the original film when I watched it again. There’s little to catch me off guard and surprise me or even thrill me. Fortunately, as I’ve discovered again, this story is far more coherent and straightforward than the one that makes up the second book. I’m sadly still reading it so I can’t say much on it, but luckily it’s a reread so I remember a little.

But with regards to this particular film, you’ve got an okay sequel. It at times lags in a few places, but that’s because everyone was trying to slowly roll out the excitement and thrills. Depending on who you ask, this may be considered a success or a failure. You’ve also got the fact that this film is really an adventure film. It’s a fun adventure film, but it can’t live up to the first time experience we each had when seeing this film. If you haven’t seen it, shame on you, I’m now judging you. I saw this film in theaters when I was little, so it wasn’t difficult (I imagine) to thrill and maybe make me jump. Now, as just about 20 years has gone by, well it’s just not thrilling, or, dare I say, anything. It’s merely an adventure film with wild animals that were genetically engineered.

Like the original film, this film is populated with many characters. Some only get cameos, others, you’re stuck with for the long haul. This isn’t a bad thing, but it’s not entirely good. There’s a lot of likable characters, a few you can dislike, and the others are just there. Also like with the original, there’s not much given about them to make them go beyond likable. I guess a few could be your favorite by the time the film ends, but that’s not much of an increase. At least with Moore’s character, you got a lot of opportunities to see how she’s actually pretty smart, whereas Dern’s character in “Jurassic Park”, only had a handful of moments.

The score, also by the amazing John Williams (“Lincoln”, “War Horse”), is once again a triumph! This time he mixed things up a bit. As this is a film that takes place on an island, even though the original did too, this score reflects it more. As I’m sitting here typing this, I’m listening to the track titled “The Trek”, and it’s filled with what sounds like different drums and maybe some bongos. As you listen to different parts of the score in the film itself, or the soundtrack alone, which is also an experience, you can pick up on these new instruments and the different way that Williams composed the score. As with any film, the score needs to be different. Here it is. It’s what makes this one more an adventure than before, but also allows familiar themes to come into play too.

The special effects and all things relating to the dinosaurs were once again fantastic! I think that about sums it up. Once again, courtesy of Industrial Light and Magic and Stan Winston Studios, the dinosaurs were able to come alive. So much detail went into each one, as well as their respective sounds, that when they’re on screen it’s hard to look away. Granted I’m also looking at the detail and trying my best to see how they look when interacting with the real life people and jungle environment. All in all, the scenes all work. The T-rex is ferocious and the raptors are all terrifying. They still are the biggest draw for me.

I hate this scene! Well, it was actually only a partial scene, but I hate it still!! Out of all of the things that could be seen as wrong (San Diego sequence), this one pisses me off the most! He has to pee (I think) or something, use “the little girls room”, as he so wonderfully put it, but somehow winds up wandering all around the woods and gets lost. To relieve himself? Really? Is he that dumb? Clearly, but still. There were tons of trees around him, some pretty big, I’m sure he could’ve gone behind one of them. Now I know you could say he was doing it to be polite, or whatever, but I don’t buy it. Then, of course, there’s the fact that somehow he manages to get himself eaten too, but whatever. It’s just a scene that I can’t believe made it into the movie. Were raptors too good to eat him or what?

Even though some may consider this a bad film, when solely compared to the original, I am not one of them. Considering what the source material looked like before hand, this film could’ve been much worse. It’s by far more interesting. This film too, I noticed, used a few things (okay, maybe just one) from the original book. When the T-rex chases them behind the waterfall and tries to get them, that was originally happening to book versions of Lex and Tim. This film also proves that there are such things as good adaptations of books. Or, more accurately, improves upon the book. If you don’t believe me, pick up a copy at you’re local thrift store.

As an added bonus, just because it came out today, the Honest Trailer for this film. It’s quite hysterical. I was truly surprised I didn’t hate it when I watched it. Come to think of it, I didn’t hate the Cinema Sins “Everything Wrong with The Lost World: Jurassic Park” video either.

The explosion filled trailer (wow, there doesn’t seem to be much of story, does there?):


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