- Directed by Steven Spielberg
- May 19, 1997 (LA) / May 23, 1997 (US)
Hammond sends a team led by Dr. Malcolm to Isla Sorna, InGen’s Site B for producing dinosaurs, to study the surviving creatures in the wild but encounter an InGen team intent on bring a selection of dinosaurs back to civilization for a scaled down Jurassic Park.
Dr. Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) takes center stage this time around. And since the two cute kids from the last film grew up and aren’t nearly as cute as they once were, Dr. Malcolm gets a precocious young daughter named Kelly (Vanessa Lee Chester). That is really her purpose. She is rather dismissive of her father and does as she pleases which he encourages but is upset by. Huh?
Julianne Moore plays Jeff Goldblum’s casual girlfriend (I think that’s how it’s supposed to be set up) Sarah who treats him no better than his daughter does. Forget the psychological implications of dating someone that is a lot like your daughter.
Rounding out the important good guys is Vince Vaughn as experienced documentarian, photojournalist and environmentalist Nick Van Owen and Richard Schiff as field equipment expert Eddie Carr who join Malcolm on his fun jaunt.
The Lost World: Jurassic Park is the basic formula we got last time around. Dinosaurs chasing and killing people. Dr. Malcolm even makes a few jokes about it in a meta kind of way. This time though, and this is where the movie really works for me, is that we get a Tyrannosaur rampaging through the modern world.
The twist in the story is that because of disclosure agreements no one has talked about what happened on the island other than Dr. Malcolm who has been speaking about it against his disclosure agreement which makes him look like a fool.
This time around John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) is much more of a good guy rather than an individual driven to create a legacy which causes problems. His goal is to protect the dinosaurs on Site B which was previously unmentioned and appeared to not even be necessary, but if it wasn’t for this Site B we would not have any more Jurassic Park movies. Site B falls into the same category as the unmentioned relative that creative minds pull to refresh shows and films. Sometimes it works and at others, such as Sybok or Burnham, it falls flat. Here this island “relative” mostly works.
The dinosaur action is pretty good and that is why you watch these movies. You want to see cool looking dinosaurs and by the second movie you want to see good looking dinosaurs terrorizing and killing the hell out of people and we got plenty of that.
The CGI is pretty good still. The only scene that really fails for me at this point is the one that impressed me the most when I originally saw this and that was when the herd of stegosaurs encountered in the forest. That was just such a wild moment for me and that has not aged that well. In fact all the stegosaurus CGI hasn’t aged well for some reason but the rest of the work has.
One of the better moments in The Lost World: Jurassic Park, and you know something messed up is coming, is when the boat with the Tyrannosaur is about to dock. It seems normal at first, but they quickly established something is not quite right and you know that it got out and it probably snacked on everybody in that boat. But when they finally confirm that it’s like a holy crap moment!
And that scene in the high grass is another good one. There is a little bit of information dropped early on and when they encounter it if you’ve been paying attention you go oh this is not going to end well and then the one guy starts screaming about it and people start dropping left and right.
I would’ve liked to have gotten the entirety of the old gang back together just for this movie. I’m not sure why just Jeff Goldblum returned and we didn’t get Laura Dern or Sam Neill. As is often the case they may have just turned it down because he didn’t want to do a sequel. A lot of actors are once and done with their work and sequels are not high on their list of things to do.
One strong element that the first had that this doesn’t is that Hammond learned his lesson by the end of the movie. He understood how he was wrong in all of it. All the people who are in the wrong in The Lost World do not learn their lesson. They just die for example like Hammond’s nephew Peter Ludlow (Arliss Howard). And that’s a weakness. He was just a greedy jerk. He wasn’t a nefarious evil doer necessarily trying to do evil. He was just cold and focused on the bottom line. Flawed but not necessarily deserving of the comeuppance of being crunched on.
The story isn’t bad and the highlight is most definitely the chase the Tyrannosaurus zipping around San Diego. I think if it wasn’t for that moment and the story stayed on the island again this movie would’ve been utterly forgettable. It would’ve been a good-looking sequel and probably have done well but there wouldn’t be any more films in that same universe.
The Lost World: Jurassic Park is a decent follow-up. It’s not as good as the original but that would be a tough act to follow. It’s entertaining enough and you will revisit it again. I say give a look!