Thursday, July 02, 2015

Movie Review - The Lost World: Jurassic Park

The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)
Starring Jeff Goldblum, Julianne Moore, Vince Vaughn, Pete Postlethwaite, Richard Schiff, Arliss Howard, Vanessa Lee Chester, Peter Stormare, and Richard Attenborough
Directed by Steven Spielberg

How can the same director and half of the screenwriting team of one of the best "popcorn" blockbuster movies of all time fail so miserably the second go-around as we venture back to the islands off the coast of Costa Rica again in The Lost World: Jurassic Park?  Quite frankly, there's hardly anything to recommend in this second segment of the Jurassic Park Quadrilogy.  Instead we get rehashed scenes, duplicated themes, and special effects that can't hold a candle to its predecessor. I didn't remember The Lost World being as bad as this when I watched it decades ago...but this is really awful stuff.

Since I created a list in my Jurassic Park review, let's continue that trend here as we discuss the many detriments of The Lost World:
  • Let's just begin with the obvious "gymnastics" foreshadowing at the beginning of the film that then wreaks havoc during a pivotal scene in the movie's climax.  Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), the only returning character to hold a pivotal role in this sequel, has a daughter Kelly (Vanessa Lee Chester) whom we discover at the beginning has been let go of her gymnastics team for not being good enough apparently.  When she stows away and arrives on the island with her father, we're well aware that her "lack" of gymnastics skills is going to come into play at some point.  For the whole film, Kelly is a character that is given next to nothing to do, hardly ever being put in peril.  However, at an integral point in the film's climax, Kelly, her father, and fellow scientist and current love interest of Ian, Sarah Harding (Julianne Moore), are trapped in some type of facility with a bunch of beams and high walkways.  Of course, Kelly's gymnastics will come into play here as she jumps around the facility like some acrobatic mini Flying Wallenda brother.  Utterly preposterous and painful to watch.
  • Similar to the first film, our main characters are placed into peril while in a vehicle, but this time, it's just ludicrous.  As Ian, Sarah, and videographer Nick (Vince Vaughn) fall over the edge of a cliff in a trailer, scenes of shattering glass and falling debris aren't perilous, but rather ridiculous.  This purportedly tense moment wreaks of unbelievability and the resolution to this scene is nonsensically laughable.
  • What the heck is up with the subplot of what are essentially poachers (played by Pete Postlethwaite and Arliss Howard amongst other) coming to the island?  All these characters are is quite literally dead weight as we await for a T-Rex to chomp them to bits.  They play no part other than Stereotypical "Bad Guy" which the first film didn't need at all in order to succeed.
  • The special effects here look so much worse than the original.  How they downgraded to dinosaurs that look less realistic than the original is unfathomable to me.  The use of less puppetry and more computer-driven graphics doesn't do the film any favors and the overall result is a huge letdown from the original's stellar effects.
It certainly doesn't help matters that the finale with a T-Rex wreaking havoc on San Francisco is so excessively irrational that The Lost World ends on a horrible note, but that would've really made no difference anyway.  Obviously, my affinity for Jurassic Park taints my opinion of The Lost World: Jurassic Park, but it's not even that the sequel is inferior, it's just that it attempts to carbon copy the original at every turn and fails miserably.  

The RyMickey Rating:  D

Join in tomorrow as we explore more of the Jurassic Park Quadrilogy:
Tomorrow: Jurassic Park III
Saturday:  Jurassic World
Previously:  Jurassic Park

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