The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)


Wait, what? There was *another* island with dinosaurs on it?! Shit!

Seen before? Just the once, at the cinema in 1997.

Best performance: One of my favourite actors, Richard Schiff, plays laconic team member Eddie Carr. He’s beardless in this, unlike everything else I’ve seen him in. (By the way, who in their right mind thinks Vince Vaughn being in a film is a good idea?)

Best scene/moment/sequence: Like the first movie, it’s the T-Rex attack that impresses the most. Here, it’s while the characters are hiding in their multi-unit techno-trailer, which ends up dangling off the edge of a cliff.

Review: A big disappointment. Did Spielberg think he had to get to the dinos as quickly as possible? That would explain the film’s fumbled and rushed opening. The plot is based on inelegant ret-conning of the first movie, contrivances and perfunctory set-up. Characters almost turn to the camera and whisper, “Don’t ask. Just go with it.” Early on, we also get camoes from Jurassic Park characters John Hammond (there solely to give us exposition) and his grandkids (totally pointless). There are, it must be said, flashes of Spielberg brilliance throughout – some deaths are inventively staged, for example, while dinosaurs stalking their prey in the long grass is a great image. Watching this, I had what I thought was a revolutionary idea. I realised it’s basically a remake of King Kong: loosely the same story, the same structure, and a very similar final act in a US city. There’s even a character intent on filming the creature/s in situ. Did Spielberg actually want to make his version of Kong, but couldn’t get the rights so did this instead? (Peter Jackson was in pre-production on an aborted attempt in 1996/97.) Of course, one Google later, and I see that every single person ever has already spotted these similarities. But that final half-hour in San Diego did make me wish the whole film had been like that – it’s playful, tongue-in-cheek and bonkers, and much more fun than the tepid, lifeless retread of the first movie we get for 90 minutes.

Six shoehorned-in lines of dialogue about the little girl being a gymnast in order to set up a scene later on when she uses her parallel-bar skills to kick a dinosaur’s arse… out of 10.

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