“The Lost World” is one of the very few movies I’ve seen more than once in theaters, and gladly it was a rich experience every time. “The Lost World” doesn’t hold up as well as the original film since the 1993 film ventured in to the realms of gene splicing, DNA research, and the philosophy of man vs. nature, and natural selection. When natural selection chooses to snuff out the most primal animals of nature, we stand no chance when they’ve been revived and refined with modern predators. “The Lost World” however is a much less sophisticated and much more raucous sequel.
While it does try to venture in to the man vs. nature themes, those are outweighed due to the fact that this sequel is essentially a thinly veiled B monster movie and little else. Sure, it’s an exciting and entertaining sequel that acts as a competent companion, but it isn’t as intelligent as its predecessor that strived for themes involving science and the god-like mentality that follows, while this is mainly about people running and hiding from dinosaurs. Writers Koepp and Crichton essentially rip the action scenes from the original film, divide them by two and put the themes evolution and science in the back burner. Whether that’s an advantage or a caveat ultimately relies on the audience, but if you can appreciate it for what it is, “The Lost World” is a fervent rollercoaster. Much like the B monster movies, there’s the archtypes such as reluctant hero, his love interest, the rambunctious child, the young hot head, and the portly machinist.
They all play their roles with exceptional prowess, especially where Jeff Goldblum is concerned, being transformed in to the main character from his supporting role as Dr. Malcolm in the original film. Miles away from Isla Nublar, the original sight for Jurassic Park there was an alternate island meant for testing and shipping of the dinosaurs: Isla Sorna. Where we lay our scene. Dr. Malcolm, now a laughing stock thanks to the denial of the corporation InGen to his claims of Jurassic Park, has been called by Hammond to scour and venture in to Isla Sorna, Sight B to the original park that served as a ground for breeding, and testing. After the disaster of the park, the attempts to destroy the population failed and now the population has flourished more than ever. Of course what is a mere expedition turns in to a fight for survival when a zealous hunter captures and injure an adolescent T-Rex in hopes of drawing out the parents to trap and kill them.
The plan works as now the parents are on the search for their child, and implore their wrath upon the mass of hunters and explorers in revenge, drawing them in to the wilderness where they’re prey for the likes of various carnivores including the massive legion of Velociraptors who have now made their human hosts a game for their own hunting party. The hunters have once again become the hunted. Now Malcolm must implement his own knowledge of the park to hopefully help him guide his fellow explorers off the island, one of whom is his daughter who stowed away on the expedition. For this outing Spielberg doesn’t so much strive for subtlety and iconic moments so much as he does for fitting as much action scenes as humanly possible. For folks who enjoyed the mounting terror of the water halos, and silhouettes of the raptors creeping from all corners, “The Lost World” instead just throws as much run and hide scenes as possible and this adds to the entertainment value, even if it doesn’t inspire too much foreboding terror.
The biggest issue I have with “The Lost World” (aside from the goofy gymnastics rescue) is that the final half with the T-Rex in San Diego feels extraneous and over the top. When the film should aspire for awe inducing, it instead tacks on this superfluous climax that is not only absurd, but injects a camp tone that is completely unnecessary and contradictory to the film and the premise as a whole. The entire portion of the T-Rex roaming the city and wreaking havoc is comical, and lacks in the terror we’re supposed to feel when he swallows a house dog, and terrorizing a small child attempting to sleep. “The Lost World” is surely a strong film with some rousing moments including the raptor hunt and RV hanging over the cliff, but as a sequel it’s merely a competent successor to the original film and nothing more. By no means a masterpiece, “The Lost World” suffers from a tacked on campy finale, and some cheesy moments, but is an otherwise exciting and entertaining follow-up to the 1993 original. With dazzling special effects and intense action sequences, it’s a fun ride, but not as nutritional as its predecessor strived to be.