The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997) (part 5 of 5)

Peter has the T-Rex fenced in some gigantic cage thing that seems specially designed to hold one. Where the hell did this thing come from? There’s no way they could have dragged the T-Rex all the way back to their camp. Did some of the hunters really hike all the way back to camp, get the cage, and bring it all the way back here? And if they did, how did they make it there and back on the same night?

Roland finally has his trophy, but we see he’s too saddened by Ajay’s death to savor it. Now we see the real reason Ajay was in the movie: so Spielberg could compromise. See, the kid half and the PC monster half of him are in total disagreement over what side Roland is on and how he should end up. Here, Ajay’s death allows him to give up hunting, so he can survive.

[Book Version: As you might have guessed, the book ends with the survivors leaving the island. There’s an epilogue with them on the ocean, and that’s it. However, it seems that the writers thought we needed some kind of throwback to monster movies of old to end with. That, and Peter hasn’t died yet. So here’s the ending we get instead.]

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Those of you already holding your heads in pain may want to stop here, because this is where the movie completely falls apart. Everyone heads back to San Diego, and Peter calls a press conference. An amazing number of reporters actually show up. (I wonder if he consulted his Public Relations staff about this?) Introducing the new Jurassic Park, he again shows himself to be an Evil Capitalist when he makes a point of saying this park will have 1/100th the cost of the original Jurassic Park.

Ian and Sarah arrive at the gates of InGen headquarters but can’t get through, with the guard even shutting the gate in their faces. Peter leaves the press conference when he’s informed the boat carrying the T-Rex has arrived early. He heads down to the dock, where he sees that the ship isn’t slowing down as it comes into port. Peter quickly gathers what’s happened and runs off, leaving everyone else to die horribly. (Yes, he’s evil. We get it already!)

Ian and Sarah, who have somehow made it onto the dock, start running away long before the idea of the ship hitting the dock penetrates the minds of any of the reporters around them. After the ship plows through the dock, Peter and a guard go aboard, where they see that the T-Rex has killed the crew and left their messy body parts lying around. Since this is a PG-13 movie, we only get one lousy rubber hand.

The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997) (part 5 of 5)

“Thing? What happened to your career, man?”

As they walk around the ship, we see that the door that the T-Rex presumably came through to murder these people is far too small for it, yet the door doesn’t appear damaged at all. The weirdness escalates tenfold when we find out the T-Rex is still in the cargo hold [!!!!!!!!]. He’s stuck in there because a dead guy’s hand is still holding down the button to keep the doors closed. So how did the T-Rex get itself locked back inside the cargo hold after somehow killing everyone on the ship? And if the T-Rex didn’t kill everybody, what did? You don’t often get a gaffe of this magnitude in a big-budget summer blockbuster.

As a cop struggles to remove the cargo door control from the dead hand, we can see even this is an obvious rubber hand, when it could have just as easily been someone sticking their arm out from behind a wall. He’s too late, however, and the T-Rex busts out. As Peter watches in shock, it walks right through a customs sign and heads into San Diego. Ian still feels the need to give Peter a talking-to after this.

Sarah chastises some of Peter’s guys because they gave the T-Rex something to counteract the tranks when it stopped breathing. Sarah says that it’s now in a “narcoleptic” state, then immediately says it’s a “locomotive”. How are the two connected? They ask Peter about the baby T-Rex, and he tells them it’s been flown straight to the park. Here, Peter seems genuinely repentant about the destruction his plan has wrought. However, don’t expect this to save him. He is an Evil Capitalist, after all. Ian and Sarah head off, planning to lure the T-Rex back to the docks with the baby. This seems to be their only priority; Nothing is ever said about all the people who might suffer and die along the way.

The T-Rex walks around a suburban neighborhood, not waking anyone up even when it smashes through a fence. As it drinks from a pool, some little kid watches through his bedroom window, then calmly walks down the hall to get his parents. The two argue that the kid has psychological problems, with the mother insisting his fish tank be removed for some reason.

Eventually, they spot the T-Rex, which is currently chowing down on their dog. The kid takes a picture, getting its attention, and it presumably eats the family too. This level of grotesquery is totally beyond forgiveness. The only reason I can think of for this scene’s existence is that Spielberg wanted to prove he hasn’t completely softened, and he can still do something like when he killed the dog and the little kid in Jaws. However, this scene could be completely removed with no effect on the story, and the fact that it remains simply drags the rest of the movie further down. It doesn’t even make sense logically: How many people still make their dogs sleep outside?

Getting back to Ian and Sarah, they arrive at the new Jurassic Park, where we see that the dinosaurs were apparently just going to be kept in cages. Isn’t it against the law for a zoo to be like this now? As they load the sedated baby into the car, Ian wonders if the T-Rex will recognize them from the island. Well, if it does, it’ll just be all the more eager to follow you, won’t it? Some guards try to stop them, but Ian tells them the only way he’ll be stopped is if they shoot him. Yeah, or shoot his tires out. Sarah wonders how they’ll find the T-Rex, and Ian tells her to “follow the screams”.

We cut to a huge crowd screaming and running from the T-Rex. For some reason, it bites a traffic light. Presumably, it thinks this is some kind of tree, but doesn’t it just eat meat? There’s a good amount of carnage, with cars driving over each other and a bus being broadsided and sent crashing into a Blockbuster. (Let me just point out one more time that Nick is directly responsible for all of this.)

One guy rather stupidly separates himself from the rest of the group, making the T-Rex single him out. He’s quickly chomped on, with the screams gradually fading out. Okay, that was kind of cool. (Looking at the end credits, it turns out this was a cameo by screenwriter David Koepp. Fitting punishment, I’d say.)

The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997) (part 5 of 5)

This is a group of people who definitely will not “go home happy”.

Ian and Sarah park in a gas station a few feet away from the T-Rex and try to get the baby to wake up so it can make some noise. Uh, isn’t the smell going to be enough? Apparently so, because the T-Rex suddenly makes them its number one prey.

After this rampage has been going on at least as long as it took Ian and Sarah to retrieve the baby, we finally get some cops on the scene. However, they take one look at the T-Rex and all drive away [!?!]. This is obviously supposed to get a laugh, but instead, my jaw just drops a little bit more.

Ian and Sarah then drive right through a warehouse as the baby suddenly wakes up. On their way to the boat, they head past Peter, who is giving his men the inconceivably evil order to kill the T-Rex. I say “inconceivable” because it’s not evil at all. Oddly, there’s no police presence on the docks, either, despite all the reporters that were around when the T-Rex escaped.

Peter notices Ian and Sarah running around on the ship, and demands in an incredibly whiny voice to know where they’ve put the baby T-Rex. (Geez, add hearing Arliss Howard whine to things I never need to experience again.) After Ian and Sarah jump ship, Peter finds the baby T-Rex in the cargo hold. He’s so preoccupied with catching it that he doesn’t notice the huge footsteps of the adult right behind him. He sees the adult T-Rex and inexplicably keeps repeating “Wait” as he tries to run past it. Finally, he gets his leg chomped after saying “wait” ten times in a row. Nope, seems like Kelly still holds the record for saying the same word repeatedly. Or not, because Peter brings his total up to sixteen while hobbling away. He finally goes down for good when the baby makes his first kill. Amazingly, Spielberg actually tries to make this seem cute rather than scary, with the adult dinosaur looking on proudly.

The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997) (part 5 of 5)

The Evil Capitalist gets eaten. Sure didn’t see that coming.

As the authorities finally show up, Ian closes the cargo hold doors as Sarah loads up the big trank gun. A cop aims his gun, but for some reason doesn’t shoot. Sarah gets her shot off instead, and we even get a gratuitous slow-mo of the dart being fired. She hits the T-Rex, and we zoom in on Ian watching this with his face dripping with sweat (Ew!).

The next day, Kelly watches a CNN report on the ship’s return to Isla Sorna. Apparently, everyone has pretty much agreed to just return the dinosaurs to the island. A large amount of warships and helicopters surround the boat, although I doubt how useful these will be if the T-Rex actually does escape again. The TV then replays an interview with John Hammond, who asks everyone to just leave the island alone. Yeah, I bet that’ll happen, especially with the zero protection it seems to have.

The final scene takes place on the island, with a bunch of dinosaurs of different species hanging out together despite their separate territories. We end on a shot of a Pteranodon, which we haven’t seen anywhere before. These things can fly, meaning they can leave the island at any time. Strangely, Jurassic Park III isn’t started by this. I guess we’re just not supposed to think about it.

Ryan Lohner

Ryan lives in Sparta, New Jersey, a quaint little burg without much for kids to do except go to the movies. Thus began a lifelong love affair, as even back then he grew to love examining why a film worked, or didn't. He is a member of the Sigma Tau Delta English Honor Society, and currently studying for a Master's Degree in Library and Information Science. His hobbies include running, piano, and annoying people with that damn lowercase forum user name.

Multi-Part Article: The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)

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