Oct 9, 2020
Recap Supplement: The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)
[Webmaster’s note: Special thanks go out to Joshua Hutcheson for helping to proofread and edit this recap!]
Before reading any further, I strongly recommend you read the recap of the movie, which can be found right here.
The Lost World: Jurassic Park was the first film I saw in the summer of 1997, opening weekend, and it was also the worst one I saw that summer. And bear in mind, this is coming from a man who paid to see Con Air. Twice. Our own Ryan Lohner has already gone into the meat of the film’s problems, so I’ve take it upon myself to pick at the little bits left on the skeleton by way of the special edition DVD that came out in 2000.
Incidentally, I highly recommend you pick up the disc for the first film, it’s a pretty solid special edition, as one tends to find with deluxe versions of Spielberg films. You can also pick up the box set that has all three films, assuming, of course, you don’t mind owning the sequels.
The special edition for the second movie? Well, on the plus side, it does have a nice 53-minute documentary on the making of the film, as well as some deleted scenes. Outside of that, it’s a ton of photo galleries, storyboards, design models, conceptual drawings; basically, the entire bulk of the pre-production brainstorming is on display here.
Probably the only gallery really worth my time, at least, is the one for the posters. I’m a bit of an advertising junkie, and anytime a DVD decides to include a gallery of rejected poster concepts, I’m a happy guy. Needless to say, this section got more attention from me than the actual movie.
Since we really only have two sections to go into, I might as well shamelessly pad things out by adding my take on the movie. To begin, I’d like to direct your attention to the third movie, which, to be fair, is much better than this one. It’s about thirty minutes shorter, the preachy tone is diluted, and generally speaking, the characters are a hell of a lot more likable.
That being said, when a fairly cheesy B-movie sequel is eons better than the huge spectacle tentpole that preceded it, I don’t know whether that’s more of a compliment to the third movie, or an insult to the second.
As I said earlier, I saw this in the theater, and while I didn’t quite hate it, it underwhelmed the crap out of me. The only parts of the film I can actually say I kind of like are the two Tyrannosaurus rampages in the middle of the movie, and the beast running wild in San Diego.
Even then, my enjoyment is negated by the lousy characters, and when a guy like me (who can find enjoyment in pretty much anything) isn’t able to glean any satisfaction from a giant monster wreaking havoc, something has gone seriously wrong with your movie. This is one of those films that works just fine when the special effects are in control and nobody is talking. But when they do talk… Jesus.
Since there’s no commentary track, as is the case with all of Spielberg’s films, I’ll provide some random observations.