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The Lost World: Jurassic Park: Found!

A film review by Joe Parra

Rating: 3.5 out of 4

In 1992, the most successful box office film of all time opened to fantastic reviews.  Critics worldwide hailed Steven Spielberg's production of Michael Crichton's harrowing, yet exhilirating novel Jurassic Park as one of those rare films which is instantaneously labelled a classic.  When Universal Pictures announced that Spielberg was going to film a sequel, everyone smiled politely, saying that even Steven the Wunderkind couldn't possibly repeat his success.  Well, oddly enough, he has.  Not to say that this film is as enigmatic as the original film - or as charismatic, for that matter - but it doesn't try to be.  To say that the screenplay follows the novel almost verbatim is redundant, since, as anyone who has read the novel can tell you, the novel itself was to all intents and purposes a screenplay!

The film opens with Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), the mathematician from the first adventure, being asked by his old chum, John Hammond (Sir Richard Attenborough), the originator of "Jurassic Park", to go to Isla Sorna, a second island full of monsters.  It seems a vacationing family stumbled upon this "paradise" and was promptly attacked by some of the local fauna.  To entice Ian to put his life on the line again, Hammond has hired Ian's girlfriend (Julianne Moore) as a naturalist to study the beasties in an unhampered environment.  If fact, she's already there!  They no sooner reunite on the island (amid a herd of stegosaurs) when the island is "invaded" by a second party sent out by the irate stockholders of the defunct "Jurassic Park."  This group is led by Hammond's evil nephew (Arliss Howard) and a great white hunter (Pete Postlethwaite) right out of Hemingway or Melville, who's out to bag a buck T-Rex.  As can be expected, there is a rather nasty Tyrannosaurus Rex attack, the difference here being that it involves both parents and a youngster.  There are also some pesky meat-eating dinosaurs no bigger than a chihuahua that travel in packs...

As with Jurassic Park, to go into too much detail here on plot would spoil the movie.  Suffice it to say that Stan Winston and the effects crew at ILM and other sfx studios have outdone themselves - even surpassing the original, if you can imagine such a thing!  The film also pays homage to a great many dino-flicks of the past, especially the 1925 version of Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World, King Kong (1933), The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953), and, most of all, Gorgo (1961).  Performances are uniformly fine, with Postlethwaite's being a standout.  The one negative comment on this film concerns the plotline, which wears pretty thin at times.  Considering that the main reasons for viewing films like The Lost World: Jurassic Park are the monsters and special effects, this isn't a bad trade-off.  Steven Spielberg wisely knew where to concentrate his main efforts and has, of course, paved the way for the next sequel.

If you're like me, one of those people who always wished that dinosaurs could still exist today, don't miss this jewel.  Oh!  One last homage included in this film (and it's fleeting, so watch for it): Godzilla!!  Enjoy!!!

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