Lost World: Jurassic Park
Sequels have been a tradition for popular movies since film started. Few have come up to the level of the original film and fewer still have ever exceeded it. With the sequel to Jurassic Park, The Lost World tries hard but falls a bit short. Based on the Michael Crichton sequel novel, the story is solid but a bit lacking. Taking place a number of years after the original Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) is in disrepute professionally and personally after trying to go public with what occurred on the island park. After a young girl is attacked on an island near Jurassic Park, Malcolm is summoned to meet once again with John Hammond (Sir Richard Attenborough) to join an expedition to the second island which was set up to actually produce the dinosaurs. When Malcolm finds out his girl friend Dr. Sarah Harding (Julianne Moore) is already there he accepts and his small team finds an island full of dinosaurs. To add to the story there is the evil corporate nephew of Hammond that has taken over the company and plans to exploit the dinosaurs by bringing them back to a theme park in the States. The film is part action/adventure, part little man versus big corporations and part father-daughter bonding film. The problem is there are too many genres here for any one to be the best it could be.
Once again Spielberg gathers the best possible cast for the film. The acting is for the most part extremely good. Goldblum as the reluctant action here is a way of approaching the character than the obnoxious way Malcolm came off in the first movie. Goldblum shows more of the acting range he is capable of here since he can cross the numerous genres. Moore as the intrepid Sarah Harding is excellent. She tempers her drive with compassion as few actresses can considering the flaws in the script. There are just too many main characters here to give each actor a change to develop them. The first movie that focused on two small groups was much better laid out.
Once again Steven Spielberg shows what a genius he is. Obviously pressured by the studios to create another big hit, Spielberg does the best with what he had to work with. This film was done between Schindlers List and Amistad and was apparently squeezed in just before Amistad in 1997. Spielberg has stated in interviews that he gets more personally out of his new focus of meaningful, deeper films and it shows in his recent works. Still, he grew up as many of us had, watching the classic Sci-Fi monster movies of the fifties and Lost World serves as homage to such cult classics. There is even a scene where Japanese tourists are running from the T-Rex that is destroying Southern California. Its all in the details for Spielberg and on this level Lost World does work and works very well. The special effects were groundbreaking and carry the film.
The DVD could, quite frankly, have been better. The film is available is two audio formats, Dolby 5.1 and DTS. The DTS was a bit light in the rear channel separation. There was less backfill to the rear than normal for DTS. In both versions the lower end frequencies was also a bit lacking. While the special effects booms through the sub woofer, the normal lows in the musical score doesnt go as low as it should, giving a somewhat empty feel. The anamorphic video is mostly of excellent quality although there are some sections that are not as clear as normal for the media. Still, with all the downsides on the disc and story this is still a film to get. It reminds me of those old Saturday night Sci-Fi monster classics and provides the thrills and special effects you want.