The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997) Review:

A good example of why not all films should get sequels.

The effects are good.
The effects are good.

Cast: Jeff Goldblum, Julianne Moore, Pete Postlethwaite, Richard Attenborough, Vince Vaughn, Arliss Howard, Vanessa Lee Chester, et al…

Director: Steven Spielberg

Runtime: 129 minutes

Plot (taken from IMDb): A research team is sent to the Jurassic Park Site B island to study the dinosaurs there while another team approaches with another agenda.

The Lost World: Jurassic Park plays out like a King Kong movie meets Jurassic Park, people go to an island to which has been lost, find dinosaurs only for things to go wrong when one comes home and starts wrecking up the place – it’s a story we’ve seen before, so does it offer enough on its own merits? Almost.

Set not long after the original film The Lost World sets Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), Nick Van Owen (Vince Vaughn), Eddie Carr (Richard Schiff) and Kelly Curtis (Vanessa Lee Chester) off on an adventure to the B park island (the unused island for the titular Jurassic Park) – where the dinosaurs have made a life for themselves.

That's one big footprint.
That’s one big footprint.

The characters are a wonderful bunch and they are possibly the highlight of the film, with Julianne Moore’s Sarah Harding standing above the rest with her commanding screen presence. Indeed, the acting (although cheesy) is fun to watch and each character feels unique. It’s not as fun as the original film however; Jeff Goldblum cannot carry a film such as this by himself.

Ian Malcolm has changed now though, he now acts as the caring adult, he cares about his daughter and Sarah Harding – no longer caring just about himself does however make his character a tad less interesting, the shift in dynamic does not quite make a good film and you never really quite feel his bond with his daughter as she just comes across as annoying. I’m not saying you want the character to get munched by dinosaurs, I just feel the best tension in the film comes from the adults – Kelly Curtis seems pointless to me – she does not add tension like the children in the first film.

Perhaps the perceived lack of tension in the film comes from the lack of originality, we’ve seen it all before, and it was handled better in the first film. We no longer sit in awe at the sight of CGI dinosaurs and we know deep down that people will survive. That doesn’t stop the best scene of the film – where T-Rex’s knock the crew bus over the edge of the cliff. This scene in particular showcases Spielberg’s raw talent with tension (a coup from his Jaws days).

The best scene in the film.
The best scene in the film.

The rest of the film is not as good, we are given an eco-friendly story about the preservation of animals in their ecosystem, and the antagonist feels very cookie-cutter. Indeed, cookie-cutter sums up the feel of this film, its messages never feel fully featured and its themes are dull – why do we need a film about dinosaurs to contain themes of family… it’s boring.

The film does hold onto its pace for its long length, so there’s no worries there, but it does feel like it should have been around 20 minutes shorter as the message of the film and themes do not hold the attention for over 2 hours.

The Lost World: Jurassic Park has an air of pointless sequel to it; it’s not as interesting, not as exciting and not as tense as a Jurassic Park film should be. And then it turns into a Godzilla movie. When the film goes to the United States, all of its steam is gone. I don’t care that a T-Rex is roaming the streets, not when I’ve already sat through over an hour and a half of a film; the film feels done by this point. Spielberg apparently wanted to make a Godzilla movie, so why didn’t he?

There are some nice effects throughout, both practical and CGI, again, particularly in the scene on the crew bus and the baby T-Rex. It’s a shame; there are moments of potential in the film, helped by a strong cast and some good direction.


The Lost World: Jurassic Park is actually alright, despite the length, lack of tension and dull themes. Spielberg still shows moments of his directorial prowess in a small handful of scenes, there are good special effects and the acting is mostly good (a great performance from Julianne Moore however). The film does run out of steam by the last part of the film, which just feels tacked on to me.

A sequel that never needed to be made, but is okay despite everything.



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