The Lost World (1997)

THE LOST WORLD made me sweat, which may be the highest compliment
that I can pay to what's really just a jokey, at-times-intention-
ally hokey monster movie.  For better or worse, the Master (again
along with writer David Koepp, loosely adapting from Michael
Crichton's best-selling screenplay, er, novel) has simply cut and
pasted the same scare-tactics from the first film:  thud scream
chomp run repeat.  Only, this time, there's more.  More mechan-
ical dinos.  More high-tech toys to smash.  More humans getting
gobbled, from the four-person research team sent to Site B (a
*second* island, where the creatures have been running amok for 
four years) to the band of big-game hunters, who are also on hand.  
Same-o same-o, really, but with a handful of changes and one up-
roarious final sequence, set on the streets of... well, now, that 
would be telling!

The most noticeable change in Steven Spielberg's sequel is that 
it's darker than the original, both literally (photography) and 
figuratively (tone).  There's more death, though most of the munch-
ing occurs off-screen.  (What you *do* see, you won't forget.  Such 
as, heh, two Tyrannosaurii playing "wishbone.")  And there's more 
humor.  Jeff Goldblum, still wearing black leather in the tropics, 
gets off a good number of sarcastic quips and exasperated asides.  
("She can't not touch," he exclaims when his paleontologist girl-
friend pets a baby stegosaurus.)  The other human actors (Julian 
Moore as said girlfriend, Pete Postlethwaite as the Great White 
Hunter, etc.) are less funny and largely less interesting.  Those 
stars with the *least* personality, however, are the dinos.  Rex
Galore exhibits nothing in the way of wit, intelligence, or good 
manners, and, frankly, if they didn't keep killing people and 
smashing stuff, this would be one boring amusing ride.  Which it 
isn't, unless you're expecting something other than a give-them-
what-they-say-they-want sequel.

My dinosaur bones of contention are few and far between.  The over-
lighting at the beginning is a bit distracting.  As are most of 
Spielberg's trademark reaction shots.  (I would submit that *any* 
shot that gets in-between the good stuff and more good stuff is 
counter-productive to a creature-feature's best intentions.)  So, 
no, the sequel to the highest grossing film of all time isn't 
exactly the leanest thing on either two or four legs.  Nor is it 
entirely mean.  Despite the darker, harder edge--  for a pleasant 
change, a Disaster Movie Dog *doesn't* make it out alive-- THE LOST 
WORLD is very much a corporate-sponsored family film.  And while it 
does push the "PG-13" rating to new limits, this WORLD is still 
*way* too nice.  No mass death.  No chunks of gore.  No ordnance-
induced animal control.  By, hey, it may make you sweat!  (Rated 
"PG-13"/133 min.)

Grade: A-

Copyright 1997 Michael J. Legeros
Movie Hell is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros

Originally posted to triangle.movies in MOVIE HELL: Rex Galore

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