Sunday, April 12, 2015

Movie Review: "The Lost World: Jurassic Park" (1997)

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Movie"The Lost World: Jurassic Park"
Director: Steven Spielberg
Year: 1993
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 2 hours, 7 minutes

It has been four years since the incident at Jurassic Park on Ilsa Nublar. Dr. John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) has neen removed as the head of his company InGen and was replaced as CEO by his nephew Peter Ludlow (Arliss Howard). A now bed-ridden Hammond has summoned Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) to head a research mission to Ilsa Sorna, or "Site B," the location where the dinosaurs for Jurassic Park were bred and raised before being transferred to Ilsa Nublar. These dinosaurs were left to live wild on the island and most assumed they would die naturally due to being bred with a lysine deficiency, but somehow, they have thrived and Hammond wants to know why. Ian refuses at first, until he learns one of the scientists on the mission is his girlfriend Sarah Harding (Julianne Moore), who is already on the island doing research. He reluctantly agrees to lead the team to bring Sarah home, but shortly after arriving, he is shocked to find out InGen and new CEO Peter Ludlow have other plans for the dinosaurs of Site B, and it doesn't involve research.

It seems like whenever a movie is successful, especially when it is such a groundbreaking blockbuster like "Jurassic Park" was, a studio will stop at nothing to make sure a sequel exists, regardless of how good or bad it is. In this particular case, they even went so far as to pressure the writer of the source novel, Michael Crichton, to pen a sequel. The result of this badgering is a mediocre movie that didn't have to or need to be made, based on a book the author didn't want to write. And it definitely shows.

The saving grace of this film is its visuals, which are still as good as they were in "Jurassic Park." Though they are done in the same style as the original, now, they are no longer considered groundbreaking, which is a huge flaw against the film as a whole. On its own, the visuals cannot carry a bad story and not so great acting. Beyond the visuals, the movie is pretty weak. It tries to recapture the same intense action, humor and suspense of its predecessor, but really falls short in these areas. All the its humor no longer flows naturally and always seems forced, even from newcomer Julianne Moore and resident weirdo and funny man Jeff Goldblum. It doesn't sound like simple sarcastic comments that are part of the larger dialogue. In fact, it now sounds like actual set-ups and punchlines interjected into a conversation to garner a laugh, but we as an audience don't so much as chuckle most of the time. Many of the action scenes now are over-the-top in nature and get dragged out for far too long. One scene in particular that does this is the RV/T-Rex attack scene. The overall plot this go around is a loose, ridiculous one to say the least. The scientists want to take the dinosaurs from Site B and relocate them to a zoo in San Diego. Yeah, because that sounds like a good idea, right? They assume the failure of the first park had something to do with its poor location and not because, you know, dinosaurs were breaking free from their enclosures while terrorizing and eating people. It doesn't take a genius to guess what will happen. If you guessed a T-Rex rampaging through the streets of San Diego, you can give yourself a little pat on the back and you deserve a cookie for adding A + B. While we love to see our fine city ravaged just as much as the next bunch of people, this climactic action sequence almost seems to be handled in a less serious and more tongue-in-cheek manner. "The Lost World" is a prime example of why not every movie needs a sequel. Fortunately for us, we still have the original to love, and like we mentioned in that review, we still have high hopes for the new sequel with Chris Pratt, which comes out this summer 2015.

My Rating: 5/10
BigJ's Rating: 5/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.4/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 52%
Do we recommend this movie: Meh.

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