|THE LOST WORLD (1997)|
Vanessa Lee Chester
|"Taking dinosaurs off this island is the worst idea in the long, sad history of bad ideas."|
|Time: 134 mins.|
Official Web Site
Genre: Action/Science Fiction
Academy Award nomination for Best Visual Effects.
A major disappointment from a man who should have known better. Maybe the fact that I saw this film 3 times in one week (all for free) spoiled me against it. Perhaps, I wouldn't be so dismayed at how wretched it is, if I had only wasted 2 hours of my life. Since I read the book I was expecting an exciting if somewhat thinly plotted experience. Like JURASSIC PARK. Why Spielberg felt compelled to throw out the whole novel is beyond me. For a Crichton book, it was a fairly entertaining read that continued the story and energy of the original in a believable manner. What he delivers is a special effects extravaganza that makes no sense whatsoever. The film just doesn't have any bite figuratively or literally. Mainly because the situations are ludicrous, the characters stupid or non-descript, and the action ho-hum. We've seen it all before, done better.
Spielberg's solution to combat the fact that the dinosaurs interacting with people is old hat: include more dinosaurs. Won't that impress the audience? Frankly, no. What makes JURASSIC PARK scary is the actual lack of dinosaurs. You don't know what they are going to do or where they're going to pop up next. (Think JAWS.) In the LOST WORLD there's so many of them, you could toss a stick and have 15 of them bring it back to you. More isn't necessarily better. LOST WORLD lacks any tension whatsoever. Evil is best when its subtle and lurking. The only scene that was the least bit scary was when the T-Rexs' knocked the trailer off the cliff...and they almost cut that out!
Spielberg is generally a fantastic director, but he forgot what is most important in a movie good characters. In fact, I wished the raptors got all of them while they were trying to escape. That at least would have added some dramatic tension to the film. The plot has Malcolm (Goldblum) returning to a second, secret island Hammond was using as a breeding ground for the dinosaurs. They've been left unchecked and a horrible accident has once again brought attention to this evolutionary disaster. Instead of just destroying the whole island, plans have been drawn up to create a new theme park a little closer to home. Say, in San Diego. Moore plays a scientist along for the ride, who learns a quick lesson in danger. These creatures are very real, very deadly and very hungry. They spend most of the film evading the dinosaurs while trying to stop the hunters from removing them from the island.
Of course, the unscrupulous businessmen must pay for their arrogant assumptions that they can control nature. How does Spielberg teach them a lesson about the evils of corporate greed? By having a T-Rex rampage through the tourist-filled streets of San Diego. What a horribly lameass idea. Not only was it silly and unbelievable, the constraints of the story render it impossible. If the T-rex was in the hold when the ship crashed into the dock, how did it kill all of the crew members? They were apparently chewed to death by this angry beast, causing the boat to crash. Did it just go back in to get some rest until docking? If the whole crew is dead, who closed the doors again? This is one of many poorly thought out sequences in this film.
I just can't recommend THE LOST WORLD to anybody. If you want to see a great dinosaur movie, re-rent JURASSIC PARK. Even though the effects were good, the story is enough to make you wish you were dead...or at least deaf so you wouldn't have to listen to the nonsense coming out of the actors mouths. We did amuse ourselves for the rest of the summer mimicking Vince Vaughn's horrible delivery, so that's worth something I guess. How he still has a career I'll never know. Moore should sitck to indie fare where she gets roles worth her talent. Sure being in a blockbuster raises your asking price, but only if it's good. If you haven't seen it already, and most of America did, wait until it comes on TV. At the very least, it will be shorter. Believe me, you won't regret it.