The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997) – Review

2 Stars

The sequel to one of the most beloved films of all-time is an oddly flat and over-all disappointing follow-up that represents the most blatantly commercial cash grab of Spielberg’s long and other-wise distinguished career. To be fair the story is taken directly from Michael Crichton’s cash grab novel of the same name. All parties involved are responsible for this bland and curiously non-involving sequel that feels perfunctory from the opening frame.

Picking up four years after the disastrous events at Jurassic Park, word has surfaced that a nearby island is populated by Dinosaurs roaming free. Now John Hammond’s corporate minded nephew seeks to reinvigorate InGen’s stock by capturing a T-Rex an bringing the dinosaur to San Diego, CA.. An expedition team is recruited and assembled by the wily Hammond to sabotage a mercenary team. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) once again finds himself running from hungry carnivores, though this outing he is also responsible for the well-being of his ten yr. old daughter and free-spirited girlfriend Sara (Juliana Moore).

What starts as a research trip quickly turns into a rescue mission, as the two groups are forced to work together in order to survive the extreme danger lurking around every corner. After many chases and close calls the surviving members of the crew are brought back home. Then horrified to find out that InGen is shipping a sedated T-Rex to the mainland via cargo ship. The ship comes crashing into port with a very angry Dinosaur unleashed, now roaming the suburbs and downtown area of Southern California.

The Lost World has two set-pieces that are on par with the electric fence sequence from the earlier film. The special effects are better this time around and the action comes faster and more frequently. So why isn’t this a more enjoyable experience? The magic and awe of the first movie have been replaced with a sardonic and cynical attitude that is constantly articulated by Goldblum’s increasingly obnoxious Dr. Malcolm.

I do no count myself a fan of the Jeff Goldblum school of acting, but even the…pause…master isn’t as stiff and unlikable as Julian Moore’s Sara, who she chose to play as a cross between Catherine Hepburn and “Hildy” Johnson. A slimmer more energetic looking Vince Vaughn is cast as a cameraman with a background in war zone photography. Bits of that recognizable humor start to creep in during a few of the actor’s line readings and it makes you wish he had been cast in the lead and Spielberg had dumped Goldblum. A wasted trip back to the well that was a big hit in its day but didn’t achieve a lasting impression.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Jeff Goldblum, Julianne Moore, Pete Postlethwaite,

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