We Have to Go Back! – The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)

The revenge of the Tyrannosaur.  So Jurassic Park has failed, and everybody has come to terms with it.  But what wasn’t previously disclosed is that there is an adjacent island that was used for breeding where the dinosaurs are now thriving.  Of course we live in a world where humans intervention is all but mandatory, so it’s up to Dr. Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) to try to keep this situation contained.  Believe it or not, up until this point, I had not actually seen a Jurassic Park sequel.  The first one is a skillfully made thrill ride masterpiece, so this certainly had Brontosaurus sized shoes to fill.  With my wife’s affinity for dinosaurs and with Jurassic World right around the corner, a lazy Saturday afternoon was the perfect time to catch up on a hole in my film database.

raptorCan’t wait to see the raptors get to be the good guys for once.

One thing that I was not aware of is that the featured cast is not actually the same crew; this is Goldblum leading Julianne Moore, Vince Vaughn and others around the island, and he got promoted from cut-up sidekick to leading man.  While this installment does succeed at being a blockbuster, one thing that is pretty noticeable is how much they are trying to make lightning strike twice in the same place so as to replicate the first movie, which is only appropriate, given how much of the first movie is about cloning technology.  For example, you can totally pinpoint who is the new hunter character, and who is the new lawyer character.  You know that children will defeat raptors with their secret talent, and when it starts torrentially down pouring, you know that something is about to go down with the T-Rex.  And speaking of the big guy, the T-Rex parents are definitely the villain dinosaurs of this, killing way more people than in the first film.

trexJeff Goldblum does not understate what a truly terrible idea it is to bring a T-Rex to San Diego.

The Lost World: Jurassic Park is never as tightly written as Jurassic Park 1, but that’s not to say I was expecting it to be; the science to the first film was explained so simplistically that it actually ended up making a lot more sense than it should have, and with this, I caught myself saying “well, if you say so” a lot more often.  Nevertheless, Steven Spielberg knows how to shoot exciting action, and when it’s a set piece, you are in it 100%.  The raptor scene in this is especially good, and you feel how dangerous they are at every single decision they make (not involving gymnastics).  The ending does jump the shark a bit, getting ridiculous in a number of different ways, but I still think this is a worthwhile big budget thriller.

The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997) ***1/2

– Critic for Hire

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