THE LOST WORLD: JURASSIC PARK

(aka Jurassic Park 2)
(1997)

With Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough, Julianne Moore, Pete Postlewaithe, Vince Vaughn, Arliss Howard, Vanessa Lee Chester

Directed by Steven Spielberg
Review by JB

     Due to the mega-success of JURASSIC PARK, the pressure was on to do a sequel.  Michael Crichton had to be prodded into writing a followup to his novel, and yet scriptwriter David Koepp used very little of Crichton's The Lost World in his screenplay.  Instead, he overloaded the story with stereotypes (the guy from Greenpeace, the evil capitalist, the big game hunter) and, for the most part, makes humans the "monsters".  The special effects are still top notch, but the story is lame, the dinosaurs tame and the characters shallow.  In JAWS, we firmly believed that Richard Dreyfus was a shark expert or that Robert Shaw was a shark hunter, because we were provided with multiple pieces of onscreen evidence.  In THE LOST WORLD, we are told Julianne Moore is a paleontologist and Vince Vaughn is a documentary producer and activist, but the evidence we are given onscreen leads us to believe they are both just actors playing poorly written parts.  (Why the hell would a paleontologist run into a herd of stegasauri instead of away from them when she is under attack?). For the most part, you can tell who is going to live and who will die by how close each character's political and social attitudes are to Steven Spielberg's.  Therefore, the guy from Greenpeace makes it, the evil capitalist dies, and so on.  The setpieces are not nearly as entertaining as those in the original film, and a climax in which a T-Rex gets loose in San Diego only serves to remind us how KING KONG and GODZILLA did this kind of stuff so much better.  A real disappointment that gets an extra half a star for the still-amazing special effects. 2½ - JB

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