The F*ckin Black Sheep: The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)

THE BLACK SHEEP is an ongoing column featuring different takes on films that either the writer HATED, but that the majority of film fans LOVED, or that the writer LOVED, but that most others LOATH. We’re hoping this column will promote constructive and geek fueled discussion. Dig in!

The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)  
Directed by Steven Spielberg

"At least it manages to avoid recycling the same plot once again."

The mid 1990’s were a hellva time to be Mr. Jeff Goldblum. He went from that quirky, odd dude from THE FLY to that quirky, odd dude from mega-budget movies like JURASSIC PARK and INDEPENDENCE DAY. The ride didn’t last long because after THE LOST WORLD: JURASSIC PARK, he went back to small films and character roles, but it must have been a good one while it lasted. Hopefully he enjoyed it and saved his cash. 

Now JURASSIC PARK and INDEPENDENCE DAY might have been stupid massive hit films and remain beloved classics, THE LOST WORLD doesn’t get the same love. (Check out the Honest Trailer for it and they make many, many, many dead on claims that I can’t and won’t dispute). However, that doesn’t mean the movie doesn’t entertain. THE LOST WORLD isn’t a smart film and clearly a money grab by all involved, but as I’ve said before, who can blame them especially since JURASSIC PARK was built to be a franchise, as we can all see by JURASSIC WORLD hitting theaters. It is surprising that Spielberg came back for another round but then again, he did steer four INDIANA JONES flicks. 

In case anyone managed to avoid having THE LOST WORLD: JURASSIC PARK cross a nearby screen, the sequel to the most revolutionary CGI movie (outside of T2) starts off focusing on John Hammond (Richard Attenborough), the creator of the original park. With death approaching for him, he recruits a team of specialists to head back to Jurassic Park to investigate another island the dinosaurs live on, a “B” site. Reluctantly, Dr. Ian Malcom (Goldblum) returns because his girlfriend Sarah (Julianne Moore) is already on the island. However, someone else at InGen has sent another team to the island (led by the always-great Pete Postlethwaite), with a much different mission in mind (they are bad guys). 

Even though THE LOST WORLD lacks much of the same cast, (no Dr. Alan Grant or Dr. Ellie Sattler; anyone who does appear just has a cameos) it seems a necessity to bring in new life to the ol’ dino park. Why? Well, we’d lose that "ooh" and "ahh" factor the characters got to have since the audience already knows what’s coming. If it’s the same old crew going in, where is their amazement at seeing freakin’ dinosaurs lumbering around? I’m glad Spielberg at least brought back Goldblum, who can be a good leading man. Granted, he’s aloof and goofy, but he's also funny and entertaining. Part of that is natural charisma and part of it comes when he has to do run of the mill action and deliver forced heartfelt dialogue like when one of his men dies (“You might show a little more respect. The man saved our lives by giving his.”).

Everyone else does a decent job in THE LOST WORLD though Julianne Moore’s character is pretty damn dumb for a scientist as she makes countless bonehead decisions (I’ll just mention sleeping in a tent with open food for starters). Vince Vaughn plays the videographer who’s the tough guy/wild card, which is a little strange to say the least (though maybe his role in TRUE DETECTIVE will change that opinion). As for the bad guys, Peter Stormare basically revives Gaear from FARGO, but the best character belongs to Pete Postlethwaite, who plays a big game hunter and leader of the B team. At least he has some character to him (though it does bug the hell out of me that both Postlethwaite and Vaughn vanish from the film at a certain point without explanation).

I can’t overlook the main bitches about THE LOST WORLD. The plot is forced and we’ve lost a lot of the “fun” from the first flick (and I can’t even try to defend Ian’s “daughter” when she pulls a gymnastic karate kick of a raptor). The action sequences do play big even if a little too conveniently set up at times and seem like sight gags. The conclusion, which depicts a T-Rex running around San Diego, ends up feeling a little too King Kong and doesn’t really fit the rest of the movie. I always thought they should have made it to the city much faster and allow things to get really nutty off the island. And of course, a lot of the basic Spielberg tropes are here (like the kids missing a parent and all that), but the whole capitalism versus science, greed versus freedom, man versus nature is a little too obvious. But then again, what the hell does anyone expect out of a major summer blockbuster? At least the thing attempts to say something. 

Is THE LOST WORLD: JURASSIC PARK as good as the original? Not even close. At least it manages to avoid recycling the same plot once again like 99% of all sequels do. It just didn’t have enough plot. It wanted to be bigger, bolder, and more dino-y. It did all that, but second helpings of anything aren't usually as good as the first. With that said, while THE LOST WORLD comes up lacking in the surprise category it does entertain plenty with chases, stompings and a whole lot of people being eaten by dinosaurs, so it does have that going for it. 





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