The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)

(In theaters, May 1997) The good news are; it’s only vaguely based on the book, it’s somewhat better than the written work and it’s got some terrific sequences in it. The bad news was expected by every single moviegoer in North America: It’s not nearly as good as the original. Some stupendous special effects (notice the “shaking camera” shots: Flawless composting!), a few exceptional action/suspense sequences (the cracking glass sequence will remain in most viewers’ memory for a long time) and a likable hero are highlights. In Spielberg’s capable hands, everyone can expect to be entertained. Unfortunately, The Lost World suffers from the same disease that will (should) make the “thrill ride”-type of movie extinct: The story thread binding the great sequences is frayed, sometimes hastily knotted together. Characters act like (literally!) idiot savant; making the same stupid mistakes, going against ten+ years of their own experience, not reacting like normal human beings would, etc… The mind wobbles at the number of incredibly easily-fixed errors in the script. (and in the direction too: Don’t gag at the brain-damaged gymnastic sequence and don’t yawn at the fifth consecutive “Dah, amazing!” close-up.) Don’t count the incoherencies; they come with such a boring regularity that you’ll soon fall asleep. Still, it’s moderately fun. The story is (in broad strokes, if not in the details) better than the original. The last act is a blast, and the preachy anti-science tone of the original is mostly gone. Not a great movie by any means, but a moderately satisfying matinee.

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