DVD of the Week: The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)

The Lost World

Last week two fantastic things occurred… my youngest daughter’s sixth birthday and Mother’s Day. My choice for ‘DVD of the Week’ reflects both. My daughter adores this film, and much of the story revolves around T. Rex parentage and their small reptilian offspring.

After the ridiculous success of the original Jurassic Park in 1993, a sequel was inevitable. And the release of The Lost World: Jurassic Park saw every record imaginable broken for opening weekends and box office dominance… yet the critics panned it. I for one never saw it in the theater and waited until the VHS release… and I enjoyed this movie way more than I thought I would. I had no idea that many years later my then four year old would end up watching all three Jurassic Parks and attaching herself to this particular film, thanks to the prominence of a young girl playing Dr. Malcolm’s (Jeff Goldblum) daughter.

Brief tangent here… does anyone else find the way Jeff Goldblum walks a bit odd? Mrs. Blahg and I noticed that he has something between a swagger and a hip swish when he walks… most pronounced in one of the final scenes of Independence Day when he and Will Smith are walking back to the base after completing their mission. Just saying…

So what, if any, connection does The Lost World have with its predecessor? Relatively little. Although I have not read any of the Michael Crichton books these films are based on, my understanding is that Richard Attenborough’s character, John Hammond dies in the first book. Not so in movie-land… he survived the first go around and is back in order to prevent his nephew from exploiting the animals on the second site. Huh? Second site? Yep… he had another island filled with dinosaurs and has sent a team to record everything they can in order to somehow stop his nephew.

The team he sends includes Julianne Moore as Dr. Malcolm’s girlfriend Dr. Sarah Harding (how else could they get Goldblum back? Just endanger his girlfriend… duh) and a pre-bloated Vince Vaughn as a photographer… also another guy… can’t recall who he is… sound man I think. So after a bit of “no, I won’t go”… “she’s there”… “OMG, I have to go rescue her”… Jeff Goldblum is on his way to the second island to be the prince in shining armor and rescue his more than capable girlfriend from the jaws of certain death.

That would be far too simple of a plot though… let’s throw in Dr. Malcolm’s daughter Kelly. Daughter? Yeah… he likes the ladies, he just doesn’t like sticking around… so let’s add a bit of family strife and sure enough, she doesn’t listen to her chaostician (???) father and she stows away in the magic RV they take with them to the island.

So now Dr. Malcolm must protect his insubordinate child and gung ho girlfriend as Hammond’s goons arrive… and now we get to the best part of the film… the late Pete Postlethwaite portraying a big game hunter intent on bagging the biggest trophy of them all… a male T. Rex. From this point on we get a different dynamic as it becomes much more about human vs. human and ultimately culminates in San Diego as the shadow of King Kong is cast very far. Also in the mix is a baby T. Rex with a broken leg and two very pissed off parents. Good stuff. Happy Mother’s Day indeed!

Is this the best in the trilogy? Probably not. I’m a fan of the first for sure… but as far as sequels go, this is great entertainment. And you can even get all three movies in one handy-dandy ‘Adventure Pack’ for about $20. So go out and either buy it, rent it or stream it… just see this movie.

Don’t go into the long grass,
Cornelius J. Blahg

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