PG-13 Dir: Steven Spielberg | Universal | 2h 9min
Plot: What’s it about?
I can still remember seeing the original Jurassic Park with my three older siblings when it debuted in theaters. I was only a kid, so naturally seeing giant dinosaurs on the big screen was fresh and exciting for me. This was also the pre-internet era where one could just got into a film like that fresh and free from any prejudices. And boy was it quite a ride. Not only does that original film hold up more than 20 years after it debuted, but for my money, none of the sequels or newer incarnations can hold a candle to the original. Not even the film we’re reviewing here: The Lost World: Jurassic Park. That isn’t to say this first sequel (also directed by Spielberg) is without its charms, but the freshness and awe factor are definitely missing. Let’s take a look, shall we?
It seems as though John Hammond’s (Richard Attenborough) dream of a dinosaur based theme park has gone extinct, but does that mean the end of dinosaurs in our time? As Hammond explains to Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), the island they visited was just the last stop for the dinosaurs, not their actual place of birth. Another island, “Site B” was used to experiment with the dinosaurs and make sure everything worked out, then they’d ship the dinosaurs over to the park to roam and someday, entertain. Whenever the park went down, Hammond kept quiet about Site B and allowed the dinosaurs to live and breed in the wild. It seems to be working out well, since after a few years the population is thriving and the ecosystem is in near perfect harmony. But now that harmony is about to be shattered by outside forces and unless Hammond can document the animals and their behavior, the island will be heading toward a fate much like the park. Ian refuses to join the team at first, but when he learns his girlfriend (Julianne Moore) has already been sent, he changes the research trek into a rescue mission. So now Ian must face the dinosaurs once again and this time, there are no fences or security barriers between him and them.
Once again we’ve got a cast loaded with talent, but they’re outshined and overshadowed at almost each turn. That’s right, the dinosaurs once again demand center stage and this time around, there’s even more of them and many more kinds as well. Whereas the raptors stole much of the spotlight in the first film, this one belongs to the T-Rex and even out of their element, no one has any doubts about who rules the jungle, where tropical or concrete. But we also meet a wide variety of new friends in this sequel, including the cute and bouncy compys, whom the kids love. As impressive as the dinosaurs were in the first film, Stan Winston and ILM have improved by leaps and bounds in this movie. The creatures look sleeker and more realistic and the movements are nothing short of amazing, these are a true sight to behold. I was even more impressed after I saw how they were made in the documentary, which is included on this very disc. Jeff Goldblum (The Fly) reprises his role as Ian Malcolm and a few other faces pop in from the original, but for the most part this is an all new cast. It includes Richard Schiff (Heaven), Vince Vaughn (Swingers), Julianne Moore (Boogie Nights), Arliss Howard (Full Metal Jacket), and Pete Postlethwaite (The Usual Suspects).
At this point, with 5 Jurassic films, this review is hardly relevant in that most people have seen these films and made up their minds. There’s some excitement here to be sure, but the fun and freshness of the original film is sorely missing this go round. I do think in many ways these films have run their course, but as long as they’re bringing in the dough, we can expect to see many more chapters. CGI has come a long way since the 90’s, but there needs to be a strong story and interesting characters to help drive it.
Video: How’s it look?
It’s been just over two decades since audiences were introduced to the sequel and this is the first foray into 4K territory for the film. Universal’s 1.85:1 HEVC 4K image is noticeably darker than the original both in look and tone. Still, the improved image quality, color depth and detail is substantially superior to the previous DVD and Blu-ray offerings. Textures of the dinosaurs, details in the jungle and even little things like water droplets splashing really do make a palatable impact when viewing the film. The overall image quality really did make an impact on me when watching it and it’s a tip of the hat to Universal for making a film of this age look so good.
Audio: How’s it sound?
Also upgraded is a new DTS X atmospheric audio track. The original had both DTS and Dolby Digital tracks (way back in the DVD days), but seeing as how Jurassic Park was the first movie to feature a DTS soundtrack, I’d call this a no-brainer. Dialogue is clean and well centered, though there’s not many points in the movie where there is just one person talking. We again hear the constant “thud” of T-Rex or a Stegosaurus, or some other species of dinosaur, all making the soundtrack more active and forcing the subwoofer to perform it’s duties! John Williams’ score is noticeably different, though, this has more of a “native” feel to it, with more drums and beats that a classical score. Still, it’s nice to hear it sound so good. Another reference quality soundtrack, courtesy of Spielberg.
Supplements: What are the extras?
As expected, no new supplements were added to this release and all existing supplements reside on the Blu-ray.
- Deleted Scenes
- Return to Jurassic Park: Finding The Lost World
- Return to Jurassic Park: Something Survived
- Archival Featurettes
- The Making of The Lost World
- Original Featurette on the Making of the Film
- The Jurassic Park Phenomenon: A Discussion with Author Michael Crichton
- The Compie Dance Number: Thank You Steven Spielberg from ILM
- Behind the Scenes
- ILM & The Lost World: Before & After the Visual Effects
- Production Archives
- Theatrical Trailer
The Bottom Line
While definitely lacking the freshness and wow factor of the original film, there are still some thrilling moments to be had here, so long as you keep expectations in line. As of this writing, most fans have probably seen these films time and time again, so if you enjoy it, have at it.