‘The Lost World: Jurassic Park’ – An Exhilarating Creature Feature That Recaptures Childlike Wonder

I’m going out on a limb from the word ‘go’. It may break underneath me, but that’s a chance I’m willing to take. The Lost World: Jurassic Park is, in the humble opinion of this reviewer, a better film than its predecessor, Jurassic Park. I will try to explain myself as best as possible. Maybe it’s because the acting is better. It could be that the story line is better and that the scenes between the dinosaurs and the humans are amped up to 10 instead of 8½. But the main reason I felt that The Lost World: Jurassic Park was a better film than the first was this: Gorgo

Read it again: Gorgo

For those of you who are unfamiliar, Gorgo is a 1961 horror film from Great Britain. It’s about a 200 foot sea creature who wreaks havoc on the city of London in search of her abducted baby, the titular character. If you saw the last (and best) forty or so minutes of TLW: JP then you pretty much saw the entire movie Gorgo. But it’s not only Gorgo that Spielberg pays homage to; it’s Godzilla and the Beast From 20,000 Fathoms and any other rampaging monster on the loose films that we grew up with in the 1950′s and ’60′s. Spielberg is letting us know with TLW: JP that you can go back to the things that you enjoyed as a child. It’s okay to play with your plastic dinosaurs and destroy your Lincoln Log cities with them. The only difference in him and us is that his dinosaurs are way bigger.

Four years after the record-shattering ‘Jurassic Park’, Steven Spielberg returned to deliver 1997’s bigger, louder sequel ‘The Lost World’, unleashing dinos on the mainland to thrilling effect. Trading wonder for full-on monster mayhem, the film embraces its roots as a nostalgic throwback to classic creature features. Industrial Light & Magic’s phenomenal CG beasts remain stunning, but now in service of breathless action and childlike destruction.

Jeff Goldblum returns as chaos theorist Ian Malcolm, dragged back into dinosaur chaos when his paleontologist girlfriend (Julianne Moore) documents surviving dinos on a secondary island. When InGen arrives to ship the creatures as theme park attractions, havoc inevitably ensues, from a T-Rex rampaging through San Diego to raptors loose in the research compound.

Absent is the original’s sense of awe, replaced by loving homages to Godzilla and other Spielberg favorites. But while lighter on wonder, the film delivers where it counts – kinetic encounters between humans and dinosaurs. The director indulges his inner child, demolishing locations and vehicles with brazen glee.

For all its B-movie trappings, ‘The Lost World’ maintains an infectious sense of fun missing from today’s solemn blockbusters. Spielberg lets his dinosaurs run wild, relishing destruction with guilt-free abandon. Two decades later, its gleeful appetite for mayhem feels nostalgic.


The man that is eaten by the T-Rex next to the video store (in San Diego) is David Koepp, one of the writers of the film. He is credited as “Unlucky Bastard”.

The Japanese tourists running from the rampaging T-Rex in the San Diego scene (an obvious homage to “Godzilla” movies) are saying in Japanese: “I left Japan to get away from this?!”

As T-rex turns to walk between houses in residential San Diego, he glances at the basketball hoop in the driveway, then makes a distinct dribbling motion with his right arm as he passes behind the house.

Films Based on Novels or Short Stories, Films released in 1997, Movies, Sequels, David Koepp, Gorgo, Jeff Goldblum, Julianne Moore, Jurassic Park, Lost World: Jurassic Park, Michael Crichton, Steven Spielberg

Jeff Goldblum as Dr. Ian Malcolm

Julianne Moore as Dr. Sarah Harding

Pete Postlethwaite as Roland Tembo

Arliss Howard as Peter Ludlow

Vince Vaughn as Nick Van Owen

Directed by Steven Spielberg

Screenplay by David Koepp

Based on the novel by Michael Crichton