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The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)



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Director Steven Spielberg's disinterest in this sequel to his 1993 film Jurassic Park is conspicuous. So it's quite a statement about his talent that he came up with something this exciting when he was only half trying.

The Lost World: Jurassic Park is even shallower than the original was, and it fails to recreate the original's sense of awe it had for the dinosaurs. The characters this time around are not just caricatures but forced and misplaced cariactures. Yet the special effects are again breathtaking -- the dinosaurs have much more screen time and do far more, while retaining their personalities.

Jeff Goldblum is the only character from the original that returns in a starring capacity, although some of the others have bit parts. Save for Julianne Moore, Goldblum's girlfriend, the new characters are cardboard and uninteresting (and Goldblum's acrobatic daughter is irritating). The story closely parallels the first film's, with an awkward final act pasted on, in which a Tyrannosaurus Rex wreaks havoc in San Diego.

Yet in spite of these crippling faults, The Lost World somehow manages to generate an adrenaline level that goes through the roof, and some of the sequences are simultaneously gripping and spectacular. There's some top notch imagery, too, as when Moore lies on a gradually cracking pane of glass, or when raptors close in on their prey in a field of tall grass.

This is the stereotypical blockbuster film, taken to an extreme. It's a poorly conceived but fiercely thrilling ride. Critics love to snub it, but all a critical mind does for you here is deprive you of a rousing good time. I'm not usually forgiving of brainless blockbusters like this, but how many other movies ever reach this level of suspense and spectacle?

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