“Saddle up, let’s get this moveable feast under way!”
These days, when a franchisable movie is mega successful, it’s not a question of if it will get a sequel, but a question of how many sequels will be shit out before the studio reboots the series and starts again from the beginning. But in the 90s, sequels were still a little more of a novelty. And they never had the prestige of their series’ predecessors. So when it was announced that Jurassic Park would not only be getting a sequel, but that Steven Spielberg would also be back behind the camera, it was a pretty big deal. Not enough of a big deal for me to be assed seeing it apparently, but I’m here now, aren’t I? So get off my back, because I just watched The Lost World: Jurassic Park.
After the debacle of his dinosaur filled amusement park, John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) has lost control of his company that cloned said dinosaurs, and is now scared of how his nephew (Arliss Howard as Peter Ludlow) will wield his power as the company’s new head. Especially in regards to Site B. You see, the island of the original movie was just for the tourists. There was an entire second island where the dinosaurs were bred. After a severe hurricane, Site B was abandoned. But it turns out, left to their own devices, the dinosaurs have spread, bred and built an entire prehistoric eco system.
Ludlow has deiced to build a dinosaur zoo in the middle of San Diego and populate it with specimens from Site B. Learning from his mistakes, Hammond knows this can only lead to disaster. So he calls in Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum). Understandably reluctant to go to this newly revealed island after his own experiences in the first movie, Malcolm caves in when he finds out that his paleontologist girlfriend, Sarah Harding (Julianne Moore) is already there.
Teaming up with tech expert Eddie (Richard Schiff) and documentarian Nick (Vince Vaughn) he heads to Site B to bring Sarah back. The only problem is, he soon discovers that his young daughter has stowed away with them. The only other problem is, Ludlow has also landed on the island, complete with a small army of hunters, lead by Roland Tembo (Pete Postlewaite). The only other, other problem is, they’re all stranded with no shelter and cut off from communications with the outside world.
The Lost World: Jurassic Park pretty much goes through a checklist of how to make a sequel not quite as good as the original. A quick recap that somehow simultaneously acknowledges the first movie but also kind of dismisses it in order to kick of this new chapter. It promotes a third banana (or lower) from the original to full blown hero status. And in doing so, it miraculously turns that character from the original wrong man in the wrong place at the wrong time (patent pending, John McClain) into a full blown super hero.
But you know what, I never really gave a shit about any of that cheap, easy, predictable adventure movie, or even ‘lesser sequel to an action movie’ bullshit. Because The Lost World: Jurassic Park told a dumb, but engaging story. It cast it full of engaging, easy to watch actors, and it put Steven Spielberg in charge. Now, I don’t mean this to sound like a backhanded compliment, because I mean it as genuine praise. Nobody makes dumb, but engaging adventure, better than Steven Spielberg.