Jurassic Park in Review: The Lost World Part One

In 1995, Michael Crichton penned the sequel to Jurassic Park, “The Lost World”-a sort of reference to the old Arthur Conan Doyle novel about an isolated land where Dinosaurs still existed, and some of the inspiration for Jurassic Park itself (as well as other films like King Kong, and TV shows like Land of the Lost). Surprisingly, the novel featured as it’s hero not Alan Grant, but Ian Malcolm, who had apparently perished in the original book. However, in the movie he survived, and some feel that the popularity of Goldblum’s character in the film inspired the Resurrection of his novel counterpart.

The novel, like the film, deals with the revelation of a second Dinosaur island, one where the creatures were created and then shipped to the park. When a paleontologist friend of Malcolm-investigating washed-up Dinosaurs in Costa Rica-travels to the island and goes missing, Ian leads a rescue operation, but also has to deal with the resurfacing of Ingen’s rival company, Biosyn, who has led their own expedition to get some eggs to make up for the loss of Nedry. Several other characters, including Ian’s ex-girlfriend Sarah Harding, also get involved. Naturally, the sequel was optioned for a film given JP’s massive success.

While the movie basically follows the basic concept of the book, it does make several changes. Ian is not shown to be in bad shape (he had a cane in the book from his earlier injuries), although his reputation is certainly not in great shape-he went public with the park information, but nobody believed him (Ingen certainly did their best to cover things up as well), and he lost his tenure.

In the opening, we’re introduced to a sort of upper-class British family who’ve decided to dock on the island and enjoy a fancy lunch. Their daughter wonders off, and encounters one of the film’s new Dinosaurs (but one that debuted and played a fairly large part in the novel-Compsonathus). There’s also kind of a nice nod to the Dinosaur/Bird connection when she mistakes the creature for a featherless bird (Compsonathus are very similar in their skeletal structure to early birds) which quickly gather and attack her. It’s also borrowed from the first Jurassic Park novel, in which a similar attack happens on the mainland, and which actually helps set the plot in motion when Grant suspects the creatures that attacked the girl are living compsnathus.

The daughter, Cathy, is actually a young Camilla Belle. Although she’s not a majorly high-profile actress she’s been in a few films here and there, most notably as the lead in the remake of “When a Stranger calls” a decade later.

Anyway, her mother screams and we get a transition to Malcolm yawning in front of a sign on a subway-where he’s lightly teased by some guy and also is given some looks. It should be noted that there were two deleted scenes around this point, one where Peter Ludow addresses Ingen’s board of directors about the incident and how they should use these Dinosaurs for profit rather than just have them sit around and attack random visitors…and also to get rid of Hammond, who wants them left alone. Another scene also deals with the introduction of Roland Tembo, who is bored since he’s hunted pretty much everything in the world. After a small fight with some jerks at a bar, he listens to the proposition that Ingen has given his friend, Arjay. I think these scenes might’ve better explained the motivations of the villains, although they would be a bit narratively redundant (Hammond brings up some of Ludow’s plan in his scene, and Tembo’s motivations are explained later on).

Next Ian arrives at Hammond’s mansion, where he’s greeted by his butler, played by Ian Ambercrombie. Ambercrombie of course was well-known for playing other butlers (Such as Batman’s butler Alfred in the Birds of Prey series) and for his voice-acting work including Palpatine in the Clone Wars. Most people probably know him best as Mr. Pip, Elaine’s eccentric boss for a season or two on Seinfeld.

Here we get a brief, somewhat awkward cameo of Lex and Tim, who have a few quick lines and then are sort of just walked off screen..and then we meet our main non-Dinosaur antagonist, Peter Ludow, an original character creation for the film.

Ludow’s kind of played off as a jerk of course, somewhat one-dimensional self-absorbed and later out of his element rich guy, who seems to have been at least partially responsible for dragging Malcolm’s name through the mud. Ironically though, he sort of subtly lets Malcolm in on his plan, saying his problems are about to be rendered moot (as he’s planning to bring the Dinosaurs to the mainland, which would validate Malcolm’s claims).

Next we get to Hammond, who by now seems mostly bedridden (In an older version of the ending, we would see his funeral, but that was cut and replaced with the San Diego stuff at the end).

Attenborough once again lends gravitas to the role, mixing whimsy, seriousness, and once again a bit of a naive’ nature to the characters, as he reveals the existence of Site B-and what Ingen wants to do with it-to Malcolm. We also see he’s also a bit manipulative as well, as he’s sent Ian’s girlfriend Sarah to the island, not only because she’s qualified as an animal behaviorist (and apparently a paleontologist as well?) but also to lure Malcolm it seems. He also of course gets to say the title of the film (minus the Jurassic Park bit), with the cool line: “….and now it’s only a matter of time before this lost world, is found and pillaged.”

Although the rescue part was in the book, I do find this a bit contrived that Malcolm’s girlfriend (Who apparently believed his stories) also happens to be the most qualified paleontologist/behaviorist/whatever for the Island. But it’s a small point, really.

Malcolm of course wants to get to the island as fast as possible to rescue her….cue Jurassic Park theme (The “Adventure” part of it at least).

Next we meet three of our supporting characters.  First Eddie Carr, played by Richard Schiff, who’s the technical engineer and designer of the vehicles they’re using. (He’s pretty much a combination of two book characters here, one with the same name and also Jack Thorne). Schiff plays him as very socially awkward but intelligent, with sort of a lovable, selfless nature to him.

Vince Vaughn is Nick Van Owen, in an early role. Vaughn is early in his career here, and following TLW he would have a bit of a lull for a few years, making some questionable roles mainly as murderers, before finding his feet with comedy films such as Old School, Wedding Crashers and Dodgeball. It’s easy to see why here, he’s pretty much a lot of the film’s comic relief, although it’s often his actions which result in a lot of the film’s deaths, which I’ll go into later.

Finally, we meet Kelly, one of Malcolm’s 3 kids, presumably from an “Ex mrs.Malcolm”. No mention is really made of her brothers or sisters, although maybe they accompanied the Ex-Malcolm to Paris. She’s sort of a combination of two characters from the book, but with the added connection to Malcolm. Perhaps Spielberg wanted to not repeat Tim and Lex from the first movie by having two characters (That’s pretty much Crichton did unfortunately. There’s even a computer scene later on!). Vanessa Lee Chester does sort of OK as Kelly, but she often comes off as a bit annoying, even compared to Lex and Tim, especially since she sort of has a rocky relationship with her father. She’s also learned some ‘big words’ from her father, mainly “Troglodyte”.

Which kind of brings me to another point, we don’t really get a great deal of Malcolm being a chaotician in this. In fact, I’m not sure the word “Chaos” shows up once. Although obviously still intelligent and caring (If a bit unreliable, as Sarah and Kelly point out), a lot of Malcolm here is mostly snark rather than scientist, but that’s probably in part due to him being the leading man, Goldblum’s influence on the movie character, and the humiliation he’s suffered between the films making him perhaps a bit more jaded. Although he doesn’t appear in III or Jurassic World in the flesh, it seems he does eventually return to his chaotician ways, writing tell-all books about the park which deal with Chaos (As mentioned by Eric Kirby in III, and actually shown in Jurassic World). It’d be nice in a Jurassic World sequel perhaps, to catch up with Malcolm and find out what he thinks of this latest mess.

Anyway, it’s off to the Island to “rescue” Sarah-although Kelly has stow-awayed….here we get our first taste of the film’s theme, which is sort of more primal and exotic sounding than the themes for the first two films. We also get some important exposition-that the boat guy doesn’t want to stick around due to the island’s reputation (not only from the deaths, but the name of the island chain “The five Deaths”) and of course Eddie’s fancy rifle (whose extremely venomous tranquilizer darts are important later). We also get the reveal of the film’s first automobiles, obviously designed for more off-road stuff than the colorful “Park” vehicles. It should also be noted that the film is less colorful as a whole-the influence perhaps of cinematographer Janusz Kamiński, who started working with Spielberg on Schindler’s list and a great deal of his films since.

Finally, they come to Sarah’s tracking device, which is in her damaged pack. We get a bit of a funny scene as they yell out for her, with Nick saying her last name getting a rebuke from Malcolm: “How many Sarahs do you think are on this island?”

Then, we get our first Dinosaur reveal, as massive Stegosaurs emerge. It should be noted that although these are somewhat accurate to the ‘real Stegosauruses appearence wise, they seems quite a bit larger. The CG’s pretty good on these as well. The Stegosaurus was also something present in the original Jurassic Park novel, originally having the place of the sick animal which is Triceratops in the final film.

Next, I’ll go on with the introduction of Sarah, the reveal of Kelly’s hiding, and of course, the Ingen hunters making things more complicated for everybody.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s