The Lost World: Jurassic Park (Blu-ray)

Shortly after the successful release of JURASSIC PARK, Spielberg called Crichton (author of the book) to talk about writing a sequel. Shortly thereafter, THE LOST WORLD was finished and began filming. JURASSIC PARK was a thriller/family movie but the sequel is an action-drama. True to general sequel rules, the story is darker with a higher body count. However, we don’t really care about the characters this time around which results in feeling that there is less at stake.

The Lost World

InGen, on the brink of financial ruin, is now in the hands of Hammond’s eager nephew Peter Ludlow (Arliss Howard). Desperate to bring the company out of the red, we learn of Site B – an alternate island located near the original but where dinosaurs appear to be flourishing – a kind of nature reserve. InGen is planning to send a team to capture some dinosaurs to become circus-like attractions so Hammond decides to send his own team to bring back information about the dinosaurs for the public. He hopes that if word gets out the dinosaurs will be protected. And to lead this team, who should Hammond include other than… Ian Malcolm?

Jeff Goldblum and Julianne Moore in The Lost World

Strangely, this film features the return of Jeff Goldblum. As he was the one non-dinosaur expert in the first movie, I always thought it would have made more sense to include Sam Neill’s Dr. Grant, but I guess that’s why I’m not paid the big bucks. But this isn’t the same Dr. Malcolm; in the first movie Malcolm was an observer – he offered caustic and often funny remarks but wasn’t a driving force behind the action. This is not the case in THE LOST WORLD, where Malcolm (and Goldblum, even) is essentially the star driving the action. Goldblum is up to the task, taking us on this new adventure with him. In the meantime we meet the interesting, if one-sided, characters who make up Malcolm’s Team. Thankfully, while the script isn’t nearly as strong here as the first movie (and considerably more cliched) the idea of bringing a strong cast remains one of Spielberg’s greatest strengths.

The Lost World: Jurassic Park

This casting starts with Goldblum and is rounded out by major characters Dr. Sarah Harding (Julianne Moore as a paleontologist, and Malcolm’s girlfriend) and hunter-leader Roland Tembo (the immeasurably talented Pete Postlethwaite (THE TOWN). Spielberg’s eye also extended to other well-known character actors, with Peter Stormare (FARGO), Richard Schiff (THE WEST WING), and a young Vince Vaughn (fresh off of SWINGERS). With this cast, Spielberg provides seemingly effortless direction while delivering a story that is engaging and interesting. It could certainly be better, but I’m surprised at how well this movie holds up, despite being about 30 minutes too long.

If you can forget about the first movie and not enter with your expectations too high (which I think caused the general malaise when this movie was released) you will have a good time with this one.

BLU-RAY REVIEW

Video: (1080p, 1.85:1 Widescreen) The video here is slightly more crisp than on the first Jurassic Park film. The print is clean and tight and looks great on your HD television.

Audio: (English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) The sound is clean and mixed masterfully. The dinosaur sounds only get better here from the first movie.

Return to Jurassic Park: Finding the Lost World (27:40) Continuing the great new making of anthology from the first disc, this is the next part of the “Return to Jurassic Park” series. Another intimate collection of behind the scenes shots, film footage, and new interviews with cast and crew. This one tackles the question “Why make a sequel to the first movie?” The discussions here are really great, another gem of a feature.

Steven Spielberg, Julianne Moore and Jeff Goldblum on the set of The Lost World

Return to Jurassic Park: Something Survived (16:30) The documentary archive continues, this part focuses primarily on the T-Rex’s visit to to the inhabited world of San Diego, the score, and the new dinosaur creations (both the look and the sounds).

Deleted Scenes: (07:09) A collection of scenes deleted from the final film. All of the scenes that were cut were rightly removed exposition from the beginning of the film to maintain a much more rigorous pace than in the previous entry.

Archival Featurettes: Footage from the DVD release or before, this is like a LOST WORLD compendium.

The Making of THE LOST WORLD (53:14) The original behind-the-scenes feature, this one takes us through the entire process from developing the story, evolving the characters, and dealing with all of the challenges inherent with creating a sequel to a groundbreaking film. One of the crew mentions that Spielberg says this movie is about Hunters,versus Gatherers… that’s a good summation of the primary conflict as well as the difference between the first movie and the second. This one has a lot of repetition with the “Return to Jurassic Park” featurettes, I would suggest those instead of this one, though this one is more complete.

Original Featurette on the Making of the Film (13:17) This contains much of the same exact footage from the above ‘making of’ featurette… this one is just much shorter. That might make it easier for some to digest, but it doesn’t feel as full, as complete, or as cohesive.

The Jurassic Park Phenomenon: A Discussion with Author Michael Crichton (15:27) A great interview with Crichton from June of ’97, who provides some great insight into his process of developing this idea. Pretty cool.

The Compie Dance Number: Thank You Steven Spielberg from ILM (01:38) ILM made this gag video for Spielberg featuring the cute but vicious little dinosaurs from the second film doing a tap dance routine.

Behind the Scenes:

ILM and THE LOST WORLD: Before & After (20:44) a split screen comparison of the raw footage shot on location and the final ILM enhanced version over a number of scenes. It’s actually pretty incredible to watch.

Production Archives – Slide shows of various behind the scenes activity, broken out into different sections. Note to special features creators – some music (or any sound, really) would be nice here.

ñ  Production Photographs (12:48);

ñ  Illustrations and Conceptual Designs (16:17);

ñ  Models (01:12);

ñ  The World of Jurassic Park (16:49);

ñ  The Magic of ILM (17:29); and

ñ  Posters and Toys (22:41).

Storyboards: 12 scenes are presented in storyboard (again without sound as slide shows). This is really interesting but gets boring if you try to watch more than one at a time.

Finally, the Theatrical Trailer (01:58) is presented in standard definition on the disc.

OVERALL 4
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