Despite the reputation that sequels normally carry, I came into The Lost World with optimism, hoping that I would find something as equally rewarding as the original. Undoubtedly, the film has grown upon its appearance with an uptick in its digital imagery and pushing further the terror that its victims find themselves in. As an adventure film, it provides enough strong qualities for applause, elevating the presence of dinosaurs and showcasing sub-species that the first film was unable to provide; but its core set-pieces return to its roots with the Velociraptors and T-Rexes causing the most trouble for our protagonists.
The film’s return to a familiar world lacks the impact as its predecessor due to its weaker ideas; the idea dynamics of nature disrupted by the presence of our species, and once again the greed and ego humanity have placed upon these creatures in the hopes of glory. Jurassic Park succeeded with its thought provoking ideas due to the debates that aroused from its intimate moments, in between the terror and chaos, the film was able to stimulate our perception of discovery and innovation. The Lost World fails to provide enough pauses in its chaos to intellectually challenge us, instead aiming to distract and thrill us with its impressive visual effects and isolated set-pieces.
Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) finds himself thrown back into the frightening world through necessity after hearing the fact that his girlfriend is currently on the hostile site for research purposes. To add to the tension, and as a parallel to the film’s theme of parenthood, Ian’s daughter is pushed into the mix, risking herself by sneakily accompanying him in his journey. When they arrive, they find another group stationed in the island, poachers and hunters collaborating in hoping to capture the creatures and place them on display back home; Spielberg’s attempt of paying “homage” to King Kong, which arrives at its peak during its final 20 minutes. These characters aren’t as well constructed as the humans from the original, lacking the symbolic attitudes that allow them to be identifiable and empathetic; they ultimately are left as victims for its wonderful moments of tension and horror.
The Lost World carries a weaker punch that makes this a far less impacting experience; I felt there were ideas that Spielberg wanted to explore but is conflicted by his dual-intention, to create one that mirrors the original and to create an adventurous ride like Raiders of the Lost Ark or Jaws. If the director instead committed to one or the other, then this would have probably been a far more appealing feature.