Jurassic Park 2 = T-Rex Kong
How do you go about trying to top something as spectacular and breathtaking as "Jurassic Park". Well making "The Lost World: Jurassic Park" was not the way to do it as although it is an impressive movie it can only attempt to equal its formidable predecessor. The trouble is that once we'd seen the dinosaurs interact with humans in the first movie, then the second time round it was never going to have that same wow effect. Even the pairing of Spielberg and Crichton cannot inject any real new life into the sequel as all they can do is really cover old ground, throw a slight twist, introduce some new characters and hope that the storyline is enough to keep you interested. Well for me it was not as it turned "The Lost World: Jurassic Park" into just another monster movie.
After a small girl is set upon by a group of small dinosaurs on Isla Sorna, the sister site to Isla Nublar where his dinosaur Park was built, John Hammond (Richard Attenborough - The Great Escape) is forced to send over a small group of researchers, including Dr. Sarah Harding (Julianne Moore - Boogie Nights) and Nick Van Owen (Vince Vaughn - Wedding Crashers) plus the less than impressed Dr Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum - Independence Day), to see how the dinosaurs are surviving before his former company INGEN start controlling the island. But a research mission turns into a rescue mission as things get out of hand on the small island when INGEN take over and start dinosaur hunting.
The biggest problem with "The Lost World: Jurassic Park" is that in the 4 years since the first "Jurassic Park" wowed audiences, technology hadn't moved that far on which had a knock on effect that there was nothing bigger or better to really get the audiences raving about it. Don't get me wrong as the first time you see a dinosaur walk across the screen you can't help but be impressed but that's only a momentary feeling and you are waiting for something better to stun you. Plus the interaction between these CGI creations and actors is first rate but it's still what we have seen before and that is the biggest issue for "The Lost World: Jurassic Park" there really doesn't feel like there is anything new to really get you buzzing with excitement.
Now this may be me being a little cynical but if I knew that I couldn't improve a movie visually then I would have to make up for it with a brilliant storyline. Well sadly "The Lost World: Jurassic Park" doesn't, whilst the introduction of a sister island where the dinosaurs run free as well as the nephew of John Hammond now running the company provides for various interesting story elements it generally feels like any other monster movie. This makes a lot of "The Lost World: Jurassic Park" feel very predictable where we know we will see chase scenes, a couple of deaths etc etc and even a slight twist in homage to "King Kong" doesn't stop it feeling anything special. What was great about the original "Jurassic Park" was the storyline which really developed into something interesting, but "The Lost World: Jurassic Park" lacks this originality.
What is good about "The Lost World: Jurassic Park" is that although technology hadn't move on huge it is still a visually impressive movie. The number of action sequences is much higher than the original and if you are not bothered by an ineffectual storyline then the action will certainly please. At times it feels slightly over the top but then I am in the camp which expected more story so for others watching jeeps being demolished, dinosaurs being chased etc etc will more than likely be happy. In fact for most of the movie it moves at such a decent pace that you rarely have time to consider that the storyline is lacking in originality.
Sadly the only real returning character from the original Jurassic Park is that of Dr Ian Malcolm played by Jeff Goldblum and for me the lack of continuity on the character front is annoying. Yes there are minor cameo performances from Richard Attenborough, Joseph Mazzello and Ariana Richards as John Hammond and his grandchildren but to leave the continuity to just Goldblum is a big ask. In fact it's a too bigger ask and all the quirkiness of his character has been lost in this time around making it rather disappointing.
Thankfully Goldblum does have a fine collection of stars to help him through this slightly average second outing including Julianne Moore as Dr. Sarah Harding, the great Pete Postlethwaite as Roland Tembo and Vince Vaughn as Nick Van Owen all of which do a good job of filling the screen with a variety of characters, especially Postlethwaite as a big game hunter who wants to bag himself a T-Rex. But the trouble is that although "The Lost World: Jurassic Park" has a few stars, some varied characters the emphasis of the movie appears to be more on the big action rather than character development.
The really good news is that the John Williams soundtrack is still as impressive as ever and combined with the big visuals the big soundtrack fills the air and helps build up expectation. There is something about the Jurassic Park theme music which helps bring back those memories of the first movie and makes the movie much better than it really is.
What this all boils down to is that "The Lost World: Jurassic Park" is not a terrible movie, it is packed full of action and adventure as well as still hugely impressive visuals. But because it doesn't feel like there is anything new in this sequel to out do the original it feels a little disappointing. But it's entertaining and despite a slightly unoriginal storyline it is superior to many of the monster movies to come out in the 90's.