Four years after the horrific events at ‘Jurassic Park’, Ian Malcom is pushed into travelling to another island inhabited by dinosaurs by John Hammond, the man originally responsible for bringing the dinosaurs back to life. When they get there, they discover that they aren’t alone and that the others are only interested in making money from the dinosaurs. When greed and arrogance backfires and the body count begins to rack up, Malcolm desperately works to get his team off the island, and also prevent anything else from following them…
The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997) – Director: Steven Spielberg
Running Length: 129 mins
Starring: Jeff Goldblum, Julianne Moore, Arliss Howard
Genre: Science Fiction, Action/Adventure
Loosely based on Michael Crichton’s novel, ‘The Lost World’ and sequel to the 1993 smash hit, ‘Jurassic Park‘, ‘The Lost World: Jurassic Park’ follows Ian Malcolm (a survivor of the first movie) as he tries to keep his girlfriend and daughter safe on an island inhabited by dinosaurs which range from the harmless to the violently aggressive. Knowing how bad things can get, Malcolm’s only priority is to protect his family and get them off the island as soon as possible. Unfortunately for him, as he is the only one to have experienced the horrors to come, he is the only person there who takes the dangers seriously.
Having the natural progression from the original movie’s isolated theme park idea to using the dinosaurs as more of a tourist attraction is a good touch, showing how keen humanity is to pervert the course of nature in order to make a fast buck. This is done well for the majority of the film, however it goes off kilter when the film descends into the spectacle of a T-Rex running amok in San Diego, making it seem much more B-Movie in tone and lessens the seriousness of what has happened before. Like in ‘Jurassic Park’ Goldblum’s laid back attitude works well in his leading role which helps to show how bad things are when even he starts to panic!
Overall, while there are a few fantastic moments in ‘The Lost World’, it is a relatively average movie which doesn’t do a lot to enhance the first film. It is, however, perfectly enjoyable and kids who love dinosaurs are bound to love it.
IS ‘THE LOST WORLD: JURASSIC PARK’ SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN?
The opening scene is set on a remote tropical island where a family and their servants are preparing to eat on the beach. The little girl decides to explore the area and, out of sight of her parents, she comes across a small, inquisitive dinosaur. She offers it food and when it takes it, several others start to approach her. They soon surround her and start to become more aggressive which scares her, the camera then cuts to where her parents are and they hear a scream. When they run to her, the camera stays on the mothers face as she screams in horror. A short while later in a different scene, a conversation between two characters explains that the little girl was injured but is ‘fine’.
Malcolm and the rest of the research team soon find that they are sharing the island with a large group of people who wish to hunt the dinosaurs and, in particular, a male T-Rex. They badly mistreat the dinosaurs and their justification is that they were created by man so man can do as they please with them. One character maliciously uses a cattle prod on the head of a small dinosaur for fun and a baby T-Rex is caught and cruelly tied down despite having a broken leg in order for its cries to lure its parents into a trap.
One scene which is particularly tense involves two adult T-Rex’s that surround a small caravan and push it over a cliff while the people inside try to get away. Another character tries to help them but gets caught by the dinosaurs. This character is lifted and thrown into the air before the two dinosaurs rip him in half. This is done on camera but from a distance so no blood or gore is seen.
Another scary scene is when a T-Rex attacks a camp causing several people to run towards a waterfall. One man is crushed underfoot and, as the T-Rex continues to run, his body is picked up and crushed several times. When the others get to the waterfall, they hide behind the water in a small alcove. The T-Rex tries to reach in after them and, when one man sees a snake in his jacket, he panics and runs towards the dinosaur; it picks him up by the arm and drags him out. A loud cracking sound is heard and a large amount of blood runs down the waterfall.
The final third of the movie is set in San Diego. The ship carrying an adult T-Rex and its baby crashes into the dock and, after the initial panic, several people approach the ship to see what has happened. One character asks ‘Where’s the crew?’ and another answers ‘All over the place’ as the camera focuses on a disembodied hand which is holding on to the steering wheel. Another severed hand holds the control to the cargo hold (where the dinosaurs have been kept) which is now no longer secure and the adult T-Rex bursts out, beginning its rampage through the streets of the city. At one point it goes into a residential area where a dog is barking. Upon seeing the dinosaur, the dog whimpers and hides inside its kennel, however a little while later the dinosaur is seen to have the dog’s lead in its mouth while the kennel dangles from it, implying that it has eaten the dog.
There are other scary and exciting moments in the movie, however we have highlighted the strongest examples and feel that if a child is ok to watch these then they should be fine with the rest of the content.
CAN I SEE A CLIP?
If you enjoyed ‘Jurassic Park’, it is very likely that you will also enjoy ‘The Lost World’ for the same reasons. There is little in terms of story or character development in this movie but the action and scares are just as fun to watch as those of the first film. Although it is a PG (a rating which is normally aimed at children aged 6 and over), we feel that the high body count and level of violence in this film is possibly too strong for kids of such a young age. We would therefore feel that it should be appropriate for children aged 8 and over but recommend caution for kids who are sensitive to violence and would compare the fear factor to that of the first movie.
- Violence: 3/5 (many deaths from dinosaur attacks. Very little blood or gore is seen but the ferocity of the attacks is likely to scare young kids)
- Emotional Distress: 1/5 (one character is upset by another’s death but this is very subtle and should not be distressing)
- Fear Factor: 3/5 (many of the deaths are preceded by suspenseful scenes which often take place at night, adding to the feeling of tension)
- Sexual Content: 0/5
- Bad Language: 1/5 (some blasphemy, mostly said during tense situations)
- Dialogue: 1/5
- Other notes: Deals with themes of protecting the people you care about, treating animals and nature with respect and the potential consequences if you don’t, what lengths mankind can go to for greed and having the courage to help those in need.
Words by Laura Record