As much as it was a groundbreaking hit, and as astonishing the first vision of that brontosaurus might have been, Jurassic Park (1993) was a bit of a silly and unwieldy movie. Unfortunately, that side is all that remains in The Lost World, the obligatory sequel with few visual thrills and even less charm. It was a smart idea to have a T-Rex transplanted to a populated area (San Diego), if only to see the large beast gnawing on streetlights and guzzling from a swimming pool. But the movie takes too long to get there, preferring to linger in the same tepid island setting as the original, which feels like reheated leftovers. Jeff Goldblum reprises his thankless role, spewing sarcastic premonitions as if he'd been told to ad lib his lines. Vince Vaughn and Julianne Moore are tree-hugging scientists, whose bird-brained goodness involves toting around injured dinosaurs. And there's even an effete British villain (Arliss Howard) straight out of central casting, who licks his chops at the prospect of exploiting the creatures. What happened to the days when being bitten in half by a T-Rex was obstacle enough? The film has one truly inventive sequence, in which Moore's character dangles over a precipice, supported only by a thin pane of cracking glass. That this sequence has nothing to do with dinosaurs is telling. There are a few new creatures, including a bunch of squirrel-sized lizards that kill you in death-by-papercut fashion. But the visuals aren't a big improvement from the original, even with the passage of four years and a gargantuan budget. Steven Spielberg mailed this one in big time -- it takes a paleontology-themed movie to be this bone-headed.
by Derek Armstrong review