Though vastly inferior to the 1925 silent version, Irwin Allen's production of The Lost World is still cheesy good fun for devotees of prehistoric monster films. Certainly, part of the film's problem is with its screenplay -- often a major culprit in films of this sci-fi genre. Writing an "undiscovered world" film is actually pretty tricky -- the wonders of the lost world have to take precedence over in-depth characterization or stunningly original plotting. At the same time, audiences won't be satisfied with mere cardboard characters or plot twists that are telegraphed far in advance. Charles Bennett's screenplay, while not particularly good (or overly concerned with logic), is far from dismal; its biggest flaw is that it relies far too much on special effects (not unusual in films of this sort). Unfortunately, the effects (i.e., the dinosaurs) are not very special, being for the most part lizards or iguanas modified with a couple of horns or some extra scales -- but very young children will find them cool enough, and older kids-at-heart will enjoy laughing at them. Allen's direction is fairly aimless, but he has assembled a good cast to enliven things. (If nothing else, World gives viewers a chance to see a red-haired, bushy-bearded Claude Rains, an interesting sight in and of itself.) Those who have little patience for prehistoric monster films might as well not even bother tuning in, but those who have a soft spot for these movies could do worse than The Lost World.
by Craig Butler review