Submitted by SomeMockodile t3_1280jmd in movies


Jurassic Park is widely considered by audiences as one of Spielberg's best films ever made, and I would holistically agree: Jurassic Park completely altered the trajectory of the filming landscape with revolutionary CG effects, amazing practical effects, a likable and well rounded cast, and complicated ethical questions about overstepping with scientific progress. Jurassic Park completely upended the film industry as well as reinvigorating the fields of computer generated imagery, paleontology, and genetics in the public eye.

I don’t think I have to dig too deep into why Jurassic Park is such an exceptional film that’s arguably one of the best films ever made. Yet often in the shadow of this masterpiece lie five Jurassic franchise sequels, which never truly match up to the revolutionary first film in substance or meaning. I think most criticisms towards Jurassic Park III, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, and Jurassic World: Dominion are valid as these films are all mediocre action films with very poor storytelling. People seem to positively reflect upon the first Jurassic World as a breath of fresh air, and I do agree it’s a solid popcorn blockbuster, but there’s some major issues with the story that really obscure my enjoyment of this film that are difficult for anyone seeking something with deeper meaning. There’s many plot contrivances and really dumb character decisions throughout the bulk of this movie’s runtime that really undermine some of the interesting ideas this film had (What if Jurassic Park worked and was safe? Would people actually just accept dinosaurs as a part of life and nothing too special?) There’s only one character in the Jurassic World movies with notable character development, which is Bryce Dallas Howard as Claire Dearing. I’ll even dishonorably mention Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom for removing a deleted scene where Iris, the babysitter for Lockwood, sacrifices herself to save the life of Maisie from the Indoraptor, which would have been the best sequence in the entire film and would have justified Owen and Claire abducting Maisie at the end of the film, because without this sequence Owen and Claire are literally child abductors and deny custody even though Iris is a clear candidate to take custody. I’ll also dishonorably mention Jurassic World: Dominion for retconning Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom in a way that makes Fallen Kingdom’s story make no sense (Like, if Lockwood and Hammond fought because Lockwood wanted to revive his daughter, then why is Lockwoods daughter still alive in Dominion until 10 years after Hammond died according to Jurassic World? Oh wait, they fought before Jurassic Park opened in 1993, so that means that they fought while Charlotte was 20 years old, over 15 years before Maisie was even born? This side plot literally makes the canon of the Jurassic World movies impossible)

However, I personally consider The Lost World: Jurassic Park as a film that is a really underrated film. Being the only other Jurassic film with John Williams and Spielberg’s involvement other than the first, the veteran crews associated with this film.really gave this movie their all. I’d go as far to say that the first 90 minutes on The Lost World are a really interesting character study into these different character groups. People complain about the main characters sabotaging the villains often, but the point is that all these characters are morally gray with some of the Ingen staff being likable and some of the protagonist characters being unlikeable. The cliff scene and tall grass sequence are on par with the best sequences of the first Jurassic film easily, and I really like Carr’s sacrificial death to save the lives of the protagonists showing just how uncaring the natural world of the Jurassic movies are for human life. The special effects in the Lost World are even better than the special effects in the first Jurassic Park, with more species that are often represented with animatronics that add to the believability and tangibility. The compsognathus, pachycephalosaurus, and stegosaurus all look stellar and fit right in. The stegosaurus attack sequence adds to the note that even the herbivores of this lost world are nothing to take for granted, which is one of the only flaws the original Jurassic Park had. The soundtrack has a really feral and distinct identity from the theme park aesthetic of the first Jurassic Park and I actually think this soundtrack overall is better than the first film’s. Yet the Lost World holds a dramatically different tone that makes it thematically distinct from the first film with the twists and turns of moral ambiguity of capitalizing on these extinct animals. Even some of the antagonists are a pleasure to watch, like Dieter being killed by the compsognathus or Roland Tembo as the master game hunter with the desire to prove himself as capturing the most dangerous game.

But even though I think most of this film is pretty great, I think the people with complaints against this film are justified. There is a gaping flaw with the film’s design that is inherently inseparable from conversations about this movie. The last 25 minutes of Lost World are really not well thought out or executed relative to the concept. If you need a refresher, this is when the Bull Tyrannosaurus somehow kills the people on the boat, gets let out, then goes on a rampage in San Diego. This final act mainly doesn't work due to 3 core issues:

  1. Lack of character: Only 3 main characters from the rest of the film are present in the final act; Ludlow, Malcolm, and Harding. For some reason all of the other characters (both the Ingen survivors and protagonist survivors) are written from the final act completely. I understand why Kelly isn’t with Malcolm and Harding, but why isn’t Van Owen present when they both are? Why is Roland Tembo not present in the final act when the objective of the final act is to capture the bull tyrannosaur? It really feels like a missed opportunity to make the film feel more cohesively tied together.

  2. Lack of reason: There’s a massive plot hole from this final act which doesn’t make sense in the context of the film. How does the crew of the boat die in the film? (In the real world it’s because they didn’t have time to film a new sequence and the raptors were originally going to be on the boat as well). Why do staff open up the cargo hold on the boat when they know the Tyrannosaurus is in there and let it out? Why does Ludlow tell Malcolm and Harding where the baby T.Rex is only to try and take it back later? Why do Ingen staff just let Malcolm take the baby Trex? Why Does Ludlow chase the baby Trex into the boat on his own? Why do the main characters even want to save the Tyrannosaurus Rex from being killed? The Lost World has peculiar writing moments before the final act, but the amount of times this happens in the final act is a lot higher than the rest of the film.

  3. Lack of stakes: The stakes of the final act are mostly just preventing the Tyrannosaurus from causing property damage and getting itself killed. By the time that Ian and Sarah arrive with the baby, the father T.Rex already has killed people and animals for food and members of the national guard are on the way to euthanize the adult Rex. Malcolm likely doesn’t have a personal desire to save the Tyrannosaurus due to his past experiences and likely only attempts to save the T.Rex because Harding wants to. So the stakes are “Either the Tyrannosaurus goes back into containment on the boat or it dies.”. This also feels really disconnected from Ludlow, who after telling Malcolm and Harding where the baby Rex is so they can get it, proceeds to say he wants to keep the baby Rex and shoot the adult to attempt to salvage Jurassic Park San Diego.

The worst part is that I think conceptually, the idea of the dinosaurs breaking out into urban environments in the final act as a consequence of Ludlow’s actions is brilliant. If we had sequences of the Velociraptors ambushing civilians from a dark alley it would have added a lot of value to this climax. You could have added Van Owen’s character to break into Jurassic Park San Diego to retrieve the baby instead of staff just giving it to Malcolm and Harding, or allowed Roland Tembo to redeem himself by capturing the bull tyrannosaur a second time to save lives in the city. There’s a lot of ways this concept could have been better executed in ways where it wasn’t that really makes this climax stand out compared to the stellar action pieces and setting of the main body of the film.

And to anyone reading this who is thinking: “Hey! I saw this scene as a kid, I really liked it, I don’t see the problems here.” I also liked this scene when I was younger. However, I think adding a bit more depth or logic to the final act would really help its rewatchability, because as it stands, this climax makes The Lost World lose a lot of its interesting characterization investment in the earlier parts of the film.

TL:DR; The Lost World: Jurassic Park is a good movie with a really flat final act that strips away a lot of the depth and stakes the earlier parts of the film added while also not living up to its full potential on its own.

I’m sure other people agree with me, but I just wanted to get this off my chest. If you have anything to add about this movie or other Jurassic movies, I would be curious to hear what people think about the Lost World or the Jurassic franchise in general, or if there was anything I missed.



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No-Cartoonist6429 t1_jegognq wrote

I’ll always remember being in 4th grade and having my first critical thought of a movie: just a simple, “this is a bit much” when the T-Rex got loose in the city.


True_to_you t1_jegppjo wrote

I like the lost world, but it is puzzling for there's seemingly no first responder presence in San Diego at all.


SomeMockodile OP t1_jegqjcf wrote

Yeah this is something I didn't think about when I was making the "lack of reason" section. Surely local authorities will immediately be able to find the Rex within 20-30 minutes and someone in the office has a larger grade firearm or some explosive weapon that could be use to neutralize it so it wouldn't kill people.


swordmaster006 t1_jegoo8p wrote

I'm in the camp of "The Lost World came out when I was, like, 7 and I love it for nostalgia reasons". For the most part I can totally look past the faults in the T-Rex in San Diego sequence. But I agree with your assessment here, especially the parts about adding Van Owen and Roland to the sequence and how that could've made it so much better. Never really thought about it like that.

Edit: And I absolutely hate thinking about what the hell happened on the boat. It makes no sense. I pretty much have to ignore it when watching.


SomeMockodile OP t1_jegq887 wrote

I really like this movie and even though I feel like it's overhated, I get why people don't like it, but the reasoning why is mostly in how the final act wasn't handled too well. I get in the writing room they were probably like "Great, lets get our leads in the city with this T.Rex for a thrilling climax." But there's probably ways they could have handled it better.

The boat sequence was the biggest plot hole in this entire IP before the later World films happened, but at least for those plot holes they aren't core to the overall plot or narrative and are just background details that don't add up. In the Lost World it hurts the ability to immerse yourself in the film if you think about it at all.


ddwcommish t1_jeh101u wrote

As narratively disconnected as the San Diego sequence was, that was what I wanted out of Dominion that it failed to execute. The idea of these dinosaurs out in the world instead of on an island was always the endgame of this franchise, and yet Lost World somehow gives us more (and better) chaos amongst civilians than anything the World movies could. So in hindsight I like the Rex in San Diego sequence so much more since it delivered on that potential


Dragonborn83196 t1_jegq1xo wrote

I enjoyed it as a kid, and enjoy watching it with my stepson but it’s not one I will put on myself if I’m in the mood for any of the Jurassic movies


bdf2018_298 t1_jeh4mct wrote

One of the early scripts had a different ending where Ludlow and Roland try and fail to take down the father Rex, with Ludlow getting taking to the nest and fed to the infant. Was a cool sequence that I think fit the movie much better than a 30 minute Godzilla homage


bunchofclowns t1_jegpkrf wrote

I was just happy to see my city acknowledged in a major movie.


DrRexMorman t1_jeguvsu wrote

With the exception of your knock against Jurassic Park 3 (which is the 2nd best Jurassic Park movie and a fine "B" monster film on its own), I like your critiques: JP 2 is a super disjointed movie.

>Why is Roland Tembo not present in the final act when the objective of the final act is to capture the bull tyrannosaur?

Why didn't we get a 6-10 episode season of White Lotus that follows Roland Tembo trying to keep a group of upper/middle class tourists and middle/lower class park staff alive after being stranded with them on Isla Nublar?

Why did the second act of the move involve the ostensibly "good" characters making an incredibly cruel choice that led to the deaths of the ostensibly "bad" characters (who were just working stiffs)?


SomeMockodile OP t1_jegx27a wrote

JP3’s actually my third favorite, I just didn’t share that opinion in this post. The pteranodon and raptor sequences are great and a spinosaurus is really important to this series because every Jurassic film after jp3 has had a new “big bad dino” when lost world had the 2 trexes. I think I would argue that it’s the most influential Jurassic film aside from the first to the franchise as a whole.

Also, yeah. Imo Van Owen should have died for his actions in the second act of Lost World.


outbound_flight t1_jeh20sx wrote

The Lost World always felt off to me, even when I was a kid. I think realistically, it was Universal/Spielberg trying to pump the gas and capitalize on the success on the previous one. They famously started production on the film before the book it was based on was even published—a book that they kinda had to convince Crichton to write.

As a result, I think there's a clumsiness about it. Thematically, it kinda retreads notions about pushing science too far and the exploitation of nature, and mostly pushes safari-type imagery as the major change. Plus the ending, which seemed like Spielberg wanting to do King Kong but with a dinosaur.

It doesn't really try to say anything new, characters keep doing silly things to drive the action (Harding scolds the other characters for using water on a fire since it'll attract predators, then brings a baby T-rex back to the camp, and leaves bloody rags hanging in the open... both of which get people killed), and the third act does feel really disconnected. Like you said, a lot of the characters disappear and it doesn't even bother to really explain how the ship's entire crew died without any real damage being shown, and somehow it was still able to arrive at the dock it was destined for somehow... I dunno. The story was a justification to brute force a lot of big set pieces, which is ultimately fine because they're Spielberg set pieces. JP3, at the very least, kinda overtly telegraphed that it was mostly there to deliver on crazy dinosaur action, which worked for me quite a bit.


DLRsFrontSeats t1_jeh277l wrote

The T. rex pair on the cliffside and the long grass scene are up there with the best of JP93

But yeah, San Diego is really out of place. Plus the fact that the raptor/baby rex attack on the ship got cut but the reason for the crash didn't change is still one of the most jarring things in a major film I can remember lol


callmemacready t1_jegs5e2 wrote

Worked in San Diego for about 6 months and now i don’t mind the third act


Singer211 t1_jegzmiv wrote

My biggest issue with it is how unlikeable the so called “heroes” are and how muddled the “message” gets.


acacia_the_wise t1_jeh24s0 wrote

The Lost World is a mediocre film that completely unravels in its third act.

I absolutely adore the book, which actually takes some time to portray the dinosaurs as animals just doing their thing as opposed to being blood-thirsty monsters like in the movie, so that definitely weighs heavily on my opinion.