Slightly off-topic: some theaters showed "Lost World" trailers where the lights in the theater flashed in-sync with the lightning flashes in the trailer - a fun touch that unfortunately no trailer has tried since.
It's been years since I've last seen it, but I've started to warm up to "Lost World" a little. While it was obviously going to be looked upon harshly after the original, the sequel does have some concerns that go beyond simply not being able to live up to the original.
Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) is the main cast member that returns - this time along with a daughter (Vanessa Lee Chester) and a palentologist girlfriend(Julianne Moore). The group heads towards "Site B" - joined by nature photographer Nick Van Owen (Vince Vaughn) and a tech expert, Eddie Carr (Richard Schiff). Meanwhile, another team is also heading towards the island to capture dinos to be used in a theme park in San Diego.
The film takes an unusually long amount of time getting going, but once it does, it becomes another instance of - as Goldblum's character perfectly puts: "Oooh, ahhh...that's always how it starts. And then there's the running...and the screaming."
Some of the action sequences - such as the dinos busting up the villain's camp - are tense and well-constructed. While the effects have improved in the years since, the work of ILM is certainly sleeker and smoother this time around than the original. As an adventure, the picture offers reasonable popcorn entertainment, especially once it gets rolling in the second half.
It's the rest of the film that - while not as bothersome as I once found it - still just doesn't work as well as one would like. Moore and Goldblum do have nice chemistry together and she works well against his dry humor. However, their relationship isn't well-defined and really feels like more of an afterthought.
Additionally, while Chester is a fine actress, the character seems shoehorned into the picture because it was thought that there needed to be a child character - there really didn't need to be. Arliss Howard, who plays the leader of the other team, is a fine actor, but stuck in a role that is rather thankless - it's a one-dimensional take on the old-fashioned hissable villian.
The sequel could have used a re-write and feels more like a Summer blockbuster than the darker original. It's still the weakest of the three films, "Lost World" has its moments (especially during some of the large-scale action scenes) and feels a bit brisker and more watchable years later.
The film is presented in 1.85:1 (1080p/AVC) and the result is really very nice. Sharpness is excellent throughout; detail and clarity are very good too, even in the darkest sequences. Some mild print flaws and slight traces of edge enhancement are seen, but the picture generally appeared clean and clear. Colors are similarly as enjoyable as they were in the first film - the deep greens of the jungle looking beautiful and very well-saturated. Locations and cinematography both look stunning and well-rendered. Black level is solid and flesh tones are accurate and natural.
SOUND: The film is presented in DTS-HD 7.1. The best summary for the sound in "Lost World" is this: take all of the elements that made "Jurassic Park" such an exciting soundtrack, and turn them up to "11". You can practically feel the roars of the various dinosaurs as they fill the room.
Surrounds, as one might expect, get very impressive use here, and are even more active here than they were in the first film. In fact, as the film goes further all of the speakers work together to create a sonic assault that was extremely thrilling. Even slight background sounds are captured with great depth and clarity, making for a natural-sounding environment. Bass is very, very powerful at times, and really tops off the exciting sound that the film offers. Certainly, this is one of those films where I feel the need to warn that if you have neighbors, you may want to watch the volume when you play "Lost World".
The John Williams score sounds dynamic and impressively clear, filling the room with ease. All speakers really work together remarkably well to build a complete surround environment here. Dialogue remains natural and easily understood, even in the most busy sequences. Praise here goes to the brilliant Gary Rydstrom and the rest of his sound crew who have crafted a great experience. Other films that Gary Rydstrom has worked on? Oh, "Titanic", "Saving Private Ryan", "The Haunting" and "A Bug's Life", among others. His name on a film's credits is a guarantee of fantastic audio.
EXTRAS: “Return to Jurassic Park: Finding The Lost World” - At around 27 minutes, this feature offers a decent amount of archive footage from when the film was made, as well as more current interviews with Steven Spielberg, the cast and crew. Spielberg talks about wanting to make the sequel and how to reintroduce the dinosaurs. This feature is a nice look at the new and familiar characters and how the storyline is different from the first film. With some footage of Spielberg directing Jeff Goldblum, to the final shot, this feature does a nice job of giving an overall look at “The Lost World: Jurassic Park.”
“Return to Jurassic Park: Something Survived” - This feature gives a more detailed look at the mechanical Raptors and the digital dinosaurs. Spielberg talks about the amount of digital dinosaurs in the second film as opposed to the first film. There’s also a look at a storyboard featuring the idea for the original ending. Sound, music and more are discussed.
Archival Featurettes include: “The Making of The Lost World” - HERE GOES INFORMATION
“Original Featurette on the Making of the Film” - this feature takes a look at the characters who come together in the second film and why. The visuals of “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” are explored, and how the overall look differs from the first film (including the fact that it’s no longer focused on the theme park look of the original, but a more jungle look.). The new technology for the dinosaurs is also discussed.
“The Jurassic Park Phenomenon: A Discussion with Author Michael Crichton” - An interesting fifteen minute interview with Crichton about the book and the film.
“The Compie Dance Number: Thank You Steven Spielberg from ILM” - a brief dinosaur dance number from ILM.
Behind the Scenes include: “ILM and The Lost World” - Around twenty minutes, several before and after scenes are played together for comparisson.
“Deleted Scenes,” “Storyboards,” “Theatrical Trailer,” and “Production Archives” are also included.
Final Thoughts: While not as successful as the original, "Lost World" still certainly has its moments, and the Blu-Ray packs more thunderous audio and crisper, smoother video quality. Recommended. As of the time of the review, only available on Blu-Ray in the trilogy set.
The Film B-