THE LOST WORLD is a low-budget alternative to Steven Spielberg's 1997 blockbuster sequel to JURASSIC PARK. Though based on different source material--in this case a story by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle--we can be sure this straight-to-video wonder won't keep Mr. Spielberg from sleeping at
In 1934 London, a zoologist, George Challenger (Patrick Bergin), seeks to prove to a museum committee that live dinosaurs exist in the mountains of Northern Mongolia. The museum offers him reward money if he can bring back an example, and they send Professor Summerlee (Michael Sinelnikoff) on the
expedition as a witness. The others who join Challenger include Malone (Julian Casey), a reporter, John Roxton (David Nerman), a mercenary hunter, and Amanda White (Jayne Heitmeyer), an anthropologist and the daughter of a late colleague.
In Mongolia, the group is helped with the arduous trek to the mountain by Myar (Russell Yuen) and Djena (Gregoriane Minot Payeur), brother and sister guides. Once they arrive at their destination, Amanda is immediately kidnapped by Neanderthal tribesmen. The travelers rescue her, but as they try
to escape the area in a balloon, they are attacked by flying pterodactyls, an incident that proves the existence of dinosaurs. The skeptical Professor is finally impressed, but Myar is killed, the balloon busts, and the others crash and take refuge in a cave.
Later, Roxton attempts to flee the mountain with a baby dinosaur, as reward bounty, and leave the others behind, but Challenger stops him. Roxton is then attacked and apparently killed by another dinosaur. Subsequently, as the others try to figure out how to repair their balloon in order to
escape, the Professor and Djena are killed by dinosaurs. Challenger and Amanda try but fail to save Malone from yet another attack. They return to London and keep their findings a secret, telling the museum that the dinosaurs do not exist. Meanwhile, Malone turns up alive on the mountain, living
as one with nature.
The producers of THE LOST WORLD clearly hope to confuse at least a few video store customers looking for the Spielberg title (the box art design is very similar). But this humdrum sci-fi adventure owes itself more to Spielberg's INDIANA JONES series than the director's JURASSIC PARK sequel: the
opening sequence pays direct tribute to RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (1981), femme lead Jayne Heitmeyer resembles Alison Doody of INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE (1989), and even the production design resembles the dusty brown look of the three Harrison Ford films.
But, alas, this LOST WORLD makes the special effects of the earlier screen versions of Conan Doyle's tale, made in 1925, 1960, and 1993 seem state-of-the-art next to the slapdash, cut-and-paste computer graphic work here. The dinosaur attacks include one violent killing, but are not particularly
scary (and the tribesmen look like rejects from Cats). The performers don't offer much charisma, and lead Patrick Bergin seems to be settling into a sad late Errol Flynn-style career phase--looking jowly and walking through his roles. Who the film really needs is Mel Brooks (or at least George of
But at least this LOST WORLD doesn't include an expected, banal romance between the leads and the running time is mercifully short, unlike the 1998 sci-fi bomb, GODZILLA. (Graphic violence, adult situations.)
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- Released: 1998
- Rating: R
- Review: THE LOST WORLD is a low-budget alternative to Steven Spielberg's 1997 blockbuster sequel to JURASSIC PARK. Though based on different source material--in this case a story by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle--we can be sure this straight-to-video wonder won't keep Mr… (more)