Faithful to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's much-filmed source novel, this rousing mini-series is action-packed but more contemplative than earlier, purely escapist versions of the tale. In 1911, eccentric Professor George Challenger (Bob Hoskins) addresses the British Scientific Society on the subject of a secret world of dinosaurs near the Amazon. No-one believes him, and even Challenger's former colleague, Professor Leo Summerlee (James Fox), dismisses his claim as hogwash. But a newspaper is willing to back Challenger's expedition, provided that he reports back any prehistoric discoveries to an adventure-starved readership. Accompanied by the skeptical Summerlee, great white hunter Lord Roxton (Tom Ward), and cub reporter Edward Malone (Matthew Rhys), Challenger sets off for the apparently mythical land where time stands still. They find a local guide in Agnes Cluny (Elaine Cassidy), a missionary's niece whom they enlist at a jungle outpost. Agnes's bible-toting uncle, Reverend Theo Karr (Peter Falk), objects strenuously to her employment, but she's a headstrong young woman. Afraid that Challenger's discoveries could destroy Christian belief in Creationism, Reverend Karr blocks the explorers' return by toppling a log bridge. Unable to turn back, the adventurers are abandoned by their bearers and must survive close encounters with hostile prehistoric creatures. When they aren't running from monsters, the explorers find themselves caught in a war between superstitious natives and a carnivorous tribe of missing links; at one point, cannibals capture the two professors with dinner plans in mind. Challenger's band eventually scramble past the combative human factions and around the beasts to locate an alternate route home; they safeguard a dinosaur egg that will prove that their adventures really happened. But now that they've upset the eco-system of this lost world, will Challenger risk unleashing the curiosity of the whole world upon it? Although the dinosaur special effects aren't as special as they ought to be, Tony Mulholland's tightly constructed screenplay give the characters' conflicting values and beliefs as much weight as the clashes between men and beasts. A top-flight cast complements this splendid-looking production, which was shot in New Zealand and captures the novel's sense of wonder.
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- Released: 2001
- Rating: NR
- Review: Faithful to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's much-filmed source novel, this rousing mini-series is action-packed but more contemplative than earlier, purely escapist versions of the tale. In 1911, eccentric Professor George Challenger (Bob Hoskins) addresses the B… (more)