dinosaur movie review!
since i'd started watching the jurassic park series with owain, i figured i'd keep on watching. bringing us to the second installment jurassic park 2... called the lost world.
now this name carries some weight with us dinosaurs. that is because to us the lost world is a legendary land where the mesozoic never ended (what i was hoping to find during my BC quest). in the lost world we surviving dinosaurs might once again find a remnant of the domain we lost all those millions of years ago... so a movie of the same title better carry some swabamoo!
Jurassic Park: The Lost World
plot point: now i'm going to try to avoid commenting on the human side of movies for my reviews cause plenty of good ones already exist no doubt (what with my brain size and all), but there is a big glitch in this site B premise that is dino related. in the first jurassic park we saw them take care of and hatching dinosaur eggs! why is there suddenly a new island for that purpose?
Hammond has since the first movie become something of a dinosaur sympathizer and tries to bring public attention to the plight of the soon to be captivized dinosaurs of site B. to do so Hammond organizes an expedition to document the now thriving free prehistoric population. however to round off his team he tries to recruit mathematician Ian Malcom from the last movie (what again does math or chaos theory have to do with dinosaurs?), but the number cruncher refuses...
that is till the millionaire pulls a fast one and informs Malcom that his palaeontologist girl friend Sarah Harding is ALREADY on the island. Malcom suddenly jumps to the conclusion that the expedition is a rescue mission (what we dinosaurs aren't to be trusted just like that!?!).
heading down the island Malcom meets up with his gal pal, but discovers in addition to his planned team his daughter has come along for the trip too... why i don't know... so after experiencing some of the splendor of the island everyone, EXCEPT Malcom, is primed and psyched to explore this lost world... Malcom being the Dino hater that he is tries to get them off... kinda sit comishly actually if you ask me...
right when i worried that the stegosaurs were going to be the only dinosaurs, and the rest of the movie would be just Malcom's Dinosaurist attitudes the movie picks up.
the evil corporate hunting team shows up to enslave the dinosaurs of the island and put them into the service of tourism. after catching a bunch the bad guys look posed to succeed... the exploration team however hatches a heroic plan to free the captive dinosaurs.
meanwhile the hunting parties leader Roland Tembo discovers a tyrannosaurus nest, and decides to use the chick found within to lure the t-rex bull into a trap so he can shot it...
interrupting this scheme the good guys unleash all manner of fury on the hunters camp as they free a bunch of dinosaurs who completely trash the place. on their way out the good guys stumble on the now wounded t-rex chick who is calling for it's parents. not wanting it to be a cripple the good guys bring it back to doctor it.
so that's Steven Speilberg's sequel to jurassic park in a nutshell. with the success of the first film in 93 and the publics new interest in us dinosaurs Speilberg would go way out of his way to unleash even more dinosaurs in the second movie.
now many of them were returnees from the first film, but this time around many of the herbivores were given more screen this time around. as for the new comers some were big shocks to us dinosaurs watching the casting from the outside!
the new dinosaurs on the movie scene
- Compsognathus the smallest dinosaur of all time make their debut in the lost world. their inclusion in the movie though a good addition was slightly conterversial. in micheal critons books that the jurassic park movies are based on stated that there should be procompsognathues rather then compsognathuses. a little known fact about the little compsognathus is that they are part of the coelosaur family. the same family that not only us tyrannosaurs are in, but also the dromaesaurs (or sorry raptors... got remember some none palaeo ppl on the innerweb). meaning that compies are direct relatives of BOTH the major starring dinosaurs of this movie. rumour has it that lobbying from among either my cousin larry or the raptors this species change was made for the movie...
- Mamenchisaurus yet another upset when it came around to the lost world. the role of biggest dinosaur (invetiably played by a sauropod) had been played by a brachiosaurus in the first movie. however due to the critical acclaim and consideration for an oscar the brachiosaur asked for too high a price to reappear in the sequel. with such a small part in this film the humans opted to let the brachiosaur go, and instead cast a new long neck. rather then the obvious choice of an Apatosaurus or Diplodocus (of whom many have been in movies) Speilberg instead opted for their little known (by the public anyway) chinese relative. though two appear only in one scene it brought the longest necked animal of all time to the attention of the human world. this was also seen as an appeasement for the casting of american raptors in the place of authentic chinese ones.
- Pachycephalosaurus sadly no scandal or politics played a part in the casting of this bonehead (i'm not calling him a name... it's the truth these guys have the thickest skulls of any dinosaur!). just rather they'd been overlooked by hollywood for far too long. rather then a grand entranced they literally rammed their way onto the big screen!
returning to the big screen
- Gallimimus returning for brief cameos were the chinese speedsters.
- Parasaurolophus the odd hadrosaur from alberta, who had only a brief one scene appearance in the first movie, get a much more impressive treatment in the lost world. they appear in several key shots of the dinosaur hunt (my favourite scene of the movie). good to see some dinosaur provincal park era dinosaurs finally getting acknowledged in the movies (well other then Styracosaurus).
- Pteranodon who is not techincally a dinosaur (but rather a prehistoric animal who i said i'd cover in my reviews) has appeared in dozens of movies throughout the years, but this would be their first appearance in a film in the modern era. if only for a brief cameo at the very end of the movie as the LAST thing we see...
- Stegosaurus another species with numerious appearances in movies in the olden days of dinosaur movies, but again no modern appearance. due to a survey of humans as to which dinosaur they most wanted to see in a new jurassic park stegosaurus was given a very prominent and key role in the film as being the second dinosaur shown on screen, and in the "awe" and "wonder" role that the brachiosaurus had been given in the first. the steggy herd scene is a standout one in this movie for us dinosaur.
- Triceratops returns in the sequel if sadly only for a brief cameo. here you get to see my favourite food in its none sick pathetic state rampaging through the bad guy camp. you'll get an appreciatation of why we t-rexs are so big and scary... we have to be able to kill these guys!
- Tyrannosaurus Rex the king of the dinosaurs returns once again to be king of the box office. my cousin larry returns to his role as the main dinosaur of the film. this time however he gets to play a male, and his wife would be cast to play this mate...
- Velociraptor with their trimphant breakout role in the first movie the raptors are back (again played by bulkier and less gracile american Deinonychus) to resume their role as the "intellegent" killing machines (but as you'll see in my review i'm sick of that correlation)
however when it became apparent in the writing stage that a second t-rex was going to be needed to play larry's mate speilberg thought it was going to be an interesting casting call due to t-rex solidarity. this was of course not true. humans at some point thought we t-rexs didn't really get along in big groups, but in reality we're all about team work. how else you going to take down a triceratops from a herd if not in a pack?
this resulted in the casting of the biggest and meanest female t-rex they could find (not that it was hard for them to do... girl t-rexs are the bigger meaner members of our species). thus entered teresa the tyrannosaur. much to the humans surprise her and larry got along great so shooting commenced immediately in fears they might not later on...
they got along so great that larry and teresa extended their roles as mates to real life after the movie... i personally don't get it... how a super babe like that ends up such a jerk!
also back were the three Deinonychus from the first film. they were extremely excited to get back into the public lime light, and it would be this second appearance that guranteed them equal popularity to us tyrannosaurs (a move that caused the only tension between larry and Speilberg).
when the script suddenly called for a baby t-rex i recieved my last offer from hollywood! because i'm the smallest tyrannosaur you'd ever seen it seemed the perfect part for me, and as i spoke perfect english and had extensive experience working along side humans i shoulda been a shoein. however when one of terseas nephews auditioned speilberg feel in love with the idea of an authentic "wild" t-rex baby... what does the mean "wild" we're all living in a cenizoic world here! no such thing as the lost world except in this movie!
needless to say i still hold a slight grudge about this too! but as this is a review and not an angry rant i return to the lost world...
the ever famous stegosaurus herd scene from the lost world sums up how this movie nailed dinosaurs in a movie as never before... we were treated like REAL animals, and not just hollywood horror monsters!
even the stegosaurs attack sequence isn't just a typical hollywood random killer dinosaur moment. thinking that their baby is in danger due to the efforts of dr. harding the stegosaur family unit jumps into action to ward off the threat. Though giving the audience what it wants in the form of dinosaur caused danger it gets there through the means of making the dinosaurs motivation both believable and sympathizable.
this same treatment extended to all the dinosaurs (save the raptors, but i'll talk about them shortly). the tyrannosaurs rampaging exploits in this film centre around a families struggle to endure the meddling of humans on their lives.
yes there is plenty of killing and property destruction along the way, but in the end it is all sympathizable and logical. the audience can follow what's going through larry and teresa's characters heads (even if based on slightly incorrect theories by the film makers. in reality we t-rexs were more then immediate family packs. for the movie to have been correct there should have been some 20 tyrannosaurs of various ages and sizes roaming together... but the humans wouldn't have stood a chance!).
so overall the movie was amazing in dinosaur portrayal.
it does have on tyrannosaur quirk that carried over from the first movie that i didn't want to harp on when reviewing the first jurassic park (cause that first movie was such a landbreaking effort), but if i hear the saying "it can't see you if you don't move" i'm going to eat someone myself!
i don't know why larry let that one slip into the script, that alone pop up again in the sequel? we t-rexs are as stereoscopic in eyesight as our small relatives the raptors! you just stand there you make a perfect snack... if a t-rex is ever eying you down get out of there pronto... don't walk RUN!
the only other tyrannosaur bit that had me a little miffed was more due to larry's ego. in the end sequence in which the t-rex rampages through san francisco is larry blatantly trying to one up legendary movie dinosaur godzilla (my personal hero).
don't get me wrong. the san fransico rampage is still a highlight of the lost world. it serves as a brilliant contrast of the human world with an ideal dinosaur world. it encompasses and touchingly acknowledges all modern surviving dinosaurs feeling of being trapped in circumstances we can't control... well and the fantasy of exerting our full saurian might in trashing said oppressive world...
the whole situation in film is done sympathetically of daddy heroically trying to track down his kidnapped child...
it's just larry's performance now that then that bugs me. looking all smug and JERK! like. he may do our species credit on the big screen, but larry is still NO godzilla (whose movies i intend to get around to soon).
the only true disappointment is the velociraptors in the film. here again they are nothing more then "minded" killing machines...
i won't even care had they been treated like the ordinary middle of the food chain predators they are in reality, but this insistence on playing them up as the most intelligent dinosaurs yish...
so are the film makers trying to say the smarter you are the more violent you are?
never once is any real life motivation for the raptors given for their killing spree other then "stay out of the long grass"
despite their silly and overly violent (even for the real life brutes they are) portrayal of the raptors this movie finished off the job of propelling the dromaesaurs into fullout stardom. they now forever onward would rival us tyrannosaurs in popularity and notoriety.
the lost world continued the overall trend of jurassic park of making us cool again.
it also again presented us for the first time convincingly as real animals that once (and still do in some cases) lived.
Dinosaur Human Relations
This was an interesting movie for the issue of dinosaur human relations.
the typical theropod killing humans thus dinos=bad, stereotype persisted a little through the raptor parts of the movies. however elsewhere anytime a dinosaur was harming a human it was due mostly to human related activities.
this movie accurately despicted real life dinosaur life in a human world. actively being captured, collected, and corralled against our will by humans. it brought attention to the plight of modern dinosaurs not lucky enough to have made it in hollywood and thus have been sequestered to theme parks and musuems.
for a short time it looked as though dinosaur rights might make it into the public arena...
alas it was not too happen.
however due to it's nearly raising this issue, and other reasons i'm lead to my
Favourite Scene of the Movie
the dinosaur hunting scene is ironically my favourite scene. not because of it's coolness or fun (that'd go to parts of larry's rampage in san fransico... he may be no godzilla, but i'm a sucker for dino related property damage...), but rather it's all out honest on how humans tend to treat us modern dinosaurs. as nothing more then property and money making objects...
it also had a beautiful side benefit of showing how we actually existed millions of years ago, that had never truely been shown in a movie before. it depicted a multitude of herbvorious dinosaurs cominglating in a natural and dyamic ecosystem. in years past these guys would only have appeared one at a time either to fight or try and kill a human.
in the first jurassic park this reality of multiple dinosaurs coexisting in a natural setting had only been hinted at in the long shot with the brachiosaurs and parasaurolophus.
finally in the lost world this reality would be portrayed in its full glory (though with the dark reality of human interference over this ideal). from here on in dinosaur movies would pick up on this, and contuine to show this (a trend i'll look at in future reviews).
so how does all this add up.
despite the amazingly outdated stereotypical meat eating dinosaurs are mindless (or sorry "minded) killing machines take on the raptors.
the ridiculous t-rexs STILL can't see none moving things plot device
the lost world is otherwise free of flaws.
it for the first time portrayed dinosaurs both plant eating AND meat eating as real animals with motivations and needs
it brought to light many human ills brought on dinosaurs as opposed to the other way round.
most importantly as i discussed at the very beginning this movie truely portrayed a DINOSAUR view of the lost world. not just the human version where dinosaur exist solely to be discovered, captured, killed, or kill...
it was shown as close to a prehistoric paradise as had ever been up till that time...
as of such i give it:
overall score: 100% !!!