The thrill of justified nostalgia from seeing Jurassic Park in the cinema again drove me to hunt down the sequel, half-remembered as an enjoyable romp that didn’t live up to its predecessor. The Lost World has its merits – it’s a silly action film that’s genuinely fun for much of its running time – but, unlike Jurassic Park, it doesn’t live up to fond childhood memories. The first half is enjoyable: for example, the twin T-rex/campervan sequence might not capture the magic of the first film’s T-rex scene, but it’s an enjoyable imitation.
The second half demonstrates a backslide due to uninspired screenwriting – it’s undeniably silly to unleash a T-rex into downtown San Diego, but the film takes itself far too seriously for the silliness onscreen. The chilling lethality of the velociraptors is squandered as they are defeated by gymnastics. There’s so many problems here: why has the idiosyncratic “rock star” mathematician, Ian Muldoon, been reduced to a generic action hero? How did all the people on the freight ship die? How did the famously loud T-rex sneak up on someone?
There’s still some fun – often campy fun – to be had here. Plus, Cameron from Ferris Bueller gets eaten by a dinosaur!