Even though The Lost World: Jurassic Park is pretty bad, it features some of Steven Spielberg’s more interesting work as a director. It’s a b genre picture, with a huge budget and Spielberg directing it. It even has a cute King Kong reference. It’s a singular film in Spielberg’s filmography—even when he does a terrible sequel like Temple of Doom, it’s not as interesting. None of those statements mean one should see The Lost World. It’s tiring and boring; all of the action sequences are stale.
One problem is the CG technology. It’s gotten away from Spielberg. He can do pretty much whatever he wants, so he doesn’t have to think about it anymore and so he doesn’t. The film rushes from CG sequence to sequence, but nothing interesting. This Jurassic Park is intent on being dumb, not even giving the pretense of intelligence. Jeff Goldblum handles it pretty well, but his character is nowhere near as amusing as before.
Another problem is the script. While Spielberg may be response for Vince Vaughan’s casting and performance, David Koepp wrote some terrible lines for the character. But Koepp has even more problems—he doesn’t have a story. He’s got Vanessa Lee Chester pointlessly running around (as Goldblum’s daughter); she doesn’t even have a real action sequence.
There’s some good acting—Julianne Moore, Pete Postlethwaite, Arliss Howard and Richard Schiff are all excellent. Howard’s a great worm.
Even the John Williams score is peculiar.
But being strange doesn’t make it worthwhile.
Directed by Steven Spielberg; screenplay by David Koepp, based on a novel by Michael Crichton; director of photography, Janusz Kaminski; edited by Michael Kahn; music by John Williams; production designer, Rick Carter; produced by Gerald R. Molen and Colin Wilson; released by Universal Pictures.
Starring Jeff Goldblum (Dr. Ian Malcolm), Julianne Moore (Dr. Sarah Harding), Pete Postlethwaite (Roland Tembo), Richard Attenborough (John Hammond), Vince Vaughn (Nick Van Owen), Arliss Howard (Peter Ludlow), Vanessa Lee Chester (Kelly Curtis Malcolm), Peter Stormare (Dieter Stark), Harvey Jason (Ajay Sidhu), Richard Schiff (Eddie Carr), Joseph Mazzello (Tim Murphy) and Ariana Richards (Lex Murphy).
Jurassic Park series:
Posted in 1997, Action, Adventure, Color, English, Sci-Fi, Spanish, Thriller, Universal Pictures, USA
Tagged Ariana Richards, Arliss Howard, Colin Wilson, David Koepp, Gerald R. Molen, Harvey Jason, Janusz Kaminski, Jeff Goldblum, John Williams, Joseph Mazzello, Julianne Moore, Michael Crichton, Michael Kahn, Pete Postlethwaite, Peter Stormare, Richard Attenborough, Richard Schiff, Rick Carter, Steven Spielberg, Vanessa Lee Chester, Vince Vaughn
Two big things I noticed about Jurassic Park. First, it’s still a superior use of CG. It really shows how digital effects do not get better with technology or budget or whatever; being used by a good filmmaker makes all the difference.
And Spielberg does a fine job with Jurassic Park. It’s an incredibly impersonal film, which the second thing I noticed really showcases. Sam Neill’s protagonist is so shallow, even Bob Peck’s character—who gets no back story—comes off deeper. Some of the problem is with Neill’s performance. He can’t keep his American accent—in fact, at the beginning it seems like he’s supposed to be Australian, but then he starts suppressing it, only to then let it come through. Laura Dern’s character is even more shallow, but she manages to make the character work with her performance. Neill gets better towards the end, when he finally stops whining about not liking kids.
Once the film gets going, it has a fantastic pace. Spielberg’s direction is strongest here in that regard—he knows how to make the film work and does; he also knows how to get good performances out of almost all the cast. Neill isn’t really his fault.
Besides Peck, Jeff Goldblum, Martin Ferrero and Samuel L. Jackson are standouts. Richard Attenborough teeters between endearing and good. He sells his most important scene.
The John Williams score is excellent, the Dean Cundey photography is good (but not singular).
Jurassic Park’s a fine, pseudo-smart popcorn movie.
Directed by Steven Spielberg; screenplay by Michael Crichton and David Koepp, based on the novel by Crichton; director of photography, Dean Cundey; edited by Michael Kahn; music by John Williams; production designer, Rick Carter; produced by Kathleen Kennedy and Gerald R. Molen; released by Universal Pictures.
Starring Sam Neill (Dr. Alan Grant), Laura Dern (Dr. Ellie Sattler), Jeff Goldblum (Dr. Ian Malcolm), Richard Attenborough (John Hammond), Bob Peck (Robert Muldoon), Martin Ferrero (Donald Gennaro), Joseph Mazzello (Tim Murphy), Ariana Richards (Lex Murphy), Samuel L. Jackson (Ray Arnold), B.D. Wong (Henry Wu) and Wayne Knight (Dennis Nedry).
Jurassic Park series:
Posted in 1993, Adventure, Color, English, Family, Sci-Fi, Spanish, Universal Pictures, USA
Tagged Ariana Richards, B.D. Wong, Bob Peck, David Koepp, Dean Cundey, Gerald R. Molen, Jeff Goldblum, John Williams, Joseph Mazzello, Kathleen Kennedy, Laura Dern, Martin Ferrero, Michael Crichton, Michael Kahn, Richard Attenborough, Rick Carter, Sam Neill, Samuel L. Jackson, Steven Spielberg, Wayne Knight