"Lost World" was obviously going to be looked at incredibly harshly after the success of "Jurassic Park". Although the film itself isn't as successful creatively as the original, it's still not a bad picture and has some entertaining moments. While this sequel proved that there's still territory with the series to discover, the third film will have to certainly go in a different direction to be engaging.
Dr. Ian Malcolm(Jeff Goldblum) is the main cast member that returns, this time along with a daughter (Vanessa Lee Chester) and a palentologist girlfriend(Julianne Moore). They bring along a photographer(Vince Vaughn) and an equipment specialist. On the other hand, another team is also heading towards the island to capture dinos to be used in a theme park in San Diego.
The problems start in the very begining, which takes way too long to get started. Characters are slightly less defined than the original film, including a stereotypical "bad guy" in Arliss Howard's leader of the second team. The daughter of the Goldblum character is somewhat irritating; the kids in the first film were scared but well-written - about another character, this girl says "she doesn't even have Sega!". The few good lines have obviously been reserved for Goldblum, such as the gem at the begining, "oooh, ahhh...that's always how it starts. And then there's the running...and the screaming."
Once the movie really gets going, it's really more of a matter of filler between action scenes, some of which are remarkably entertaining - some of which that seem like a repeat, aren't. The scene that's always going to be in everyone's memory is a scene where characters are "holding on by a thread" - I won't ruin it.
The film definitely has some problems, but I still think it provides an entertaining couple hours. Where the first film was "classic entertainment", this film is just "basic entertainment".
VIDEO: The 1.85:1 anamorphic transfer that Universal has produced is striking. Being only a couple of years old, the film offers a crystal clear image with no signs at all of print flaws such as marks or scratches. Only the slightest trace of pixelation shows up, but this is very brief and hardly noticable.
Sharpness is excellent throughout; detail and clarity are very good too, even in the darkest sequences. Colors are similarly as enjoyable as they were in the first film - the deep greens of the jungle looking beautiful and very well-saturated. Locations and cinematography both look stunning and well-rendered on this DVD. Black level is solid and flesh tones are accurate and natural. Like the first film, this is a great presentation.
SOUND: The best summary for the sound in "Lost World" is this: take all of the elements that made "Jurassic Park" such an exciting soundtrack, and turn them up to "11". Louder, more agressive, more powerful. You can practically feel the roars of the various dinosaurs as they fill the room.
Surrounds, as one might expect, get very impressive use here, and are even more active here than they were in the first film. In fact, as the film goes further all of the speakers work together to create a sonic assault that was extremely thrilling. Even slight background sounds are captured very well and very clearly, making for a natural-sounding environment. Bass is very, very powerful at times, and really tops off the exciting sound that the film offers. Certainly, this is one of those films where I feel the need to warn that if you have neighbors, you may want to watch the volume when you play "Lost World".
The John Williams score sounds dynamic and impressively clear, filling the room with ease. All speakers really work together remarkably well to build a complete surround environment here. Dialogue remains natural and easily understood, even in the most busy sequences. Praise here goes to the brilliant Gary Rydstrom and the rest of his sound crew who have crafted a great experience. Other films that Gary Rydstrom has worked on? Oh, "Titanic", "Saving Private Ryan", "The Haunting" and "A Bug's Life", among others. His name on a film's credits is a guarantee of fantastic audio.
The DTS version of the film, like the DTS version of "Jurassic Park", offers some noticable, but not major improvements over an already very good Dolby Digital edition. Bass seems deeper and fuller at times, and the soundtrack as a whole seems more seamless and effective in the way that it envelops the viewer in various sound effects, making for a more complete "surround" experience. Smaller details are brought out and become more apparent here as well. Again, like "Jurassic" DTS I found the general audio quality here to be slightly cleaner, richer and more pleasing to listen to for the length of the film. This is a very powerful soundtrack at times, and although it's also quite agressive, I liked how none of the sound distracted me from the film - it only brough the environment into the room around me. Again, the DTS version does a bit better job at completely building that seamless environment around the listener. The DTS "Piano" trailer plays before the film.
MENUS:: The menus are generally the same style on "The Lost World", only slightly different pictures that have more to do with this film.
EXTRAS: Again, there are some extras that are not included on the DTS version of the film, such as galleries of artwork and a couple of deleted scenes. The main documentary thankfully remains, though.
Making "The Lost World": A nearly one hour look at the making of the film, this documentary is an impressive look at the technology that was improved between the two films and how this was used to make more remarkable, more agressive dinosaurs. There is a bit of interview footage towards the begining that gets that whole basic information element out of the way, then we are re-introduced to many of the effects crew who we met on the documentary for the first film.
Technical information is nicely mixed in with footage and talk about what it is like to be on a Spielberg set shooting a film; how the director works, etc. Definitely an entertaining and informative documentary that provides a detailed look at the making of "The Lost World".
Trailers: Trailers for "Jurassic Park", "Lost World" and again, the very basic teaser for "Jurassic 3". All in Dolby 2.0
Also: Production notes, cast/crew bios.
Final Thoughts: The choice remains with the viewer whether they want minor improvements with the audio in this DTS edition or if the missing extras here that are on the Dolby version are more important.
Video 97/A = (388/400 possible points)
Audio: 99/A = (396/400 possible points)
Extras: 85/B = (265/300 possible points)
Menus: 89/B+ = (178/200 possible points)
Value: 88/B = (264/300 possible points)
DVD GRADE: A
Film GRADE: C