Park" and "The Lost World" on DVD
Jurassic Park became one of the most popular movies in history (at least
until "Titanic" came along!), and it isn't
hard to see why.
Steven Spielberg directs this movie version of Michael Crichton's page-turning
novel about a theme park based on cloned dinosaurs. The book was fabulous,
even though Crichton had actually covered the "technology run amok in
a theme park" storyline many year before, with "Westworld."
It's appropriate that Spielberg made the film; it's "Jaws" all over again, but with even more fantastic
monsters - and it was an excuse to advance the state-of-the-art in special
effects as only Spielberg and his friend George Lucas (whose Industrial
Light and Magic effects facility created the digital dinos) could do.
And, while there's maybe a total of 25% of the book in the movie, they've
definitely done it right. They've done it so right that you forgive small
lapses in logic (like why does the T-Rex paddock at one moment appear
relatively flat and then suddenly have a huge dropoff in it?).
By now everyone knows the story, so we won't belabor it here. Suffice
it to say this is Spielberg at his best, opening your eyes wide with awe
one moment, then twisting your guts around inside you the next. Spielberg
can play his audience like a violin, and "Jurassic Park" is the maestro
at his most polished.
All of which makes us doubly disappointed in "The Lost World," a sequel
so bad it could only have been made for the money - as if Spielberg/Crichton/Universal
The Lost World is everything Jurassic Park isn't. It's ponderous, pompous,
overbearing, and - a mortal sin - it's BORING! Sure we want to see more
dinosaurs, but geeeez!
Part of the problem may be that it's also based on a novel - and Crichton's
"Lost World" is just as pale a shadow of the original work as is the movie.
"The Lost World" is set mostly on an island near the site of "Jurassic
Park." We learn it's actually the place where the technology and the dinosaurs
were created - only later were they shipped over to Jurassic Park's island
to be put on display.
Never mind the questions about how you get a Tyrannosaurus Rex to step
into a shipping crate for the trip, or why they were birthing Raptors
at the site of the original flick.
We've seen it all before and "The Lost World" doesn't really offer us
anything new except for a "King Kong/Mighty Joe Young/Valley of Gwangi-inspired"
section at the end in which a T Rex gets loose in San Diego - a part that
actually ends up being the best part of the film precisely because
it doesn't just rehash the first film.
Both "Collector's Edition" DVD's are in widescreen, Dolby Digital 5.1
though, surprisingly for a Spielberg film, they aren't THX mastered. It
isn't a big deal, however; audio and video quality are terrific, and your
subwoofer will get a nice workout.
We had a severe problem with what appeared to be the layer change on
"Lost World." The picture suddenly got all digitized, the movie froze,
and there it stayed for several seconds. When it finally deigned to pick
up again it was several minutes further into the movie and no matter what
we tried we couldn't get it to go back to do it properly. Hopefully this
is an anomaly...
"Jurassic Park" includes over an hour of extras, including "a direct
hotlink to the set of Jurassic Park III" (the fact that they're making
this movie fills us with dread!). There's also "The Making of Jurassic
Park," some early preproduction meetings, some of Phil Tippett's animatics
(early animation test storyboards) as well as an abundance of other production
goodies and notes. There's even a trailer for "JPIII" but it shows absolutely
nothing, which leads us to wonder what they're hiding.
Lost World's extras include many of the same as with the other disc (except
for this movie, of course) including a dinosaur encyclopedia, trailers,
Jurassic Park, from Universal Home Video
127 minutes, Widescreen (1.85:1), Dolby Digital
Starring Sam Neill, Jeff Goldblum, Laura Dern, Richard Attenborough
Produced by Kathleen Kennedy and Gerald R. Molen
Written by Michael Crichton and David Koepp, Directed by Steven Spielberg
The Lost World, from Universal Home Video
129 minutes, widescreen (1.85:1), Dolby Digital
Starring Jeff Goldblum, Julianne Moore, Pete Postlewaite, Arliss Howard
Produced by Gerald R. Molen and Colin Wilson
Written by David Koepp, Directed by Steven Spielberg
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