The Lost World: Jurassic Park Movie [Full Analysis]

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In 1993, Jurassic Park told a harrowing adventure and brought audiences the most compelling depiction of dinosaurs ever put on the big screen. Four years later, The Lost World: Jurassic Park movie took audiences to the next level.

Incorporating a darker atmosphere that sets the tone for a different type of adventure. The development process for the first film empowered Spielberg, Stan Winston Studios, and Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) with the experience necessary to hit the ground running.

We find that there is another island, Site B, and that the dinosaurs are still alive. These animals have adapted to their environment free from human interference. John Hammond’s nephew has taken control of InGen and plans to bring the dinosaurs back to San Diego to save the company from financial collapse. Hammond sends a group to observe the dinosaurs and hopefully prevent disaster.

Once again chaos abounds as man once again contends with nature. Both teams become the hunted and they must work together to survive. The events that unfold showcase how life found a way.

This film met a mixed reception at the box office. There is a sacred space for the original, and most fans agree that it was the most compelling film. The Lost World Jurassic Park would initiate a saga that would continue to divide the fandom and produce cannon fodder for critics.

Nevertheless, many fans consider this film one of the most exciting in the franchise. The atmosphere of a classic adventure film and the willingness to push boundaries make this film a fantastic way to experience a true lost world.

Making The Lost World: Jurassic Park Movie

The Lost World: Jurassic Park was a natural continuation of the franchise. In the early 90s, there was much to be learned about just how the film would achieve all the action sequences desired. Audiences were becoming more sophisticated and expected realism in film. A dinosaur movie of this magnitude had never been done before.

The decision to blend animatronic creatures with computer-generated creatures proved very successful. After mastering the technology in the first film, the production team was allowed to fine-tune their tools and strive to push the boundaries they encountered in the first film. Michael Crichton never intended to write a sequel but he made an exception with The Lost World. The film went in a slightly different direction than the novel but still incorporated large plot points in a way similar to the first movie.

The first film was in a theme park setting and set out to awe the audience with the wonder of living dinosaurs. The Lost World takes on a much darker atmosphere and provides a moodier feel. Everything from making the sets dirtier to a more mysterious soundtrack, once again scored by John Williams, sets the stage for the feeling of a ‘lost world.’

Putting it all Together

Many of those that worked very closely with Jurassic Park returned to produce the sequel. One of the main goals was to bring audiences an exciting new story will plenty of frightening scenes that would live up to the elevated expectations.

Many new animals were introduced along with the old favorites. Now that the animals were breeding, we witness the variations between males and females and their offspring. The film introduces two Tyrannosaurus adults and a juvenile, reflecting on the craft of Stan Winston Studios. There are numerous physical props that blend seamlessly with CGI creations. Everything from the tiny Compsognathus to the gigantic Mamenchisaurus looks very polished and lifelike. The evolution of the technology and the increasing vision of the team produced an exhilarating film.

While taking the franchise in a new direction, there was no desire to abandon the concepts championed in the original. The dinosaurs are free and thriving when free of human interference and the plot of exploitation versus conservation offers a new conflict. The Lost World Jurassic Park was released in theaters on May 23, 1997, and was very successful.

For more on the production of the Lost World: Jurassic Park movie, check out this article.

The Cast of The Lost World: Jurassic Park

John Hammond

John Hammond

Played by: Richard Attenborough
Bio: John Hammond loses control of InGen after an accident occurs on Isla Sorna. He realizes that extinct animals are best left alone and organizes a team to gather data on the island. He hopes to use their work to garner public support of turning the island into a nature preserve.

Dr. Ian Malcolm

Ian Malcolm

Played by: Jeff Goldblum
Bio: Dr. Malcolm faces public ridicule for his statements regarding Jurassic Park, as InGen orchestrated a successful cover-up of the events. John Hammond tells Malcolm about Site B and asks for his participation in a quest. Malcolm refuses to go but is forced to when he realizes his girlfriend is already on the island.

Dr. Sarah Harding

Sarah Harding

Played by: Julianne Moore
Bio: Dr. Sarah Harding is an enthusiastic paleontologist and the girlfriend of Malcolm. She finally receives the opportunity of a lifetime when Hammond asks her to go to Isla Sorna to study the animals. She has many years of experience with dangerous predators but nothing could prepare her for this adventure.

Nick Van Owen

Nick Van Owen

Played by: Vince Vaughn
Bio: Nick Van Owen is hired by John Hammond to take part in a documentation expedition on Isla Sorna. Owen accepts willingly after a hefty check from Hammond. He soon realizes how incredible these animals are. His concern for the animals and their conservation leads to conflict with the hunters.

Eddie Carr

Eddie Carr

Played by: Richard Schiff
Bio: Eddie is hired by John Hammond for a research expedition to Isla Sorna. His role with the team involves the construction of vehicles and scientific instrumentation. Carr brings some highly sophisticated equipment to the field; however, it is not enough to avoid the catastrophe that ensues.

Kelly Malcolm

Kelly Malcolm

Played by: Vanessa Lee Chester
Bio: Kelly Malcolm is the adventurous daughter of Ian Malcolm. She wishes to be closer to her father and feels he always ignores her. When Malcolm tells her she cannot go with him on the expedition, she stows away in the trailers. She soon regrets this mistake as she is stranded with the others on Isla Sorna.

Roland Tembo

Roland Tembo

Played by: Pete Postlethwaite
Bio: Roland has tracked and killed just about every dangerous animal imaginable. Due to his prior success, he finds life very boring. He accepts a job from Peter Ludlow, to help in the round-up of animals on Site B. He travels to the island to take down a male Tyrannosaurus, the ultimate quarry.

Peter Ludlow

Peter Ludlow

Played by: Arliss Howard
Bio: Peter Ludlow is the nephew of John Hammond. When a little girl is attacked on Site B, Ludlow takes control of InGen. He convinces the board of directors to sponsor a quest to bring back the dinosaurs for a new theme park in San Diego. He views the animals as mere objects of entertainment; he underestimates their power.

Dieter Stark

Dieter Stark

Played by: Peter Stormare
Bio: Dieter Stark serves as second in command of Roland’s team. He plays an active role in the capture and containment of the dinosaurs. Stark shows little respect for the animals, seen using a cattle prod on a Compsognathus for the hell of it. Eventually, the dinosaurs get a little taste of revenge.

Ajay Sidhu

Ajay Sidhu

Played by: Harvey Jason
Bio: Ajay Sidhu is the long-time friend of Roland Tembo, as it is implied the two have gone on many hunts together. In a deleted scene, he is seen meeting Roland in Kenya to enlist him for the expedition to Isla Sorna. He tries to keep the other hunters calm, but his advice is not heeded.

Dr. Robert Burke

Robert Burke

Played by: Thomas F. Duffy
Bio: Dr. Robert Burke is a paleontologist enlisted by InGen for their expedition to Isla Sorna. He and Dr. Sarah Harding often argue about dinosaur behavior. Burke is seen misidentifying the species of Compsognathus, perhaps a jab at the real-life paleontologist he represents (Dr. Robert Bakker).

Dinosaurs of The Lost World

Dinosaurs of the Lost World Jurassic Park
Dinosaurs of The Lost World: Jurassic Park by Tom Parker

The Science of The Lost World Jurassic Park

Why did Pachycephalosaurus Have Such a Thick Skull?

Pachycephalosaurus appears in the film, using its skull as a battering ram and sending a man through a vehicle. There is debate among paleontologists as to how Pachycephalosaurus used its thick head. Originally, it was thought that these dinosaurs were similar to modern goats and rammed heads in inter-species contests.

Some skeptics contend that this was not the case and that it was more likely that the skull was used to ram into the sides of opponents. While more evidence is needed to determine the way in which these dinosaurs used their heads, scientists know that they were indeed used for combat. A recent analysis of potential pathogens indicates trauma.

How Good was the Scent of Tyrannosaurus?

In The Lost World Jurassic Park, paleontologists Robert Burke and Sarah Harding get into a discussion about the likelihood that the pair of Tyrannosaurus would pursue them out of the territory, noting the highly advanced sense of smell of these dinosaurs.

Scientific evidence supports this, as analysis of the T. rex brain cavity reveals a large olfactory bulb and olfactory nerves, signifying an acute sense of smell. Similar to a vulture, T.rex could track a meal from miles away.

Were Dinosaurs Nurturing Parents?

In The Lost World: Jurassic Park, the Tyrannosaurus and Stegosaurus are portrayed as protective parents, actively defending their young from human intruders. While knowledge of dinosaur behavior is limited, we can use modern animals to speculate how they may have behaved. Dinosaurs likely had varying levels of parental involvement, with some abandoning the young immediately after laying the eggs; others may have maintained family units, with individuals at various stages of life traveling together.

Maiasaura, meaning “good-mother lizard,” was one of the most impressive finds which reveals that some dinosaurs cared for their young. Other dinosaurs, such as sauropods, likely abandoned their young after laying the eggs. Their young had developed leg bones and could flee to safety. Further evidence is needed to conclusively say whether or not the animals in the film were caring parents.

How Accurate was Compsognathus?

The Compsognathus longipes is first featured in The Lost World Jurassic Park, adapted from the Procompsognathus triassicus depicted in the novels. In fact, the animal featured may be referred to as Procompsognathus. These animals are portrayed as extremely vicious pack hunters, collectively attacking humans. In reality, there is no evidence of pack-hunting behavior in this dinosaur species. Only two specimens have ever been discovered.

Interestingly, the remains of a lizard preserved along with one of the specimens indicate that it was one of the dinosaur’s last meals. These dinosaurs probably fed on small reptiles, fish, insects, and whatever else they could find. Studies of similar dinosaurs indicate that Compsognathus may have been covered in feathers.

How Did Isla Sorna Support That Many Predators?

In the novel The Lost World, the issue of predator-prey dynamics is explored. The film. however, chose not to address this problem. On Isla Sorna, we witness a variety of predatory animals, which some argue are too high given the number of prey animals on the island. The animals were created to be showcased in a theme park and intended to be supplied with food.

When the island was abandoned, the animals had to adapt to their new environment. Different predators likely filled different niches. T.rex hunted different animals than the Velociraptor and the tiny Compsognathus.

This offers an example where “life finds a way,” as the animals most adapted to their ecosystem may drive others to extinction once again. Certain species would adapt to available sources of food. The flora of the islands likely consists of many fast-growing plants that sustain the dietary needs of the herbivores.

What About the Lysine Contingency?

Amino acids are components of proteins. Most animals can manufacture some amino acids and need to acquire others from their diets. These amino acids needed from the diet are referred to as essential amino acids.

Oddly, lysine was chosen, as most animals, including humans, acquire the lysine that they need from food. The animals managed to survive in this manner after the park workers stopped feeding them.

Best Lost World Quotes

“Uh, where you’re going is the only place in the world where the geese chase you!” – Dr. Ian Malcolm

“Yeah, ‘Ooh, ah,’ that’s how it always starts. But then later there’s running and then screaming.” – Dr. Ian Malcolm

“Mommy’s very angry.” – Dr. Ian Malcolm

“So go ahead, set up base camp right here, or in a swamp, or in the middle of a rex nest for all I care. But I’ve been on too many safaris with rich dentists to listen to any more suicidal ideas, okay?” – Roland Tembo

“A Pachy… a pachy… oh, hell. The fathead with the bald spot. Friar Tuck!” – Roland Tembo

“An extinct animal brought back to life has no rights. It exists because we made it. We patented it. We own it.” – Peter Ludlow

“These creatures require our absence to survive, not our help. And if we can only step aside and trust in nature, life will find a way.” – John Hammond

The Lost World Trivia

The ending of the film was once again altered for a grand T. rex finale. The original ending involved a Pteranodon attack sequence where the pterosaurs attack the rescue helicopters as our survivors attempt to escape the island.

During the final sequence showcasing a CNN report of John Hammond’s interview about the incident, director Steven Spielberg’s reflection can be seen on the screen.

The ship that carries the male tyrannosaur to San Diego was named the S.S. Venture, alluding to the ship of the same name that transported King Kong to New York in 1933.

This sequel allowed the incorporation of scenes from the first novel. These include the opening Compsognathus attack and the Tyrannosaurs waterfall sequence.

David Koepp, screenwriter for the film, makes a cameo as ‘the unlucky bastard,’ who meets his demise when attempting to run into a video store in San Diego.

Photo of author

Steven Mason

I became obsessed with dinosaurs at the age of 5 when I watched Jurassic Park for the first time. I created this website to engage with other people who are as passionate about dinosaurs as I am.

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