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The Lost World AND|
Return To The Lost World
cast: John Rhys-Davies, David Warner, Tamara Gorski, Eric McCormack, and Nathania Stanford
director: Timothy Bond
95 / 90 minutes (PG) 2002
MIA DVD Region 2 retail
reviewed by Paul Broome
Arthur Conan Doyle's tale of a lost kingdom, patrolled by dinosaurs, is a classic of
English fiction. It's full of action, drama, and larger-than-life characters and has
an explosively memorable finale. Many, many film and TV adaptations have been attempted
(several in the wake of Jurassic Park, of course), and this has to be both one
of the worst and also one of the most entertaining. Quite how it manages both, I'm still
Anyway, a quick synopsis for those not in the know... Young American
journalist Edward Malone (Eric McCormack from Will And Grace) is looking for a
break in the competitive world of London journalism. After begging his editor for a
difficult assignment he is sent off to interview the volcanically ill-tempered Professor
Challenger (John Rhys-Davies, Gimli in the
Lord Of The
Rings) - after a brief bout of fisticuffs, Malone wins the trust of Challenger
who confides in him his latest discovery: the Lost World - a world which he stumbled upon
during a previous expedition in Africa, an expedition cut short due to sabotage. However,
the scientific community holds his claims in derision, and Challenger's archenemy Professor
Summerlee (David Warner - file under: nasty smug English bloke) is at the forefront of the
opposition. In order to prove once his discovery once and for all, Challenger proposes a
new expedition to be led by Summerlee. And off they go (accompanied by Malone, young pretty
American photographer Jenny Nielson (Tamara Gorski), Jim the 13-year old stowaway, and exotic
African guide Malu).
All manner of exciting things happen from here on in, not least the
confirmation that Challenger has indeed discovered his Lost World - complete with rubber
dinosaurs! Of course, something goes a bit wrong, so they have to put it right, and Challenger
and Summerlee become buddies, and Jenny falls for Edward who is falling for Malu, and the
rubber dinosaurs go 'grrr'. Then they go home, and guess what, the scientific community still
doesn't believe them! Until... But I won't reveal the climax - which in the book is big and
impressive, and in the film is... erm, 'cloying'.
The acting is nothing short of okay: Rhys-Davies and Warner respectively
provide their usual 'gruff but loveable bear of a man' and 'smug anal Englishman' roles,
McCormack also gives his usual 'Mr Nice' performance, Gorski is watchable, and the rest of
cast have about as much characterisation as the decidedly dodgy hand-puppet dinosaurs. Indeed,
it's hard to believe that little over 10 years ago, this is the best an SFX department could
come up with...
The sequel (obviously made at the same time as the first film) features
the same kind of stuff, but this time with a slightly 'edgier' plot involving the potential
destruction of the Lost World by a greedy profiteering Belgian oil prospector - who unwittingly
awakens a dormant volcano (in between throwing natives off of cliffs). The heroes are reassembled,
come back to save the day, and do their eco-warrior bit for the dinosaurs. (Indeed, it's hard
to believe that Conan Doyle had quite so many politically-correct notions in his original text...
so I think judicious reinterpretation has been carried out here, hence the give away 'based on'
prefacing Conan Doyle's name). While there's probably more action in this film, it's also much,
All in all, entertaining viewing for a Sunday afternoon - but don't go out
of your way to see these two, and don't expect to be awestruck by the special effects.
DVD extras (on both discs): trailer, very basic text biographies of the
main cast (proving that they have actually made some good films!) and the director, a small
selection of stills. In other words, not a lot!