TLW without hesitation. The dark, primordial forest with the rotting remnants of InGen hidden within them was enough to make me dizzy with daydreams as a child. There is something truly terrifying on an instinctual level for you to be trapped on an island, cut off from society, in a dark, dangerous land with creatures everywhere wanting to eat you. Plus, I loved the dusty plains of the game trail, where military aesthetic vehicles chased down huge dinosaurs. Or the babbling creek bed with the foraging Stegosaurus
. The dinosaurs themselves had a great aesthetic. More jungle-themed and less 1980s themed in their colorations. The wardrobe, too, was very military mixed with safari, evoking the image of a great African hunt from a bygone time. Everything about the movie just carried a great swell of danger and mystique.
It just has so much depth. I mean, when critics say a movie has depth, I don't really get it, but with TLW I can practically feel it. There's just so much there and watching it you feel like what's there and what you feel the first time is barely any of it. There's just so much of the movie I could swim in it. It's got no clear cut antagonists, nor clear cut protagonists, the sets are amazing in that what you see on film feels like it's not even half of what's actually there. Watching the movie, it's the little things that make the biggest impact, and make you think "wow, they actually included that!" The locations are so mysterious and the whole Isla Sorna just kinda screams "You have left the Earth you know behind and have entered the world of dinosaurs". It reminds me of those old dinosaur documentaries I used to watch as a little kid, the ones that featured the old, mossy, coniferous, fern ridden world. A world that looks like it was standing in time. A lost world.
I feel like what we don't see is just as important as what we do. The shadows, and the darkness that takes away finer details also adds a sense of mysteriousness into the mix and that mysteriousness is one of the things I love about the movie. How you don't know what may be trudging through that shadowy forest, or what horrors may be lurking in that derelict building. It extends the dangerous feel from more than the "local" fauna itself; it's that feeling that the very setting isn't your home. That you, as a human, are very out of place here. I think this is easily expressed from the moment that Hammond's team sets foot on the island. They're trudging along a shallow creek, so very far from civilization, and suddenly they here thundering footfalls, and groaning. They have no idea what it is, only that it's "something big". The audience is made to think that it could be a coming at them, but what a wonderful surprise it is for both audience and the characters to see a beautiful herd of gigantic Stegosaurus to pass before you. It tells you that not only is there deadly beauty here, there is also mysterious beauty as well. And when things do go to hell, you find that the forest, which has already set itself up to be dangerous, can become an antagonist itself with Dieter getting himself lost inside it. "The Lost World" is supposed to be darker and more serious. If you watch any of the interviews regarding the film, Spielberg explicitly says his intent for "The Lost World" was to make it a more foreboding environment, and a call back to the grimy, dingy jungles found in Spielberg's childhood dinosaur and creature features like "King Kong" and early takes on Arthur C. Doyle's "The Lost World". "The Lost World", in every way, was meant to be a darker experience. From the very beginning, the concept itself portrayed Isla Sorna as a very dank, dark, and dangerous place.
There is much usage of backlighting, and silhouetting of the dinosaurs in "The Lost World". It takes on more of a horror story quality than the first, using much more expressive shadows and a deeper sense of isolation. One of the most amazing things in "The Lost World" is the theme of containment. The whole point of the movie is almost exactly the opposite of the last: instead the animals breaking free of containment, they need to be contained on this tropical island. The island does not really feel like a tropical island at all. The only time you realize that it is a tropical island is when looking at it from the beach or from the sea. It kind of reminds me of Chief Martin Brodys line from "Jaws" - of course, another Spielberg film - "It's only an island if you look at it from the water". Indeed, the entire island as it is represented in the film and in the concept stage looks more like a mainland than anything else. The mountains go off into the distance, with misty clouds and other landscapes following. The first thing we are described when Dr. Ian Malcolm's team arrives on Isla Sorna in Dr. Michael Crichton's book is the volcanic lip surrounding the island. In the book, we are given set locations, and constant reminders that this entire experience is contained. We are consistently being reminded that we are on an island. Not so much with the film. The film works completely on the theme of lack of containment. Catch a T. rex
and put him in a cage? He breaks out! This whole constant theme of containment and breaking free, then attempting to contain again, only to once again break free is done, dare I say, even better in the movies than it is in the books! No doubt, Crichton makes a masterful case for Complexity Theory and other mathematical theorems that intricately explain the reason Jurassic Park fails in the first book, but where the theme of control and containment comes in, that is all Spielberg. Spielberg masterfully crafts an entire literal world from "The Lost World", and it is so creepy, yet so adventurous.
It's also a grand continuation of that theme of containment, playing god, and of nature breaking through the barriers we believe we can use to control it. Does TLW take a different turn from JP? Definitely, but then again, this is meant to be a Jurassic Park movie where the dream has been crushed, and Hammond is taking his last efforts to redeem himself for the Jurassic Park Incident. In that way, TLW is a direct, natural continuation of the note we ended upon in the first film: the crushed dream and nature broken free. TLW is as different from JP as it is similar. Cinematographically, atmospherically, and orchestrally, TLW takes the end of JP and takes it a little further. It provides itself as a natural continuation of Jurassic Park rather than trying to replicate it in with new twists.
As Dennis Muren said of TLW:
- Quote :
- "We wanted to maintain the sense of realism; we didn't want the audience to feel like these were trained animals. We wanted it to feel like you never knew what one of these dinosaurs were going to do two seconds from now. And it's hard to get that feeling into animation. We got it into the first film and we made sure that we kept it in the second film."
"I also wanted to be more flexible with the camera, so that everything seemed more spontaneous and natural. For example, the Stegosaurus is walking through the shot and the sun if flaring the lens. You tilt up into these amazing plates on his back. That was something that we after we put the shot together and just treated it as though it was shot on a location. But of course it wasn't. We shot the empty plate and then we put the Stegosaurus in, and we thought, 'Wouldn't it be interesting if we tilt up and see these plates on his back?' And that tilt up gave the shot a documentary look."