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 Finding the Lost World: A Review of The Lost World and Jurassic World

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BarrytheOnyx
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PostSubject: Finding the Lost World: A Review of The Lost World and Jurassic World   Fri Jul 08, 2016 12:43 pm

This is perhaps the most interesting review of The Lost World and Jurassic World I've yet seen. It doesn't claim that either sequel is a smart or competent film, never mind a decent successor to Jurassic Park, but it is very analytical and insightful and doesn't simply lambaste either film like a Nostalgia Critic knockoff. Essentially, the review takes the meta, self-aware angle that arguably could be prescribed to Jurassic World and takes it to it's full logical extreme.

The reviewer posits that Jurassic Park was never meant to exist as a franchise because any attempts to replicate or recapture the magic of the original is automatically doomed to failure. The reviewer perceives The Lost World through the same meta-textual lens that a number of critics and fans have viewed Jurassic World, as a meta, self-critiquing commentary on the blockbuster landscape and the very idea of a Jurassic Park sequel existing at all. It is a very fascinating look at the character and story changes and parallel between the various films, linking such figures as Nedry and Grant to Roland or Nick respectively. The video notes the changes between different styles of filmmaking, from the early 90s to the late 90s and then the 2010s.

There are a lot of legitimate critiques for both films, such as the observations that the heroes in The Lost World don't survive by intelligence and strategy but by action, brute force and having enough mercs for the dinosaurs to eat in contrast to the original cast who survived thanks to their wits and cooperation. In the same way, the critique of Jurassic World's strong reliance on CGI, colour-grading and digital compositing in post-production to manufacture setting and atmosphere instead of lighting, practical effects and or sets, and especially the overly bright, blueish aesthetic of Jurassic World. I'm sure the latter critique will resonate quite strongly with a few of us here at JP Portal.

Despite this being a mostly engaging view, I have a fewproblems with it. Some of the editing choices are a little odd, like the repeat of the JP3 "Alan!" scene, or inserting Ian Malcolm's bizarre laugh at random by suggesting The Lost World is an intentional parody of the first film. The reviewer also believes that all this vast divergence from the sophistication of the original was purely intentional, which I do not believe for one key reason: it was never on Spielberg's mind to either top or diminish the first film but simply to make as decent a sequel as possible, even if the reception was as mixed as it was.

I also heavily disagree with some of the harsher language he takes up regarding the two sequels' existence, such as "capitalizes", "cheapens" and "bastardizes" . I can understand the first part since this is now Universal's biggest and arguably most prestigious multi-media franchise, but the latter two are incredibly harsh and far too extreme to be applied to any Jurassic sequel. Even as bad as I found many parts of JP3, it still pales in comparison to many of the nastier blockbusters of well known intellectual property like the Transformers movies, the much maligned Terminator sequels that aren't T2: Judgement Day (not hating on anyone, this is just an example), or similar cynical cash-grabs like the Twilight franchise.

Overall, I enjoyed this video, it's neither too harsh or scathing on either film to prove unwatchable and it's analysis had me thinking about the whole Jurassic series in this same manner through a metatextual commentary on the changing styles and approaches to big budget film-making. Now that isn't to say I agree with everything the video says, but I did find it interesting enough to recommend to my fellow fans here. Now I leave the floor open to everyone else, what do you think of this review? Was it an interesting analysis or was the reviewer looking too deep into things?


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CT-1138
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PostSubject: Re: Finding the Lost World: A Review of The Lost World and Jurassic World   Fri Jul 08, 2016 1:26 pm

I think he's a bit negative towards TLW, and almost nihilistic towards it's existence. It makes for a depressing review, and makes one question why he would even choose to acknowledge the film period. He's wrong that the movie was a sell out of the franchise. That happened in Jurassic Park ///. He does bring up some interesting points about the characters being mirrors of the ones in Jurassic Park, and I think that's a very interesting analysis. He makes some interesting points, but ultimately comes to the wrong conclusion about the movie. 

Aaaand now his Jurassic World review. Here, he comes to the correct conclusion, but for the wrong reason. Jurassic World does know that it's a movie about Hollywood corporatism. The movie was even going to even have the CGI iRex tear apart an animatronic Tyrannosaurus rex attraction. However, the CGI isn't a product of this. The CGI is just CGI, and he's definitely reading too much into that. However he does bring up some interesting points about the usage of lighting and atmosphere. Jurassic World doesn't really have that much in that department. 

It just doesn't feel right. It feels sterilized. There's an over abundance of shiny metallic surfaces that turns me off from the film on an aesthetics level. It's a good movie, but to me, it lacks that "Jurassic Park" feel that makes it a great Jurassic Park movie. It's like somebody took the Visitor Center kitchen aesthetic and applied it to a whole park. Like I said, sterile. It feels more like an Orlando theme park than the resort of Jurassic Park. I suppose this is a matter of personal preference, but I will always enjoy the resort feel from the first movie more. I'm a guy who enjoys an island resort with thatched roof buildings, rich wooden inlays, and intricately carved thematic pillars. I like being chauffeured around in a spacious American made SUV, seeing dinosaur from the plush comfort of a car seat, and enjoying fine dining in the Visitor Center's buffet. I'll take than any day over the banal. boring, theme park environment that I could get in Orlando, or 6-Flags. I'm a guy with expensive tastes. I will say that one thing I think the designers did for "Jurassic World" that was better than "Jurassic Park" was improving the dinosaur sighting experience. In the old Park, the enclosures were much too big, and you couldn't see anything. I mean, if the test tour was to be your average tour, no thanks. I wouldn't pay that much money to not see dinosaurs. Another complaint I have is about the state of the Visitor Center in "Jurassic World". It's horribly unrecognizable. It wasn't until the boys opened the doors, and they made that "oomph" noise from the first movie that I recognized it as the Visitor Center. 

Watching Spielberg's "E.T. The Extra-terrestrial" (1982) the opening felt so much like a Jurassic Park movie. Little E.T. standing there in the middle of a foggy coniferous forest at night. The shots of E.T. running around trying to evade the UFO researchers and all we see is E.T.'s arms sticking up out of waves of ferns, got me thinking "'E.T.' is more like a Jurassic Park movie than 'Jurassic World' is!" The way the movie is shot, with an abundance of exterior lighting. Most of the scenes in E.T. are shot with minimal artificial set lighting. Almost every scene uses the lamps, or the light fixtures, or the sun coming in through the windows to create lighting for the set. It's all very moody and mysterious and really gets you immersed in the movie. "Jurassic World" is too bright. There's too much artificial lighting. The film itself looks too modern. It doesn't have the cinematographic feel of an '80s or '90s movie. There's not enough fog, there's not enough grain in the film, there's not enough mood, the sets don't convey enough emotion. You don't feel an imminent sense of danger for the human characters out on main street during the big dinosaur rumble. The Tyrannosaurus getting smacked around feels more emotional for the viewer than it does seeing Grey almost get grabbed by the iRex.

The first movie felt incredibly isolated and distinctive in its natural setting. Especially in the scenes set up to and after the tropical storm. Scenes like the Gallimimus stampede, the T. rex chasing the jeep, and Sattler's dash to the shed/Muldoon's demise. Even when they're in the middle of the park, it doesn't feel like they are. They felt like they could been in the middle of the jungle, miles away from any building. "Jurassic World" doesn't feel like that, though. It has no distinct atmosphere. Each of the films used their sets to an advantage, having the actors use the set as they were a character, interacting with it as much as possible. "Jurassic Park ///" doesn't have this as much as the first two, but compared with the interaction the sets get in "Jurassic World" they might as well shot the entire thing in a studio. It doesn't feel nearly as much like humans are encroaching on the jungles and the dinosaurs territory as it did in the previous movies. The entire island feels more artificial than it ever has before. Again, this is all to further the anti-corporatism theme of the film. Nothing about the jungle feels, well, alive. It's all just an amusement park gone wrong. The plains of dinosaurs on the Gyrosphere ride are all well manicured lawns, there's not a hint of crabgrass or a weed anywhere. It's all just overly artificial, and places too much weight on the anti-corporatism theme.

I also disagree with his view of Hoskins. Hoskins is not a deep character, and he's not meant to be. He's nothing more than a cartoonish villain. A means to an end, where he bridges the concept of nature to war. He's trying to turn nature into war, and thus is the foil to Owen, who turn war into nature. He's ex-Navy, but he's on the side of nature. Hoskins is just a goofy villain, not exactly anything more than that. 

I'm not even going to touch Zara. Razz


Honestly, my favorite review of TLW is from Chris Stuckmann. Why? Because he understands what Spielberg was trying to accomplish. He understands Spielberg's idea. That now that we've proved we can bring dinosaurs to life, now he have to prove that we can use them to their full potential. That's why Janusz Kaminski makes everything more silhouetted, more shadowy, dark, and covered in foliage. It's meant to be be a little on the side of the avant garde rather than the showy, beautiful, magnificent, graceful movie we got the first time around. It's darker, more dangerous, more wild. It's the ruins of Jurassic Park. It's the result of nature that's broken free. 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. The Lost World has ruins of InGen lying in the middle of the jungle, being swallowed up by the jungle. When Nick goes to the communications center in the Worker Village, he has to rip vines away from the radio. It's a perfect physical representation of the Ian Malcolm's line from the second novel, "Nature, always ready to reclaim what belongs to it." The Lost World is about the long shots, it's purposely shot in a documentary style. 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."
The Lost World is the far superior sequel in my mind. It's 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 it has to. It cannot just repeat the first movie. It has to stand on it's own, and I like that about the movie. 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.
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PostSubject: Re: Finding the Lost World: A Review of The Lost World and Jurassic World   Fri Jul 08, 2016 4:08 pm

CT-1138 wrote:
I think he's a bit negative towards TLW, and almost nihilistic towards it's existence. It makes for a depressing review, and makes one question why he would even choose to acknowledge the film period. He's wrong that the movie was a sell out of the franchise. That happened in Jurassic Park ///. He does bring up some interesting points about the characters being mirrors of the ones in Jurassic Park, and I think that's a very interesting analysis. He makes some interesting points, but ultimately comes to the wrong conclusion about the movie. 

Aaaand now his Jurassic World review. Here, he comes to the correct conclusion, but for the wrong reason. Jurassic World does know that it's a movie about Hollywood corporatism. The movie was even going to even have the CGI iRex tear apart an animatronic Tyrannosaurus rex attraction. However, the CGI isn't a product of this. The CGI is just CGI, and he's definitely reading too much into that. However he does bring up some interesting points about the usage of lighting and atmosphere. Jurassic World doesn't really have that much in that department. 

In looking over the video I posted again, I realize I might have posted something I might not entirely agree with. I actually hew more towards the opinion that The Lost World is a very good film in it's own right and far better than it's critics make it out to be. I didn't realize the reviewer's brutal nihilism towards the film until a second watch, I was more taken in by the analysis presented and thought it was a fresh take on a much-watched film. It wasn't my intention to make anyone reading this depressed or upset, for which I apologize.

With Jurassic World, I feel he was coming to a good conclusion but for a myriad of reasons - not all of them correctly line up. I feel your analysis on the film is more on point.
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