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YMMV / The Lost World: Jurassic Park

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  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Like Lex and Tim before, Kelly is this. Some like her for being one of the few sane characters and for being a Little Miss Badass by using her skill in gymnastics to kick a Velociraptor to its death, while others hate her for that very reason along with being a Kid-Appeal Character and The Load for most of the movie.
    • Nick Van Owen, with half of the film's Broken Base seeing him as a firm example of a Designated Hero and the other half seeing him as a badass second only to Tembo.
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  • Contested Sequel: While the first movie is generally very well liked, opinions on The Lost World are all over the place, and it might have as many fans as opponents. The upside is that there are more dinosaurs and the action sequences are really exciting. The downside is that the script is sloppy and the characters are divisive.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: The half of the movie's Broken Base that is Rooting for the Empire is prone to this regarding antagonists Ludlow and Tembo. The latter is at least somewhat understandable, being a Noble Demon badass. But the rex's rampage at the climax is entirely Ludlow's fault for his and his men's incompetence allowing it to escape in the first place. In Tembo's case, the fans' appreciation is more justified, Spielberg actually cut a scene from the movie where Tembo (with one hand literally tied behind his back) beats the shit out of an obnoxious guy who was sexually harassing a waitress in a bar because it made him too sympathetic, and arguably cooler than the protagonists.
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  • Ending Fatigue: Once the main cast gets rescued off the island, we see that InGen has successfully bagged a T. rex which makes the heroes feel they have ultimately lost. This seems like a decent drop-off point and Sequel Hook, but the film continues for another thirty minutes so the T. rex can terrorize San Diego for a second climax.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Roland Tembo, a badass and cool Great White Hunter with principles, and Eddie, one of the few genuinely likable, helpful and sympathetic good guys in the movie. Coincidentally or not, they're among the only characters who don't do anything that would qualify as particularly stupid in the film, along with Ian Malcolm.
  • Epileptic Trees: A sadly now defunct Brazilian fansite proposed that the Spinosaurus in the third movie stowed away on the boat and is the reason for the massacre there, before returning back to Isla Sorna. Putting aside the logistics of this, there were also fan rumors of deleted scenes stating there intended it to be raptors that were later killed by the Tyrannosaurus. However the shooting script and early drafts make it clear there were no other dinosaurs on the boat and the buck Tyrannosaurus was responsible for the deaths on the SS Venture.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Roland Tembo's parting words to Ludlow ("I believe I've spent enough time in the company of death.") are particularly sad once you know that Pete Postlethwaite battled his testicular cancer for over 20 years. He died in 2011.
    • Ludlow cites SeaWorld's success as one of the reasons to display dinosaurs in San Diego. Flash forward to a decade worth of sea mammal abuse controversies, up to being forced to discontinue the captivity of orcas altogether, and citing the park to justify anything now sounds downright asinine.
    • After Ludlow attempts to set up camp on a game trail, Tembo chastises him in a long speech that he caps off with "I have been on too many safaris with rich dentists to listen to any more suicidal ideas, okay?" This line hits a bit harder in the aftermath of the death of Cecil the lion, a beloved African lion in Zimbabwe who was killed by an American dentist as the result of a big game hunt.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • The Velociraptors ambushing and killing the unsuspecting hunters wandering in the long grass brings in mind of Pokémon to modern audiences, especially with the line "Don't go into the long grass!"
    • Any scene between Nick and Sarah, given Vaughn and Moore's roles in Gus van Sant's Psycho remake the following year.
    • For Black Humor, the fate of Dieter Stark, likely reduced to Ludicrous Gibs by the compies is this regarding the infamous woodchipper scene from Peter Stormare's previous film, Fargo. Spielberg even joked that Stark's/Stormare's fate was deserved for this very reason (as well as the fact that Stormare's characters from both films were complete jerkasses).
    • The Bakker Expy, Burke (whose first name also happens to be Robert), gets eaten by a T. rex. This prompts the real Bakker to call his rival Dr. Jack Horner (who was a consultant on the film and staunchly advocates that T. rex was a scavenger) and gloat "See? I told you T. rex was a hunter!"
  • Just Here for Godzilla: Just here to watch the T. rex rampage through San Diego. All the marketing focused on that rampage.
  • Memetic Mutation: "Don't go into the long grass!"
  • Narm:
    • Ian shouting "SA-ra" like he's doing a Christopher Walken impression.
    • Aside from being rebellious towards Malcolm here and there, Kelly seems fairly mature. But, then there's an out-of-nowhere moment while they're in the wilderness, where she whines "Carry me" to him, the way a 4-year-old would.
    • Ian whispering to Ludlow that "Now you're John Hammond" after seeing the T. rex escape the boat in San Diego is supposed to be seen as a in story Take That!, but it is a bit funny because the way Ian whispers it him, and the fact that it just kinda comes out of nowhere.
    • Sarah whispering "Oh no," when she wakes up and realises the blood on her vest from the baby T.Rex has led the parents straight to the camp. It's Oh, Crap!, but it also sounds like she's only just realising that she should have gotten rid of the vest several hours ago.
  • Older Than They Think:
    • This is not the first live-action appearance of Stegosaurus and Compsognathus in the franchise. Both species made an Early-Bird Cameo in Jurassic Park: The Ride, which opened at Universal Studios Hollywood a full year before this film in 1996. Additionally, Compys were supposed to appear in the first film and scenes featuring Compy models were even filmed for the scene where Rexy escapes her paddock.
    • On top of that, both also featured in the original novels. (Technically it's Procompsognathus in the novels, but they fill the same roles and are virtually identical — one of Burke's lines even acknowledges this by flubbing the compy's name as Compsognathus triassicus, combining the genus of one with the species of the other.)
    • In terms of aesthetics, at least, the Roland Tembo character takes a lot of cues from Dr. Snare, a non-canon character from the Jurassic Park Series 2 toy line.
  • One-Scene Wonder: The Mamenchisaurus only appears during the scene where InGen is rounding up as many dinosaurs they can find. It hasn't made a single on-screen appearance since then.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: This movie saved Malcolm from being The Scrappy for some people. While he is still a divisive character overall, here he is more levelheaded and less of a smart-aleck after his experiences in the first movie, and he is also a Papa Wolf over the safety of his daughter. He's also one of the few characters to respect how dangerous the dinosaurs are.
  • Retroactive Recognition:
    • Camilla Belle plays the young girl in the opening of the movie.
    • Toby Ziegler (Richard Schiff) gets eaten by T. rexes.
    • In a Freeze-Frame Bonus, future horror filmmaker and actor Eli Roth appears as an extra reading a newspaper in the subway sequence.
  • Rooting for the Empire: Furthering this film's status as a strange kind of forerunner to Avatar there is a segment of its fandom that actively roots for its villains.
  • The Scrappy: Poor movie Sarah falls into this thanks to her wildlife expertise being an Informed Ability and her most badass moments from the book being left out.
  • Signature Line: "DON'T GO INTO THE LONG GRASS!!!"
  • Signature Scene:
    • The opening of the film starts with the debut of the iconic Universal logo and theme.
    • The T. rex's rampage through the city of San Diego, Godzilla-style.
    • The attack of the parent T. rexes after the kidnapping of their offspring.
    • The male Rex poking his head in tent and then his mate chasing the rest of the group through the thick trees.
    • The hunters going through the long grass, which unfortunately for them is Velociraptor territory.
  • Special Effect Failure:
    • The baby T. rex is clearly an animatronic.
    • When Roland and Ajay are at the Tyrannosaurus nest, the infant looks up at them, then the perspective changes to the humans and its head is down eating, but when it cuts back, its head is still up.
    • In the scene where it destroys the conference tent at the InGen camp, there's a clipping error with the CG Triceratops' tail.
    • Sarah has to duck to avoid getting hit by a Stegosaurus tail early on. Unfortunately, there's a puddle nearby that fails to reflect the tail.
  • Spiritual Adaptation: Some people, like James Rolfe, find that the last third of the film (where the T. rex attacks San Diego) is more faithful to the idea of an American Godzilla film than the actual American Godzilla movie that came out the following year.
  • Strawman Has a Point: The InGen corporation are portrayed as evil because they want to recapture the dinosaurs from Isla Sorna to recoup their losses from the first film. While they were pretty ruthless, as well as dicks with the exception of two (hunter Roland Tembo and his friend Ajay), their argument that the dinosaurs are their rightful property does have at least some merit. When the protagonists accuse them of destroying the island's 'natural' environment, the Corrupt Corporate Executive points out that they created the dinosaurs and introduced them to the island in the first place, millions of years and thousands of miles from their actual long-gone natural habitat. The heroes can only respond to this with Nick trying to start a fight. This is one of those cases wherewhat's right legally may or may not be what's right morally, but it's certainly not as cut-and-dried as Malcolm's party (or his detractors) likes to present it. However, Spielberg expects us to see the InGen team as objectively evil and Malcolm's team as unquestionably good, ruining any opportunity for nuance.
    • Malcolm himself comes across like this. Unlike the other "main" protagonists, he is understandably terrified and almost certainly suffering from PSTD from the previous film's events, yet none of his "friends" or even his girlfriend take him seriously, despite him having very reasonable fears about the island, as most of its inhabitants are either prehistoric predators, or walking territorial tanks. This is especially evident with the rexes, as Malcolm only survived his initial encounter through sheer luck that Rexy didn't bite him in half. One scene that sticks out is when he's trying to convince them to leave, Sarah just loudly talks over him, and seems to think escaping a dinner with his parents is a good example of when Malcolm has failed to "rescue" her to justify staying on an island full of what are essentially monsters. This all leads up to Malcolm's group essentially causing the deaths of many people through ignorant or just plain stupid actions, such as Nick taking the shells from Tembo's elephant gun just before a T. rex attacks and Sarah not getting rid of a jacket covered in baby rex's blood, on an island full of things that mostly hunt by scent.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: The film is radically different from the plot of the book. Many fans would have preferred if the film had stayed closer to the book's plot and had Lewis Dodgson and Biosyn as the film's villains.
  • Too Cool to Live: Eddie Carr. He's a tech expert who brings with him, among other things, a never-compromised high hide and an instant-action poison dart gun. When Nick and Sarah go to release all the dinosaurs from the InGen camp, he wisely sets up the high hide instead. He also quickly thinks up and executes a plan to save both the trailers (with their communications equipment inside) and his colleagues, just minutes after encountering the carnage wrought by the Tyrannosaurus family. Sadly, he gets gruesomely killed for his troubles, his equipment is either abandoned or destroyed, and after a few comments by Ian and Roland, the film basically forgets all about him.
  • Took the Bad Film Seriously: Roger Ebert noted in his review that Pete Postlethwaite was the only cast member who "seem[ed] convinced that he [was] on an island with dinosaurs, and not merely in a special-effects movie about them." As such, everybody roots for him.
    • While it’s not a bad film by any means but many critics felt that it would have feel into this territory if it wasn’t for Jeff Goldblum and Pete Postelthwaite.
  • Tough Act to Follow: Keep in mind that this was not only a sequel to Jurassic Park, which revolutionized dinosaurs and CGI in film forever, but it was also Steven Spielberg's first film following Schindler's List, often considered to be his best. Few would dispute that both of them are better than this one. This trope also amusingly applies to Spielberg's next film, Amistad, which was also released in 1997 as his first non-genre film since Schindler's List and also saw a lot of unfavorable comparisons.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: John Hammond is supposed to come across as a benevolent old man who just has the dinosaurs' best interests at heart, but it's pointed out within the film that he's knowingly bankrupting a global conglomerate which no doubt employs thousands of people to do so, for a problem Hammond himself created in the first place because of his pride. Also, given the implications that he's in poor health, his sudden conversion to environmentalism seems more like a rather selfish deathbed confession than a real act of altruism.
  • Vindicated by History: In an odd flip-flop manner when the film first came out reception was decent, but not great. Then in the early 2000s to 2010s the film was the target of ire, especially in comparison to the first film and then Jurassic World; so much so that sites of franchise fans often specifically had pages bashing it. But following the release of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, many have started to look back more fondly upon this first sequel for still playing on themes from the original while still managing to do something unique and different, with online reviews shifting from bashing on the film for perceived flaws to praising aspects of it lost on earlier reviewers. It's often said that this film, while still preachy and environmentalist, remains an exciting adventure blockbuster that keeps its messaging in the background of the action, whereas Fallen Kingdom is preachy and environmentalist to the point that it borders on cringy. Part of this probably stems from Fallen Kingdom being a Recycled Script version of Lost World down to the title, as MaryAnn Johanson pointed out in her review of the former. Both have good environmentalist-types go to the island in hopes of protecting the dinosaurs, but greedy industrialists (the ringleader of whom has a personal connection to John Hammond) have other plans for the creatures that involve bringing them to the mainland. Having Lost World's protagonist appear in the Book-Ends of Fallen Kingdom only makes the similarities harder to ignore. Nowadays the sentiments are typically that it's the second or third best of the franchise.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: Has the same effects team as the first movie with several more years of experience and refinement with a higher effects budget. What do you expect? For many fans of the franchise, this is the best looking of the whole series.
    • The full size Tyrannosaurus rex animatronics sport more detailed skin, greater mechanical power, and finer movements than the original. The result is a pair of machines who could operate in torrential downpour and inside a waterfall, physically tear apart a car, and lift up actors by their legs to yank them through the air without hurting the stunt actor.
    • The CGI also is widely regarded to have held up even twenty years later. Stand out scenes that are well regarded often include the tall grass attack, the trailers being attacked and knocked off the cliff, Eddie’s death, game trail dinosaur roundup which has dinosaurs in broad daylight that ages far better than the first film's, and the buck T. rex having a rampage across San Diego after breaking out of the boat.
  • What an Idiot!:
    • Sarah Harding. Where to start? Despite allegedly being an expert at working with animals, the first time we see her she makes possibly the worst mistake imaginable (and one even an average person would know to avoid): She deliberately walks up to a young Stegosaurus and touches it. Several moments later its parents nearly kill her. Further highlights of her 'expertise' include helping let the dinosaurs out of their cages, whereupon they go on a rampage; and keeping a shirt that is soaked with the blood of the T. rex baby, even after Roland points it out to her and she realises that the blood isn't drying out in the humidity.
    • Nick van Owen brings the injured T. rex infant to camp immediately after freeing all captured dinosaurs on the InGen base, leading directly to the loss of both campsites and the untimely demise of Eddie Carr. He later unloads Roland's rifle, leading to even more mayhem and carnage when the T. rexes track down their new camp.
    • Astonishingly, experienced hunter Roland Tembo does not examine his gun and its ammunition when picking it up after it has been out of his sight and control. He should have opened the rifle, checked to see that the shells were intact and undamaged and that the barrel was clear (something everyone should do when picking up any firearm). This is after he sets it down and wanders away, leaving it in sight of a known eco-saboteur. He's also the first person to notice Sarah's dinosaur-blood soaked shirt, but does not advise her to get rid of it.
    • The InGen crew restrained the rex... but didn't bother to take precautions if it woke up or even bother to restrain it sufficiently that it couldn't break free. This incompetence is the reason it ultimately escapes.
  • The Woobie: The Baby T. Rex, as well as Roland after hearing Ajay had died.


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