Hollywood just can’t seem to stop with the remakes. But I guess that could be considered a testament to the popularity of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s works. I mean, how many Sherlock Holmes movies have there been throughout the years. I think think there are about 10 movies for The Hound Of The Baskervilles alone. Anyways, in the early 90’s someone decided to cash in on the popularity of Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park, and the buzz for the upcoming movie, by remaking The Lost World yet again. So let’s just see how they did with this.
The plot: In 1912 London, reporter Ed Malone goes to his superiors and asks to be assigned to a dangerous assignment and, as a joke, the assign him to get an interview from Professor Challenger. Pretending to be an Italian scientist, Malone is able to get a meeting with Challenger but when Challenger calls him out for being a fraud, the two end up fighting. When a police officer shows up, Malone refuses to press charges, causing Challenger to have a change of heart regarding Malone. He takes him to his study and after showing him the sketchbook of Maple White, he explains how he found Maple White dying in Africa and having seen the sketch of a Pteranodactyl in the book, he went looking for the plateau that Maple White said contained a lost world. He finally saw the plateau and got a glimpse of a Pterodactyl but was unable to go forward due to his leg being injured by Pedro, who Challenger was forced to kill. Emboldened by Malone’s belief in his story, Challenger goes to the Royal Zoological Institute and proposes a challenge to his chief critic, Professor Summerlee, to mount an expedition to prove if Challenger’s claims are true or not. Malone volunteers to go but Summerlee refuses to allow Challenger to go. He also refuses to allow Jenny Nielson, a photographer for the Smithsonian, along as well but the head of the Institute makes an exception when her family finances the expedition. They are also joined by Jim, a newspaper boy who is friends with Jim and had stowed away on the ship. Stopping at a trading post, they meet up with Gomez, a Portuguese man, and Malu, a native girl, who both learned English from the missionary school and are able to act as guides. Challenger joins up with them, much to Summerlee’s annoyance, and they make their way to the plateau. After finally reaching the plateau, they are met by Pujo, a native that was with Challenger on his first trip. Challenger uses a mortar to fire a grappling hook up the cliff face, and Summerlee and Jim climb up, then pull up a pulley, which is used to help the others up the cliff. Challenger, Malone, Jenny, and Malu climb up, and supplies are sent up as well, but Gomez pulls the rope down and strands them up there as revenge for Challenger killing his brother, Pedro. Stranded, they decide to go exploring and discover a pair of Anatosaurus, and Summerlee is forced to admit that Challenger was right. Some time later, Summerlee ends up falling into a cavern and as he is exploring, it is revealed to be a Pterodactyl rookery and he is attacked by the creatures before the others can pull him up. Jim climbs a rock to get a look at the plateau but as he is climbing down, he sees a man painted like a skeleton. That night, Jim goes to see the lake, followed by Malone and Malu, but on the way back, they are stalked by a dinosaur and they are forced to cover their scent and hide for the night. The next day, the return to find the camp has been attacked and Challenger, Jenny, and Summerlee have been taken captive. They follow trail and discover the tribe of skeleton men, who have Challenger and the others, as well as several other people, and are preparing them for sacrifice by throwing them to the dinosaurs below. Jim gets an idea and manages to distract the natives by making a balloon out of Malone’s jacket, allowing Malone to rescue the others. One of the freed natives leads them to his village, where it is revealed that he is the village chief, Palala, and he offers to let them stay with him. That night, Malu explains to the others the tribes history, that Palala’s people and the skeleton men were once the same tribe and worshiped the dinosaurs as gods. However, the witch doctor convinced some of the tribesmen to worship the meat eating dinosaurs while the “good ones” (the plant eaters) were getting sick and dying. When the chief’s daughter, Imana, shows them a baby Pterodactyl that is sick, Summerlee mentions his theory of how dinosaurs died from disease. The next day, he goes to the skeleton people’s tribe with Imana and gathers some plants, which the skeleton people had placed on them for the sacrifice. When the witch doctor sees them, he leads the skeleton people as the chase after the two but when they reach Palala’s village, Malu manages to kill the witch doctor with a sling. Summerlee explains that the plants were medicine, which the skeleton people were placing on the people in order to feed it to the meat eaters and he proves this by feeding some to the baby Pterodactyl, which begins to get better. With the witch doctor dead, the skeleton people rejoin Palala’s tribe and Palala says he will show them a way off the plateau, provided that all six of them return should the need ever arise, which they all agree. Palala guides them through a series of tunnels, which leads them down to the base of the plateau. When they reach their canoes, Gomez fires at them but when he comes forward to kill Challenger, Malone distracts him while Pujo and Challenger try to grab the gun. Gomez ends up getting shot and Challenger chooses to leave him to the jungle. Returning to London, Challenger and Summerlee present their report to the Institute, but when the heads of the Institute claim that the proof they brought was inconclusive, Jim reveals that he brought the baby Pterodactyl back to London with him, which he named Percival. Some time later, Malone, Jenny, and Jim go to zoo, where they see that Percival is unhappy being in a cage so they free him and watch him fly off.
I honestly have one good thing to say about this, and that is regarding some of the casting. Otherwise, this is the worst rendition of the book that I have seen. The acting was good and I think that John Rhys-Davies made a great Challenger. David Warner (Summerlee) and Eric McCormack (Malone) were also good. The story was ok but a lot was changed from the book, primarily the location of the Plateau and the character of John Roxton was left out. The pacing of the movie is also pretty bad, as the first half of the movie is spent with them getting to the Plateau, then they try to cram as much action into the last 35-40 minutes of the movie, with a couple of minutes at the end to wrap up. The special effects regarding the dinosaurs were just terrible. I know that this was a made for TV movie but you would think they could have done better than some very plastic looking dinosaurs. It’s sad when a movie made almost 70 years ago has better looking dinosaurs than a more recent one. Watch this if you are bored and there is nothing else on.
Rating: 1 1/2 out of 5