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JUST HURLED (spoiler)

WARNING: delete message now if you are sick and tired of reading critiques of
_The Lost World_. This is yet another one.

Britain still being the backward, isolate community running to catch up with the
rest of the developed world that it still is, 'The Lost World' has now come out
over here. I missed out on my special preview ticket thanks to work, but went
to see it on Saturday just gone. Here are my thoughts.

                              NOT HALF BAD

Dinosaur effects were impressive overall. I was very impressed with the short
time it took to actually see some _dinosaurs_ in the movie - but perhaps that's
because I've seen JP too many times. CG stegosaurs were impressive, if rather
dud at being so absurdly big and anatomically inaccurate (stegosaur necks do not
articulate in a straight line and the ossicle pouch on the throat was definitely
absent in the film). If the adults could move as fast as they did, surely the
baby would have been fleet footed, and wouldn't have just stood there to let
some potentially dangerous alien species touch its head. If the dinosaurs were
real (this goes for the scene where they released the animals from the cages
too), I know I would not want to put my hands near their mouths. Even weak-
jawed stegosaurs could doubtless sever a human limb. But I'm being pedantic.

Dr. Harding's IQ was surely lower than that of the stegosaurs: touching the baby
when bad-attitude multi-ton parents would kill to defend it. The stegosaur
defensive scene was awesome.

Look for the Doug Henderson (Chinle scene?) painting in Hammond's room.

                            DINOSAUR STAMPEDE

The all-too-short highlight of the film, for me, was the stampede sequence. I
was expecting to see it nearer the end, but earlier on was fine. The
_Mamenchisaurus_-motorbike bit was amazing (I suppose the mamenchisaurs should
really have had dermal spines down their backs). Besides _Parasaurolophus_
individuals and pachycephalosaurs, there were also a few big ornithomimids in
there. The '_Pachycephalosaurus_ that rammed the jeep' scene was highly amusing
and looked superb. But what kind of a dinosaurologist was Dr. Burke? You'd think
he'd have at least mentioned the phrase 'tongue in groove'.

Burke was not nearly as irritating as I imagined he would be: in fact, I rather
liked the character. His death was therefore not a much-awaited scene and when
it happened it was a real anticlimax. The waterfall sequence was stupid: more
on that later.


I don't know who started these rumours about the tyrannosaurs being 'only 60%
accurate', as they looked (to me anyway) pretty much spot-on. The heads were
very accurate with hornlets and bosses in all the right places - note also that
the male had some kind of festering injury on his right jugal. I'm still a bit
perplexed as to how the tyrannosaurs got so low down to the ground (during the
tent scene) without toppling over: maybe they were using their arms as props;)

The 'something stuck to my foot' scene looked better than I imagined I would,
and, contrary to negative comments from other listers, I think the foot and the
man were to scale. I have in mind a JP-promo shot where Laura Dern was sitting
between the feet of the _Tyrannosaurus_ puppet. Remember also that it wasn't an
entire human body stuck to the dinosaur's foot: only his chest was.


The compsognathids captured much of the essence given to the procompsognathids
in the book _Jurassic Park_, they moved well and the swarming behaviour looked
nice and gory. Up close the robotic versions weren't 100%, but then what can you
expect. For those of you that are wondering, the compsognathids in the film had
3 fingers. Digit I was short and without a claw. 


The dromaeosaurs were hilarious: kind of like xenomorphs on acid. Males were
apparently rather brightly coloured (recall that all the animals we saw in _JP_
were females) with yellow, red and dark brown tiger stripes, but as the
dromaeosaur scenes were at night, the colours could not be appreciated. Then
again, my colour vision isn't good, so perhaps others may differ in their views.


The pteranodonts (there were 3, not 2) at the end were perhaps the least
accurate of all the creatures in the film - whoever designed them was obviously
not using high-fidelity GSP skeletal reconstructions for reference. _Pteranodon
ingens_ has a gently upcurved beak with an upper jaw that overhangs the lower
somewhat - in contrast to the creature in the film whose head came straight out
of a 1970s kid's book on prehistoric life. The wing membranes were attached to
the legs at about knee-level, a la Wellnhofer. 

                          TOO STUPID FOR WORDS

Unfortunately, I can only sum up most of the film as 'too stupid for words'.
Seeing as we're all (;-)) sooo fond of acronyms here on dino-l, I'll refer to
this as TSFW from hereon. I really enjoyed all the stuff on the island, but as
soon as the film turned into 'The Dinosaur Who Ate San Diego' I just found
myself thinking: TSFW. I figure you Americans must make your buses out of
nothing but aluminium, with no kind of supporting chassis. Only that way could
the tyrannosaur's head make the kind of dent it did. TSFW. 

-The rich English family who chose to sip wine and nibble sandwiches on an
incredibly noisy, non-idyllic beach. TSFW.
-The gymnastics scene with Malcolm's daughter vs. _Velociraptor_. TSFW.
-The jeep pulling the great big trailer back up off the cliff edge. TSFW.
-The seismic tremors and huge puddle-ripples made everytime a tyrannosaur  
walks. TSFW
-Dr. Harding. TSFW.

A problem (one that also occurred in _JP_) is that dialogue in these films is
often drowned out by sound effects like falling rain or stampeding animals.
Consequently many crucial bits of information and even a few mildly amusing
jokes are missed by and large: hardly anyone in the cinema caught the joke where
the hunter tried and tried to pronounce _Parasaurolophus_, eventually throwing
the field guide away and referring to it as 'the big one with the red horn on
its head'.

As mentioned above, the waterfall scene with the tyrannosaur was TSFW. Couldn't
the screen writers think up a scene that _hadn't_ already been played out in the
book _Jurassic Park_? Couldn't they resist the idea of a prehensile-tongued
tyrannosaur? Puh-leeez.. I suppose it's because some people find reptile tongues
repulsive that we must have this 'nasty predator licks cowering cast' in all
contemporary monster movies (we got it in _The Relic_). Cut it out: it's dumb.

Similarly, Burke lived nicely up to his name by panicking at a little harmless
snake. OK, maybe he didn't see that it was a harmless milk snake (_Lampropeltis_
of herptoculture fame), but surely all but the most extreme of ophidiophiles
could have put up with a little snake crawling through their clothes for a short
while - especially in preference to the five-foot head of a giant predatory
theropod. Obviously Burke wasn't modelled too closely on Uncle Bob - he's a man
who likes his reptiles.


I've read in some other posts how parts of the film looked to be based on
monster genre movies. I looked out for these, but evidently missed most of them.
I guess the tyrannosaur walking through the forest, as seen from the high hide,
and moving all the trees as it went along, was based on 'King Kong'. Baby
tyrannosaur in the pit was obviously 'Gorgo'. 

                              NEXT TIME

Obviously the third JP film will succeed the previous two in diversity of
dinosaurs shown, and minutes of film that include dinosaurs. I want to see:

-more shots of tyrannosaurs eating people
-theropods swimming (come on, why didn't we get the logical progression of
tyrannosaur-on-dockside to tyrannosaur-in-water)
-sauropods pushing trees over
-sauropods using tail whips
-dromaeosaurs climbing trees
-ceratopians stampeding
-big theropods taking chunks out of big herbivores
-big herbivores biting stupid humans who come too close
-parent dinosaurs with - not one - but about 30 babies

And, of course..
-dinosaurs mating

But having said all this, I'm going to see the film again tonight. I have to go,
my Tamagoshi needs feeding.

"Have you been attacked?"