Picks and Pans Review: The Lost World: Jurassic Park

updated 06/02/1997 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/02/1997 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Jeff Goldblum, Julianne Moore, Pete Postlethwaite, Vince Vaughn

They're big, they're back, and they're on the attack even before the title appears. The Lost World: Jurassic Park, director Steven Spielberg's sequel to his 1993 blockbuster, is a nonstop, 134-minute thrill ride with rapacious prehistoric monsters at every turn. When these oversize reptiles (there are some vicious baby dinos too) eye a human, their only thought is, "One chomp or two?"

The plot, very freely and not all that coherently adapted from novelist Michael Crichton's bestseller, has something to do with dinosaurs from the first movie having survived on a nearby island. Richard Attenborough, who played the entrepreneur behind the disastrous, dino-filled Jurassic Park in the original film, briefly returns here to recruit chaos expert Goldblum, another survivor from JP1, to survey the dinosaur stock on the new island. "Don't worry," Attenborough tells Goldblum. "I'm not making the same mistake." Replies Goldblum: "No, you're making new ones."

Goldblum is right, of course. No sooner has he landed on the island than the dinos (both computer generated and animatronic) come running. Many accomplished, scary and downright gory set pieces later, Goldblum and surviving crew (including his paleontologist gal pal, played by Moore, and his daughter, played by Vanessa Lee Chester) depart the island only to learn that an evil businessman (Arliss Howard) has shipped a live T. rex to San Diego. At this point, Lost World becomes Godzilla, with the T. rex stomping around residential San Diego, slurping up swimming pools, munching on traffic lights and giving full vent to his carnivorous instincts.

What all this mayhem accomplishes—other than scaring the heck out of an audience, selling oodles of related merchandise, giving some decent actors a chance to earn a big paycheck for screaming their lungs out, and showing once again that nobody can manipulate images and viewers like Spielberg—is an open question. Maybe it will be answered in Jurassic Park 3, which, judging from the final shots in Lost World, is already being story-boarded. (PG-13)

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