Honestly, it's been an issue for me my entire life, so I can assure all of you that I'm definitely aware of it. While I could go into a 1,000 word essay about the circumstances of my youth and the resulted upbringing, I just try each and every day to find something good to say about not only myself but also the world around me ... and -- as you know -- most of that includes my sounding off on film, television, and more. These forms of arts speak to me in ways that I like to write about, and -- if nothing else -- penning a reflection about a certain project -- be it good, bad, or ugly -- is my own form of therapy that helps to keep me sane in these troubled times that we call life.
But, yes, I definitely know cynical when I see it, and 1997's horribly tepid The Lost World: Jurassic Park finally had me losing faith in Steven Spielberg as a storyteller.
Essentially -- and feel free to disagree with me as so many of you do -- I saw the film as little more than a tired theatrical rehash of the first picture's vastly better moments. Gone was the emphasis on true thrills and chills owed to actually caring about central characters, and -- as best as I can tell you was intended in its place -- was the usual Hollywood messaging about how science can be bad, especially when it's attached to pure exploitation. Well, the same could be said for this tripe: capitalism -- when executed with bringing little to nothing new to the table -- is equally nefarious.
That's how this second foray into Jurassic Park mythology felt: a cash grab.
Hey, hey, hey! Don't get distracted now! I'm not saying it wasn't a complete and utter waste of time. All I am trying to convey here is that the first picture clearly had a purpose and a beating heart. As a franchise, I think Jurassic has always had some mighty prehistoric legs to begin with; and that's been proven over the years with revisits to this realm of Fantasy. But when all of that magic is stripped away and you're left with just one sequence after another that resembles nothing more than -- say -- Friday The 13th with dinosaurs, then what's the real attraction? The Lost World felt like a commercial blunder whose sole attempt was box office receipts when it should've been yet one more examination of science-gone-awry and mankind paying the consequences for its hubris. (Yes, we did learn that in the first one, but what else is there to say about science-gone-awry?)
And because it felt derivative ... because it felt lazy ... because it felt at times even campy and uninspired ... I cannot put the blame at the feet of anyone but Steven Spielberg. He was the grand marshal to this whole affair, and I expected him of all people to know better before going back to the well so quickly.
That's ultimately how The Lost World: Jurassic Park made me feel. It was merely an attempt to earn sold solid green on the back of what had come before. Spielberg's involvement in such a commercial venture felt cheap, and I'll likely never forgive him for this one.
As always, thanks for reading ... and live long and prosper!