Urban Cinefile  
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Tuesday September 15, 2020 


Based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's novel, The Lost World is the story of a scientific adventure at the start of the 20th century, in which Professor George Challenger (Bob Hoskins) and Professor Leo Summerlee (James Fox) lead Lord John Roxton (Tom Ward) and London Gazette reporter Edward Malone (Matthew Rhys) into the Amazon to take back to the disbelieving establishment proof of dinosaurs living in a small, remote plateau, where Challenger has sighted them on an earlier trip. They are joined by Agnes (Elaine Cassidy) who lives with her uncle Reverend Theo Kerr (Peter Falk) in the Amazon among Indians. They face deadly danger from not only man eating dinosaurs, but a primitive form of humans.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
This BBC production for television is from the team that made the extraordinary doco series, Walking With Dinosaurs - so they know their dinosaur dung. Here, the animatronic and CG skills are turned to action adventure, set against the final vestiges of Victorian England and attendant scientific narrow mindedness. Dr Doyle knew of many things medical, but he knew the heart of man even better, hence the ending of the story, in which the adventurers realise that delivering proof of living dinosaurs and other exotic creatures to a bunch of selfish snobs in England will surely be the death warrant for the very life forms they struggled so hard to find - and understand.

The BBC series is now a lengthy DVD movie, accompanied by a rather good 30 minute documentary which is not a mere cut and paste of clips and EPK (electronic press kit) but a dedicated, researched and interesting feature in its own right.

New Zealand is no longer Middle-earth but the Amazon for this production; using white water, jungle and mountain settings, The Lost World is a genuine adventure in the classic mould, with a clear three act structure that introduces us to the characters and the purpose of the action, takes us through the adventure in considerable detail and with some spectacular scenes, before returning us to London more or less safely - but certainly entertained.

The cast of old and young are uniformly excellent, there is a touch of romance and a touch of scientific discussion about evolution and the like, and some wonderful dinosaurs (some of them flying) as well as stunning scenery.

The audio commentary that accompanies the film by director Stuart Orme and producer Christopher Hall is nicely chatty but also informative and entertaining. Their dry English humour comes across well, and there is a decent sprinkling of anecdotes; a shoot like this one is clearly ripe with them. They discuss all the aspects of production in an easily accessible manner, including the difficulty of casting South American Indians in New Zealand. Aha, but they found a Chilean soccer team in Christchurch and a Brazilian in Auckland!

Technically excellent, the dual layer DVD offers big, crisp images (so clear you can even pick up a boom operator in the background of one scene) and rich sound, including the majestic score by Robert Lane. Ideal for kids and adults alike (the M rating is a trifle harsh and refers to medium level violence and adult themes, but any self respecting 12 year old should be able to deal with it), The Lost World should help prod the intellect while entertaining the couch potato.

Published July 11, 2002

Email this article

You can buy it HERE - next day delivery within Australia


CAST: Bob Hoskins, Peter Falk, James Fox, Tom Ward, Matthew Rhys, Elaine Cassidy

DIRECTOR: Stuart Orme

RUNNING TIME: 145 minutes (feature only)

SPECIAL FEATURES: commentary by director Stuart Orme and Producer Christopher Hall; 30 minute documentary, Inside The Lost World


DVD RELEASE: July 8, 2002

Urban Cinefile 1997 - 2020