Steven Spielberg Admits The Problem With The Lost World: Jurassic Park

By Dan Lawrence | 2 months ago

jeff goldblum

“Welcome, to Jurassic Park.” That is surely one of the most iconic quotes of modern cinema, spoken by the late, great Richard Attenborough to the backdrop of John Williams’ legendary score in Jurassic Park. The only problem is that it’s difficult to follow up a classic and that proved to be the case when Steven Spielberg sat back down in the director’s chair for The Lost World: Jurassic Park. However, after talking to The New York Times back in 2016, Spielberg spoke candidly about why the film didn’t hit home as well as its predecessor.

The quote came about whilst Steven Spielberg was busy promoting his then latest directorial release The BFG. The prolific filmmaker said, “Confidence is my enemy and it always has been. My sequels aren’t as good as my originals because I go onto every sequel I’ve made and I’m too confident. This movie made a ka-zillion dollars, which justifies the sequel, so I come in like it’s going to be a slam dunk and I wind up making an inferior movie to the one before. I’m talking about The Lost World and Jurassic Park.”

That quote not only shows that Steven Spielberg is a mere mortal and has an Achilles heel in the form of confidence, but it even shows that not even the greatest directors get it right every time, even if going off the back of a winning formula. It’s worth noting that The Lost World is the only sequel that Spielberg has come back to direct other than those in the Indiana Jones franchise. Perhaps this quote serves as proof as to why. Slash Film covers this sequel fatigue and suggest that the poor reception of the last Indiana Jones movie, The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, may have had an impact on Spielberg’s decision to forgo directing duties for the upcoming fifth installment of the franchise. Instead, Indiana Jones 5 will be helmed by James Mangold, who has had profound success recently with the likes of Ford vs. Ferrari and Logan.

Is Steven Spielberg being too harsh on himself when he infers that The Lost World is a dud? Not really as it turns out. If you were to analyse the film’s performance on Rotten Tomatoes-an act that has become somewhat of the norm in recent years-the film can firmly be classed as average at best. The critics’ score for the film is a paltry 53%, aligned almost perfectly with the audience rating of 51% which speaks to an almost unanimous downplay on the film having anything of merit. The site even goes on to say in its critics’ consensus that: “The Lost World demonstrates how far CG effects have come in the four years since Jurassic Park; unfortunately, it also proves how difficult it can be to put together a truly compelling sequel.”

In spite of the film’s poor critical reception, Steven Spielberg’s The Lost World still pulled in respectable box-office numbers, with a worldwide gross just shy of $620 million according to Box Office Mojo. Those numbers certainly did enough to garner another sequel in Jurassic Park III, although that film suffered poorly in the eyes of both the box office and critics. Many would have thought that would have spelt the end of the Jurassic Park franchise, but Universal resurrected the saga with the record-breaking Jurassic World in 2015, a film that has now spawned two sequels. The latest Jurassic World offering is Jurassic World: Dominion, which is set to hit theatres worldwide in June of this year. The film unites the newer cast members such as Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard, with the favourites of yesteryear in Laura Dern, Sam Neill and Jeff Goldblum. So, The Lost World may not have been everything that Steven Spielberg hoped it would be, but it’s safe to say that both he and the Jurassic Park franchise have continued to prosper since.