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The Lost World: 19 Years Ago

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What was your reaction to The Lost World: Jurassic Park if you heard it when it was released in 1997?

 

Jurassic Park was a very important score for me. It was the first soundtrack CD i bought, after seeing the film 3 times and listening to the entire CD many many times in my local record shop.

 

I was already quite the soundtrack fan, but Jurassic Park sealed the deal, forever!

 

So I was excited when i picked up the sequel score 4 years later. The film hadn't come out here yet. Williams had of course done a few score in the years between, but nothing really of the action/adventure type like Jurassic Park.

 

On my way home i the train I wondered about the rather weird "dinorama" cover, and the lack of liner notes. But that didn't dampen my enthusiasm.

 

And then I heard it.

 

That was possibly the most puzzling first listen of a new score ever. Jurassic Park was huge, and its themes very well known. I couldn't imagine that the sequel score wouldn't continue with them.

 

Yes there were a few statements here and there of the Island fanfare. And apart from the cool and menacing The Lost World theme it really didn't sound like there were any new recurring themes. And when the Jurassic Park main theme finally appeared in the end credits, it was played far too fast.

 

There were moments of dark brilliance and coolness obviously. And I loved what John did with the percussion. But in the 4 years between I had started to collect his other more easily available Spielberg scores, and  Star Wars etc.

 

This just felt completely different to his other big blockbusters. I actually came away a bit frustrated and disappointed.

 

Bit I kept at it and soon it's brilliance began to reveal itself to me. Seeing the film help to make sense of why the music was the way it was. And pretty soon I acknowledged it as a masterpiece. For me personally it was the doorway into what would become modern Williams.

 

Now 19 years later I can't wait to discover this score again!

 

What was your first experience with The Lost World?

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I reacted pretty much like you. I was flabbergasted as to why it was so different in tone (even though JP has its fair share of menacing music, this was far more tribal territory with hardly an outrovert theme to boot). BUT....before the score was released, and I saw the movie, I had read in FSM (I think it was one of the Kaplans) that the score allegedly was very "Stravinsky", so I was somewhat mentally prepared that this would be a different kettle of fish.

 

Steadily, but slowly, the score gained in appreciation and now I consider it an awesome score (and film)!

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The film is possibly Spielberg's worst. It's certainly his most clumsily assembled film in terms of plot. You can see the only reason it was made was because the first film was huge.

 

However the action scenes are superb, it does actually do something different than the first film and even today the effects look outstanding. Better than Jurassic World.

 

And while most of the cast are completely unlikable (what happened to Malcolm?), Postlewaite is excellent.

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I remember that my initial reaction to the score was very mixed. I became a film music and Williams fan thanks to Jurassic Park so I was expecting something along the lines of the first score and was really surprised by the music of the sequel. The Lost World was my first ever CD, not just soundtrack, so that alone makes it special but at first I was a bit puzzled as the score was so dark compared to the first one and the themes were heard only in fragments and just like Stefan I thought the concert version at the end was performed far too fast.

 

But the score really grew on me over time and I started to dig the jungle atmosphere and the percussion and the rhythms were irresistable and I came to appreciate the unique sound the score had. Now I consider it one of Williams' most unique efforts and am deliriously happy to hear both JP and TLW on the John Williams Jurassic Park Collection as those two scores are (along with Schindler's List) pretty much responsible for my iniation to the mystery of John Williams. :)

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Absolutely (except JURASSIC WORLD, which I didn't care for -- at least not as a JP film). But the bias is based on value judgements and analysis over many years, so it's not like it's just 'blind devotion' or anything. I remember fighting similarly for A.I. since its premiere, but that is thankfully getting the respect it deserves now. THE LOST WORLD, not so much, unfortunately. But I remember liking the film even when it came out in '97.

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Yes good point, the special effects are perfect in this film - indeed much better than Jurassic World's.

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I would have preferred that Spielberg had retained the original action packed ending on the island for TLW. I am not too fond of the "visitor in San Diego" section (although it has awesome music).

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Do we know what the original ending would have been?  Was it ever storyboarded?

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17 minutes ago, Jay said:

Do we know what the original ending would have been?  Was it ever storyboarded?

Yes there is a documentary on the DVD release (on Blu-ray too I bet) where they discuss the original ending which would have included a motorbike chase and a furious battle against the pteranodons while trying to board the rescue helicopter. It might have been over the top but that would have been interesting to see. Sadly they scrapped the whole thing.

 

But one of the best scenes in the film is still the whole trailer sequence. One of those classic Spielberg nail-biters.

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Yea, totally, I'll never forget Julianna Moore on that grass as the cracks spread... great stuff.

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I also loved those little scenes which took material from the original JP book and transplanted into this new story like the opening beach attack of the Procompsognathi and Dieter's death down in the riverbed, being swarmed by the little dinosaurs, which was the way Hammond died in the original book.

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I still vividly remember the river chase and hiding behind the waterfall as the t-rex tongue comes in from the first JP book

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The film has so many great scenes and moments, I wouldn't know where to start and stop. And I don't mind the 'gymnastics' routine that everyone keeps harping on about, as if the whole film is valued out of that moment alone. Goofy? Yes, but fun. And it fits with her story arc.

 

I'm not too thrilled with the San Diego sequence as part of the film, but I don't mind it in and of itself -- it's so chockful of details, it's almost hard to keep up.

 

Also, the film has one of my favourite sound edits of all time (this is my clip, btw, uploaded 4 years ago and not taken down yet!):

 

 

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I was 12 when TLW came out in cinemas. I can't really remember my reaction (I probably loved it given I was in that demographic) but I very clearly remember putting on my coat and preparing to leave during the shot of the helicopter over nighttime San Diego. Definitely thought that was the end. I just watched a trailer from 1997 and it didn't have the San Diego scenes at all. If it was released today, that would probably be the movie's main selling point, and the poster would be that shot of the Rex against the city skyline.

 

Nowadays, I think the movie is really underrated. It is immediately following both the original JP and Schindler's List both of which are classics, so I guess TLW had unrealistic expectations. But if Spielberg's intention was to make an entertaining adventure movie, he certainly achieved his goal. There are some great shots and the cast is fantastic - in fact JP3 could have been so much greater if Pete Postlethwaite returned as Roland instead of that ridiculous nonsense with Tia Leoni and William H Macy. I read a number of reviews of Jurassic World who said it was finally a worthy successor to the original, and I genuinely can't understand that. I don't hate JW but its characters are completely boring and bland, and most of the action is pretty pedestrian. TLW has some good quotable lines, engaging characters and excellent action especially the truck stop scene. Yes, the daughter being on the island with her raptor killing gymnastics is an ill-advised overindulgence but that doesn't detract much from the overall quality.

 

As for the score, I also feel is it underappreciated among the general score community. It introduced great new themes, referenced the original themes when it was appropriate to do so, and contains some of the most exciting and complex action cues of his career. Aside from the prequels, it was at the top of my expanded wish list, so I couldn't be happier with LLL.

 

BTW I just saw this, pretty cool...

704bd69a4fee0027a949f0d0edb24f77.jpg

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This is true.  But now I'm doubting myself so I edited my first response.

 

They never actually hang below the trailer right?  They hang inside it and it falls around them?  I haven't seen this in a while.

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1 minute ago, Disco Stu said:

This is true.  But now I'm doubting myself so I edited my first response.

 

They never actually hang below the trailer right?  They hang inside it and it falls around them?  I haven't seen this in a while.

 

Yea, they do

 

 

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I might rewatch both films closer to Xmas but I won't be listening to the soundtracks for either between now and getting my paws on the complete release. 

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1 minute ago, Disco Stu said:

 

I like to have an accurate visual memory of what the music I'm listening to was written for.

 

I know what you mean. There is a brief dense cacophony of percussion during Rescuing Sarah (1:28 on the OST). I always wondered what visuals it accompanied. When I rewatched the movie yesterday, it was for the moment were Eddie runs around the tree truck with the cable. A cool musical moment.

 

One of the great things about these expanded releases of old scores from the specialty labels is that we end up reanalyzing the music and movie again, and rediscovering cool moments and cues like that.

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19 minutes ago, dfenton85 said:

 I read a number of reviews of Jurassic World who said it was finally a worthy successor to the original, and I genuinely can't understand that. I don't hate JW but its characters are completely boring and bland, and most of the action is pretty pedestrian. TLW has some good quotable lines, engaging characters and excellent action especially the truck stop scene. Yes, the daughter being on the island with her raptor killing gymnastics is an ill-advised overindulgence but that doesn't detract much from the overall quality.

 

 

The problem with Jurassic World wasnt really that it was bad, it really isnt. But that it felt completely redundant.

That's the problem I seem that have with nearly all these sequels or reboots from films of the 80's and 90's that we have been getting lately. Terminator 5, Independence Day 2, The X Files season 10 etc etc... They all seem to be rather pointless.

 

At the moment I'll make an excewption for TFA, which I do really like despite is being mostly a remake. But really only Fury Road has any real validity in my book.

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I thought Jurassic World was cheap and cynical and seemed to actively hate its own characters, while portraying dinosaurs as essentially monsters paying only lip service to the awe shown for the animals in Spielberg's version.  Basically it's everything the first movie was not (in a bad way).

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4 minutes ago, Disco Stu said:

I thought Jurassic World was cheap and cynical and seemed to actively hate its own characters, while portraying dinosaurs as essentially monsters paying only lip service to the awe shown for the animals in Spielberg's version.  Basically it's everything the first movie was not (in a bad way).

That was kind of the point though wasn't it? People got so used to them that there was no awe anymore. That's why the created the I-Rex and had Djiatchino score it. 

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27 minutes ago, dfenton85 said:

One of the great things about these expanded releases of old scores from the specialty labels is that we end up reanalyzing the music and movie again, and rediscovering cool moments and cues like that.

 

Yea, there is something to be said about waiting decades to get the first drop of extra music for a score you love, instead of a complete release / FYC / iso score / sessions leak happening shortly after the initial release like Independence Day, Mars Attacks, interstellar, Amazing Spider-man, Rogue Nation, and everything Giacchino did until recently. 

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As with many of us who are in their 30s, I think the Jurassic Park score opened a dinosaur-sized gate to our love for John Williams.  For me, it began a life of musical discovery that was the impetus of my love for orchestral music.

 

It was the first movie score I bought, and I listened to it repeatedly.  I liked the movie a lot back then and wore out the VHS.  Overtime, however, I fell out of love with it and see it more for its story flaws.

 

I read The Lost World when it came out and really liked the book immensely and couldn't wait for the movie version.  When I saw it, I couldn't believe what I just witnessed.  I saw it with a group of friends who had all read the book and we all thought it was a big laughable mess.  When I got the score I listened to it once and kind of forgot about it.

 

Over the years I continued to revisit it and my interest kept increasing until I discovered I loved it and was a bit upset with myself that I gave up on it so early.  I think the movie left such a bad taste in my mouth that I didn't associate with the score as a direct result.

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My experience with TLW has been odd indeed as I think I must have seen it before the first Jurassic Park.

For whatever reason, we watched it in class on my primary school.

So, not having seen the original first, I thought TLW was pretty darn awesome.

 

Then about a year later or so, I saw the first film (on TV in England without subtitles) and then I loved that too.

In other words: For me, they're both really cool. Though I do admit I have to give a slight edge to the first film.

 

As for the music, I never had any disappointment with the second score either.

It is quite awesome and the main theme is positively addictive. I've been known to just put it on repeat for a while.

Same applies to The Hunt.

 

Of course both films and scores are really massively different from each other, but I really don't mind that.

I wouldn't have minded a little bit more loyalty to the first film's themes, but they DID make good appearances so I can't be too critical there.

Plus the new stuff is really good in its own way. I'm really looking forward to hearing the intended version;

especially to hear any and all other statements of the main TLW theme in the score!

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