The Lost World (2001)

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Released 25-Jun-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Adventure Main Menu Audio & Animation
Scene Selection Anim & Audio
Audio Commentary
Featurette-Inside The Lost World
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 145:24
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (89:13) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Stuart Orme
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Bob Hoskins
James Fox
Tom Ward
Matthew Rhys
Elaine Cassidy
Peter Falk
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $34.95 Music Robert Lane


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio Unknown Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Titling
English
Dutch
Greek
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth." - A. Conan Doyle.

    Born in 1859 and dying in 1930, Arthur Conan Doyle was one of the greatest authors of the 20th century. He was a brilliant scholar from an Irish family, qualified as a doctor and responsible for many firsts in literature, including the first mummy story, Lot No. 249, the world-famous Sherlock Holmes, and most importantly for this review, the very first dinosaur story, The Lost World.

    The story has been turned into a film several times, the first in 1925, a brilliant black and white silent film that in its day was simply astounding. The claymation dinosaurs were the first time the public had ever seen these creatures move. By today's standards, the special effects were very simple but many still regard this as the best version of the novel. This version is available on DVD in Australia, and our review of it is here. The next major version produced was in 1960, and the less said about that somewhat campy affair the better. The novel is also available online through the efforts of Project Gutenburg, and a quick search will soon find you a copy.

    This brings us to 2001 and the latest release from the talented people at the BBC. While they have taken a few liberties with the original story, it still stays somewhat with the spirit of the novel. While there are dinosaurs in this film, people looking for another Jurassic Park are going to be very disappointed, as this is a story about people and their reactions to a strange and wondrous place. It is a shame that many who might well enjoy this story will be put off by the misuse of the title in the past. There is far more character depth here than in the Jurassic Park series.

    There are a couple of interesting topics explored in the film. The original battle between science and Christianity is explored, in particular the vexed question of evolution vs. creation. In Conan Doyle's day, this was a fierce battle and the director mentions that he believes that this is still an interesting topic for people today. The ending has had a slight 'greening' in line with today's conservationist attitudes, an ending I quite liked actually. More importantly, this is a story about people. I particularly like stories that contain a diverse group of people that are placed under some pressure or transported out of their normal, safe environment. If the actors and script are up to it, we then get to explore a range of reactions from the various characters and learn a little about people and maybe ourselves. It's also a rollicking good adventure story with a little bit of a romance thrown in for good measure.

    In this film, the script, and in particular the actors, are definitely up to the job. The cast leads with Bob Hoskins as Professor Challenger, and Peter Falk (Columbo) plays the Reverend Theo Kerr. Robert Hardy (Siegfried in All Creatures Great And Small) plays only a small part but steals every scene that he is in. James Fox plays Professor Leo Summerlee, a wonderful English character that is the straight man to Professor Challenger. Rounding out this wonderful cast are Tom Ward, Matthew Rhys and Elaine Cassidy. I was engaged by the characters throughout the film and think they all do brilliant and very believable jobs bringing their characters to life.

    The dinosaurs, while not the stars of the show, are from the same people that brought us Walking With Dinosaurs and are totally believable. You don't think about how good the special effects are - rather, you simply believe. The scenery is spectacular and comes from several locations throughout New Zealand, the widescreen aspect ratio of the transfer capturing this perfectly. The cinematography is very good and the special effects are not limited to the dinosaurs - they also help to create the world in which the story takes place. It is only when they are this good that you just have to find something to talk about in a review. If you look at the pan at 39:43, you will see what looks like a lens distortion in the middle of the cliffs, near the top. We know from the excellent documentary and commentary that these cliffs are computer generated.

    The story starts with Professor Challenger interrupting a public lecture by Professor Summerlee on dinosaur fossils with the claim that he has seen real dinosaurs. This meets with some derision from the attendants of the lecture. He is convincing enough that an adventurer gentleman by the name of Lord John Roxton offers to finance half of an expedition to discover if these dinosaurs exist. A young reporter, who is very tired of doing obituaries, jumps up and commits the paper he writes for to financing the other half in return for accompanying the expedition. Professor Summerlee agrees to go along to prove that it is all rubbish. Thus, four of our main characters set out for the unexplored depths of the Amazon. At a mission from where the expedition will set off they meet the Reverend Theo Kerr and his niece Agnes Clooney. Agnes decides to accompany the expedition to the hidden plateau, much to her uncle's consternation.

    Following a map made by an earlier Spanish explorer and missionary, the group eventually finds the plateau and make their way to the top. There, due to circumstances beyond their control, they are trapped. They begin to explore this strange world and become embroiled in a battle between a group of ape men and some natives that also live on the plateau. This interaction and the consequences of their presence is one of the best parts of the film. The rest of the story is best told by watching the film.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video transfer is basically faultless and near reference quality. It is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer is pin sharp throughout and there is no low level noise. If I was to be extremely picky I would say that the blacks are just a tiny bit light and that the shadow detail is again just a smidgen lacking. This is only visible if you are really looking and would not be noticed in normal viewing.

    The colours are fantastic with no noise and a wonderful range and depth.

    There are no MPEG artefacts at all, nor any aliasing or telecine wobble. There is absolutely no edge enhancement. It is only when you see a wonderful transfer like this with no edge enhancement that you realise just how much that artefact can detract from a film. I think I saw one single film artefact in the entire 145 minutes.

     There are two sets of English subtitles on this disc. The first are used automatically during the film to translate some of the native dialogue. The use of these subtitles is interesting as they don't translate everything that is said, as one of the character's jobs is to translate for the group. When she is not present, the subtitles kick in. This changes when you switch to the second set of English subtitles. The second set includes audio cues for the hearing impaired. Both sets are accurate and easy to read.

    This is an RSDL disc with the layer change at 89:13, not placed at the best possible position, but it could have been worse.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     There are two audio tracks on this disc. The first is an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack and the second is an English Dolby Digital 2.0 audio commentary.

    The dialogue quality is excellent as is the audio sync.

    The music is a wonderful orchestral score that works very well, building tension, comedy and of course love at just the right moments. It is married to the film perfectly and really does add a great deal to it.

    The surrounds are used mostly for special effects. There is far less of the music in the surrounds than is the norm these days. At one stage, I got out of my chair and had my ear to the left surround to see what was happening and could hear very little. Then, one of the flying dinosaurs did a lap of the room. I jumped back, now convinced that the speaker was working very well. The nett result is a frontal soundtrack for the music but a surrounding presence for the special effects. There are also some good split rear effects.

    Where would a dinosaur film be without a subwoofer? Here is it used to great effect, adding depth and effects to the overall soundtrack. The room shakes at just the right moments and at times the subwoofer helps make you jump right out of your seat. The director reaches out via the subwoofer to tap you on the shoulder at just the right moments.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

    A very nice animated menu presented at 1.78:1 and 16x9 enhanced. It opens with an animated drawing back of the jungle to reveal a menu with running footage from the film inserted into the centre of the screen. It is accompanied by a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack.

Commentary: Producer Christopher Hall and Director Stuart Orme.

    This is a wonderful, entertaining and informative commentary. Considering that this film runs for a total of 145 minutes, I wondered at the start just how they would keep going. Well, they did. There are almost no breaks in the dialogue and all of it is interesting. Well worth listening to and far better than many recent efforts we have heard.

Documentary: Inside The Lost World

    A documentary as only the BBC can make them. We explore the making of the film, the special effects and a little of the history of the story and the times that it was written in. A great addition to this disc. Presented at 1.78:1 and accompanied by a Dolby Digital 2.0 sound track. This documentary runs for 28:46.

Censorship

    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     There does not appear to be a Region 1 version of this disc at this time. There is a Region 2 version that seems to be identical except that the case is cardboard and shaped like a book.

Summary

     I found the time taken to watch The Lost World went very quickly. Originally aired as a two part mini-series, it plays on this disc as a single movie. My only real complaint is that there are only 12 chapters for the entire disc, not normally a problem, but it makes reviewing that little bit more difficult.

    The video transfer is superb.

    The audio is excellent.

    The extras are very good.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Terry McCracken (read my bio)
Monday, August 05, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDSkyworth 1050p progressive scan, using RGB output
DisplaySony 1252q CRT Projector, Screen Technics matte white screen 16:9 (223cm). Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre.
AmplificationSony STR-DB1070
SpeakersB&W DM305 (mains); CC3 (centre); S100 (surrounds); custom Adire Audio Tempest with Redgum plate amp (subwoofer)

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