Review of Lost World, The (BBC series)
Not to be confused with the Spielberg movie of the same name, this £5 million BBC dramatisation was first aired around Christmas 2001. Based upon the 1911 book written by Arthur Conan Doyle, The Lost World is a classic adventure story.
I love these kind of old fashioned adventure stories plus others penned by Verne and H.G. Wells. It`s the stuff I loved to read as a kid with an over-indulgent imagination wondering at what lay ahead at the centre of the earth, or what I`d do if I could time travel, or...I think you get the idea.
Here Bob Hoskins plays mild mannered professor, George Challenger, who discovers a map leading to the South American plateau of a lost world where dinosaurs might exist. He seeks a group willing to travel to this region to help him discover if what`s really there does exist.
The characters here are somewhat stereotyped as the enthusiastic expedition leader (Hoskins), the big game hunter (Tom Ward), the newspaper reporter (Matthew Rhys) and a cynical scientist (James Fox). Add to the story the romantic interest (Elaine Cassidy) and a religious fanatic (Peter Falk) and this makes up a well rounded cast of characters adding to an already interesting story.
The Lost World is presented with a 1.85:1 anamorphic transfer. The thing that hit home is the quality of the transfer, it`s gorgeous! It`s crisp, clean, detailed with good balance throughout and amazed me. The photography is lush with very rich use of colour in every frame. I almost forgot to watch the film itself concentrating too much on looking for flaws. It`s spot on!
We get a DD5.1 soundtrack and it sounds good from start to finish. The dialogue comes firmly from centre stage with music and ambient sound covering a very wide arc indeed. The rears are used for effect and definitely add something into the mix. I was very pleased at how clear and dynamic the rest of the sound is.
A nice animated menu with sound gives you scene selections, special features and subtitling options. There are two special features: commentary and Inside The Lost World. Commentary is with producer Christopher Hall and director Stuart Orme. They talk quite a lot throughout the film and I found it to be very interesting. It`s worth listening to if you get this DVD.
The 29 minute documentary goes behind the scenes on the location in New Zealand, talks to cast members and shows how the filmmakers achieved the stunning visual effects. I found it too short at just 28 minutes however and would have liked a bit more. There weren`t enough cast interviews for starters.
Since there were scenes cut from the film, it would have been good to see those scenes here with an explanation as to the filmmakers intention. These scenes of exposition were cut for time more than anything else so would have been quite a bonus for the DVD.
On the subtitling option, I thought that it was odd that the other subtitled language options here, Dutch and Greek, are actually displayed in English rather than the native words used to describe the language. The English subtitles are well done and proved to be unobtrusive.
Another dinosaur movie, this time with the unlikely Bob Hoskins featuring in the lead as Professor George Challenger. He has a vision, to lead an expedition to the Lost World in search of Pteranodons and more. And he has some other intrepids to accompany him on this trip. What follows is a story told in the classic adventure sense and captured very well on film.
Things have come a long way since the first `Lost World` movie back in 1925 and the story still has legs to be dramatised by the BBC. The science of extinct life told as an old fashioned adventure story is reminiscent of the books I love to read. This version has elements of romance, action, loads of enthusiasm and dinosaurs! The cast here led by Hoskins are a fine bunch and make this story their own with fine performances. The additional story elements such as the romantic interest not present in Conan Doyle`s book blend in well.
Filmed on location in New Zealand as well as at Pinewood, this film simply looks good and definitely adds an air of authenticity to it all. The special effects by Framestore (Walking with Dinosaurs, Walking with Beasts, Lost in Space amongst others) looked seamless as expected. There are other effects shots used too which you won`t spot unless you listen to the audio commentary. The film direction and editing keep a moderate pace during the 125 minute runtime and it never plods along.
The Lost World is presented in limited edition stiff cardboard packaging resembling a hardback book which is nice. Apart from the disc, there`s chapter selection and a leaflet for other BBC DVDs. Anyone who watched it the first time around and enjoyed it will enjoy it again on DVD. The BBC has done a good job here though some more quality extras wouldn`t go amiss. The anamorphic video transfer is superb, the sound/music is well composed and the acting is good. There`s a noticeable layer change around midway of the film which is a shame, but otherwise I have few problems with the DVD. An enjoyable re-telling of Conan Doyle`s adventure and well worth renting or buying.