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LOST WORLD: AUDIENCE AND STORY BEFORE FX

Spielberg was brave to embark on a sequel to one of the all-time great adventure films ever made, Jurassic Park. He started by putting the audience first, with a strong focus on the story itself, not the clever effects, as he explains in these notes to the production, edited by Andrew L. Urban.

One of the challenges facing the makers of The Lost World was the audienceís enormous expectations. As writer David Koepp observes, "audiences tend to feel pretty propriety about it. Everybody has their own ideas about what should happen in a sequel."

"A lot of this movie was made for what I hope is the pure pleasure of an audience." director Steven Spielberg

But director Steven Spielberg has never forgotten his own experiences at the movies - going back to his boyhood days when his father took him to see Cecil B. DeMilleís The Greatest Show on Earth. He was amazed by the power of the cinematic experience and soon started to make movies with friends and members of his family. "The audience comes first," says Spielberg. "I really think of the audience when I think of a Jurassic Park or a Lost World or the entire Indiana Jones series. A lot of this movie was made for what I hope is the pure pleasure of an audience."

"I cast Jeff Goldblum again because he is Ian Malcolm," director Steven Spielberg

Audiences will embark on this new adventure with a familiar face as their guide. "I cast Jeff Goldblum again because he is Ian Malcolm," says Spielberg. "There is no Ian Malcolm except as played by Jeff." This time, Dr Malcolm is the anchor for the story. "In the first film, Malcolm was along for the ride and he was kind of a critic," Spielberg continues. "In this sense, heís leading the journey in The Lost World. He has a very strong motivation for returning." Jurassic Park ushered in a new era of visual effects: brilliant computer-generated images (CGI) blended seamlessly with the state-of-the-art mechanical and animatronic special effects. The combination gave life to creatures believed to be extinct for 65 million years. "I think that people were a little bit amazed that the dinosaurs looked as real as they did," says Spielberg.

But that was 1993: now, weíve been there and seen that. What next?


"It was the story that justified doing a sequel, not the technology," Spielberg comments. "CGI has improved since the first movie and the artistry of the people involved has also improved. So there was a good chance that the dinosaurs would look even more believable than they had in the last adventure. But it was really the story that compelled me to make this movie."

"With the first movie, we had no idea how we would make the dinosaurs real," admits Kathleen Kennedy, the executive producer. "With the sequel, we had a very clear idea of the visual effects and were very comfortable with the technology for computer graphics. So for The Lost World, we were able to focus on the storytelling."

"I think this movie is about hunters versus gatherers." screenwriter David Koepp

Screenwriter Koepp remembers a conversation in which Spielberg told him "I think this movie is about hunters versus gatherers. When the two groups are thrust together into survival situations is when it gets really fun."

Jurassic Park raised the question of manís role in trying to control nature. "You decide youíll control nature and from that moment on youíre in deep trouble because you canít do it," says novelist Michael Crichton. "You can make a boat, but you canít make the ocean. You can make an airplane, but you canít make the air. Your powers are much less than your dreams would have you believe."

The debate continues in The Lost World; this time the argument is framed by setting the story in the dense forest wilderness where manís impact on life and the environment is clearly evident.

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Spielberg ... "pure pleasure of an audience"


Richard Attenborough and Jeff Goldblum


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