Wednesday, 25 September 2013

The Lost World (3½ Stars)

Certain stories grab people's attention so much that they are filmed over and over again. Take, for instance, this film. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's book, "The Lost World", has been filmed seven times, in the years 1925, 1960, 1992, 1998 (twice), 1999 and 2001. This doesn't include television series, spin-offs and films strongly influenced by the book. There's something about dinosaur stories that people like, kids and grown ups alike. This story has influenced the genre by implanting the archetypes into similar films. We have the wise old scientist, the daring explorer, the naive newspaper reporter, the unscrupulous big game hunter, the native girl, and last but not least the anti-damsel-in-distress, i.e. an intelligent, highly educated woman who loudly proclaims women's independence, but becomes weak and helpless as soon as a strong man confronts her. If you watch any film about a "lost world" or "mysterious island" you will find some or all of these six archetypes.

I've seen several of the films over the years, especially the 1960 version which is still frequently shown on television. When I saw this film, one of the 1998 versions, on sale for a ridiculously low price I had to buy it. What attracted me was that Jayne Heitmeyer plays the part of the anti-damsel-in-distress. I really need some way to shorten that word. Maybe Anita Sarkeesian has a better word, but for now I'll call her the antidid. I've recently been watching the fifth season of "Earth Final Conflict", which is probably the most female-centred television series ever made (the fifth season, at least). The world is being threatened by aliens who have lain dormant for 6000 years, and only two women are fighting to save the earth: Jayne Heitmeyer and Melinda Deines. Jayne's amazing action sequences make it difficult to believe she was over 40 years old at the time of filming.

I like strong women, and Jayne (who I also know from the second season of "Nightman") has impressed me enough to want to see more of her. Even as an antidid. As always, her acting is superb and she looks far younger than her real age. Despite being 38, her character Amanda in the film is 25-ish. Overall the film is cheesy, the CGI dinosaurs are unconvincing, and the 1960 version is probably better. But it has Jayne Heitmeyer in it. Nuff said!

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