ⓘ The Lost World (2001 film)

The Lost World (2001 film)

ⓘ The Lost World (2001 film)

The Lost World is a 2001 adaptation of the novel of the same name by Arthur Conan Doyle, directed by Stuart Orme and adapted by Tony Mulholland and Adrian Hodges. It was filmed at various locations on the West Coast of New Zealand. The mini-series consisted of two 75 minute episodes which were broadcast on BBC One on 25 and 26 December 2001, receiving 8.68 million and 6.98 million viewers respectively. Bob Hoskins played Professor Challenger and was supported by James Fox, Peter Falk, Matthew Rhys, Tom Ward and Elaine Cassidy.


1. Plot

While in the Amazon rainforest, Professor George Challenger shoots an animal he believes to be a pterosaur. Returning to England, Challenger crashes a lecture at the Natural History Museum held by his rival, Professor Leo Summerlee. Challenger proposes an expedition to discover the home of the pterosaur, but is dismissed by the science community. However, hunter Lord John Roxton, and Daily Gazette columnist Edward Malone both volunteer to join and finance the expedition. A sceptical Summerlee also joins.

On the voyage to South America, Challenger reveals a map created by a Portuguese man named Father Luis Mendoz leading to a remote Brazilian plateau where he encountered dinosaurs during a previous expedition. They travel to a Christian mission in the Amazon, meeting Agnes Clooney and her uncle Reverend Theo Kerr, who condemns Charles Darwins theory of evolution. Roxton immediately takes a liking to Agnes’ unladylike behaviour and flirts with her. Agnes volunteers to join the expedition as a translator. However, in the jungle, the expeditions porters flee out of superstition, but Kerr arrives, repeatedly trying to convince the bull-headed Challenger to turn back.

They reach the edge of the plateau and find a cave concealing a pathway to the plateau but discover a blockage. They later find a gorge leading straight to the plateau, using a tree as a substitute bridge. However, when all but Kerr make it across, he suddenly knocks the tree into the gorge and leaves Challenger and the others stranded. Venturing in the plateaus jungle, they find several species of dinosaur, a flock of pterosaurs, and a strange species of aggressive, carnivorous ape men. Malone finds a lake which he names after his fiance Gladys. Malone and Agnes are chased by an Allosaurus, but evade it when it falls into a manmade trap. They find Roxton, learning the apes kidnapped Challenger and Summerlee. Warriors from an indigenous tribe appear, aiding them in rescuing the professors, along with Achille, the son of their own chieftain. The ape men are taken captive by the tribe.

Arriving at the village, the tribe are revealed to be surviving members of Mendozs expedition and mistake Challenger for Mendoz, who taught them Christianity. The chief shows the other end of the cave and reveals it was blocked by a man who visited the tribe, trapping them within the plateau. Roxton falls in love with the chiefs daughter Maree, a woman who is quite similar to him, and they eventually marry.

Some time later, the ape men cry out after having to bury one of their children, attracting the attention of two Allosaurs who rampage on the tribe. In the mayhem, the chief is killed, as well as several other tribe members, but Malone and Roxton successfully slay the dinosaurs. At the same time, Summerlee reopens the cave using explosives, allowing the explorers to flee the village when Achille condemns them. Roxton is stabbed by one of the ape men, but buys time for the others to leave. Roxton seemingly succumbs to his wounds and is mourned by the villagers.

Challenger, Summerlee, Malone, and Agnes return to the Amazon but encounter a crazed Kerr and realise he sealed the cave to prevent anyone from finding it, believing it to be forged by Satan because of the ape-men. When Kerr produces a revolver, Summerlee wrestles him for it, only for Kerr to be shot and killed by accident. The expedition porters later find the survivors. Returning to London, Malone discovers Gladys has become engaged to another man, however he is glad, as he realises that he has developed feelings for Agnes. At Challengers press event, he unveils a juvenile Pteranodon he picked up as an egg. However, the excited crowd scare the Pteranodon out of a window. Malone and Summerlee convince Challenger to pretend the whole expedition was a lie to protect the plateaus inhabitants from destruction, sacrificing his reputation and success for the safety of the Dinosaurs and the villagers. Summerlee stays with his family, Challenger sets off to find Atlantis, while Malone and Agnes admit their love for each other, and Malone decides to pursue a career as a novelist. In a final scene, Roxton is revealed to be alive and living with the villagers in peace.


2. Cast

  • Robert Hardy as Professor Illingworth
  • Peter Falk as Reverend Theo Kerr
  • Tom Ward as Lord John Roxton
  • Matthew Rhys as Edward Malone
  • Tom Goodman-Hill as Arthur Hare
  • James Fox as Professor Leo Summerlee
  • Joanna Page as Gladys
  • Bob Hoskins as Professor George Challenger
  • Elaine Cassidy as Agnes Clooney

3. Home media

The Lost World was released on home video as a single 145-minute instalment. The series was released on VHS and DVD in the United Kingdom on June 3, 2002; The DVD version contains a 5.1 soundtrack, audio commentary with Stuart Orme and Christopher Hall and the 29-minute documentary Inside The Lost World. An American DVD release followed on October 29, 2002, presented in 4:3 pan and scan format with a stereo soundtrack. This release also contained the 90-minute History Channel documentary Dinosaur Secrets Revealed and a 21-minute documentary on the making of the series.


4. Reception

John Leonard TV critic for New York magazine praised the special effects for the time, saying "New Zealand looks like Brazil, and the beasts are the best ever on a small screen." Writing for DVD Talk, Holly E Ordway described the series as "a straightforward and entertaining adventure story", praising the modernised changes made to the books storyline but calling the characters "caricatures".

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