Professor Challenger reveals the existence of a remote plateau in the Amazon jungle where dinosaurs have survived. He returns there leading an expedition. Not only are dinosaurs found and confronted, but also highly evolved apes, Amazonian Indians who think Challenger a god, and, on the way, the attractive orphaned niece of a lonely missionary. Theology intervenes in this exercise in vindicating Darwin and the missionary twice attempts to sabotage the mission. After much excitement, love is found in unexpected places, and, confronted by civilization, as represented by the Royal Society in London, Challenger changes his story.Written by
Stewart Naunton <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Entertaining British-style telling of the Arthur Conan Doyle story...
I watched this as a two-parter on A&E over the last two nights. Interestingly, the first part which is largely an exploration of the main characters is more interesting than the second part where the dinosaurs actually appear. Not that the special effects aren't convincing--they're superb. And the final scene, where the explorers return to London where Professor Challenger (Bob Hoskins) is about to reveal his prize possession, is one of the highlights of the film. But the buildup of tension is nicely done in the first part, as well as the introduction of the interesting characters.
All of the performances are first rate with two standouts--Matthew Rhys and Elaine Cassidy who supply the main love interest. These fresh-faced newcomers make their roles entirely believable. Seasoned actor James Fox is excellent as the skeptical Professor Leo Summerlee, especially when reacting to the blustery remarks and behavior of the overly enthusiastic Challenger. Peter Falk seems to have a grand time hamming it up as Rev. Kerr who is vehemently opposed to Darwin's theory of evolution and pulls a surprising stunt on the explorers.
All of this is done in a handsomely produced, tasteful manner (except for one brief scene of cannibalism which is too intense). It has the feel of a well produced British film, one that approaches the style of a Merchant Ivory production at times.
All technical aspects are fine and the costumes and settings enrich the story. Well worth watching, it maintains a good pace even though its running time is lengthy. The location photography in New Zealand is stunning.
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