The Lost World (2001 film)

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The Lost World
The Lost World (2001 film).jpg
Based onThe Lost World
by Arthur Conan Doyle
Written byTony Mulholland
Adrian Hodges
Directed byStuart Orme
Composer(s)Robert Lane
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
Executive producer(s)Kate Harwood, Jane Tranter
Producer(s)Christopher Hall
CinematographyDavid Odd
Editor(s)David Yardley
Running time75 minutes
Production company(s)BBC, A&E Network, RTL
Original networkBBC One
Picture format16:9
Original release25 December (2001-12-25) –
26 December 2001 (2001-12-26)
External links

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.[1] Bob Hoskins played Professor Challenger and was supported by James Fox, Peter Falk, Matthew Rhys, Tom Ward and Elaine Cassidy.


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 Darwin's 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 expedition's 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 plateau's 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 fiancé 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 Mendoz's 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 chief's 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 Challenger's 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 plateau's 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.



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  • Allosaurus − A well known theropod from the late Jurassic North America more than 150 million years ago. It uses the same CG model from the Walking with Dinosaurs series.
  • Java Man − An ape-man originally called Pithecanthropus erectus, today classified as Homo erectus, is a primitive hominid from Asia during the early Pleistocene epoch 2 million years ago. This creature is described as the missing link between primates and humans. In the film an undiscovered species appear, and Challenger named them "Pithecanthropus challengeris".
  • Pteranodon − A large flying fish-eating pterosaur from North America during the late Cretaceous period. This creature is the only proof from Challenger's very first expedition, and later he named the species as "Pteranodon sumerleensis".
  • Hypsilophodon − A small herbivorous ornithopod from the early Cretaceous Europe 130 million years ago. This is the first prehistoric creature which is found by Challenger's team in the plateau.
  • Iguanodon − A giant herbivore from the Cretaceous Europe, Asia, and North America. Professor Summerlee thought these creatures were built as kangaroos on two legs and their tail kept on the ground, but this idea is debunked when he sees the quadrupedal animals. It uses the same CG model from the Walking with Dinosaurs series.
  • Entelodon − A strange, pig-themed, rhino-sized, omnivorous cousin for hippos and whales from the Oligocene and Miocene Asia. This is the only prehistoric mammal in the film besides the Pithecanthropus. It uses the same CG model from the Walking with Beasts series.
  • Diplodocus − A more than 40-metre-long sauropod from the late Jurassic Morrison Formation 150 million years ago. It uses the same CG model from the Walking with Dinosaurs series.
  • Brachiosaurus − A massive sauropod from the late Jurassic Morrison Formation 150 million years ago. It is one of the largest fauna on Earth. It uses the same CG model from the Walking with Dinosaurs series.
  • Southern coral snake − A venomous snake from the rainforests of South America.
  • Brazilian black tarantula − A venomous spider which lives in the South American jungles, but sometimes travels to the village to hunt insects or reptiles.
  • Atlas moth − A large moth from the tropical and subtropical forests of Southeast Asia and Indonesia. Professor Sumerlee found the moth while a Pteranodon carries away the team's dinner.
  • Scarlet macaw − A large and colourful macaw from the American tropics of south-eastern Mexico to the rainforests of Peru, Bolivia and Brazil. It is a more than 80-centimetre-long bird with a weight of about 1 kilogram, and is one of the smartest birds on Earth.
  • Brown capuchin − A small New World monkey from the tropical rainforests of the Amazon basin.

Differences from Doyle's novel[edit]

  • In the book, the plateau is in Venezuela. In the 2001 adaptation, it was in Brazil.
  • In the book, Challenger doesn't depart on the expedition with Malone, Roxton, and Summerlee, he instead meets up with them later after they start to suspect he has sent them on a wild goose chase.
  • The prehistoric lake scene from the book is absent.
  • in the movie, the dinosaurs are anatomically correct, Challenger is actively skeptical of common dinosaur perceptions that they walk upright. This is not so in the novel, in the novel the dinosaurs are portrayed very much like how society viewed them at the time: upright, cold blooded and very stupid.
  • In the book, Edward Malone doesn't meet another love interest besides Gladys.
  • In the book, the Indians deliberately call the Allosaurus to the village, where they kill them and eat them for dinner. In the film, the ape men call the dangerous dinosaurs to the human settlement in an act of revenge, and the Indian's artillery and man power appear to be no match for the deadly predators, who proceed to wreak havoc on the village. This scene serves as the film's dramatic finale.
  • The characters Gomez and Zambo, indeed, any of the Indians, are not mentioned. They are replaced by reverend Theo Kerr, and his niece Agnes, who provide opportunities to debate the conflict of Science and Religion, and the sexism & societal expectations that women were met with in the early 20th century.
  • Following the attack on the campfire by the Megalosaurus in the book, neither Summerlee and not Challenger are immediately able to identify even the family of carnivore that attacked them, whereas in the film, Summerlee immediately dubs the animal an allosaur upon being asked by Lord Roxton. Also, the campfire attack is fairly different from the book. In the novel, the group spots the Megalosaurus, and before it has a chance to attack, Roxton scares it off with fire. In the film, the group are completely taken by surprise and the allosaur almost gains the upper hand, before being scared away with fire.
  • The ape men are present in both the novel and film, but the other humanoid tribe, rather than a prehistoric species, consists of both indigenous people, and the descendants of surviving members of a Portuguese expedition.
  • In the book, Edward Malone says he will join Roxton on the next expedition to the plateau. In the film, he tentatively offers to Professor Challenger, who says he'll be in touch.
  • Lord John Roxton escapes the plateau in the book. In the BBC adaptation, he is stabbed by an ape man, and is assumed to have died until, at the end of the second episode, we see him still happily married to Maree, the former patriarch's daughter.
  • The diamonds found in the blue clay in the book do not feature in the film. There is a possible easter egg alluding to this in the film, when a journalist asks Challenger if there is any gold on the plateau. The diamonds were likely omitted in order to veer away from the 'fortune and glory' trope, instead focusing on Challenger sacrificing his chance for fortune and glory, and his own reputation, in order to protect the plateau and its inhabitants from the destructive force of the modern world and its greed and selfishness, emphasising the importance of letting nature be.

Home media[edit]

The Lost World was released on home video as a single 145-minute instalment.[2] The series was released on VHS and DVD in the United Kingdom on June 3, 2002;[3] 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.[4] 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.[5]


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."[6] Writing for DVD Talk, Holly E Ordway described the series as "a straightforward and entertaining adventure story", praising the modernised changes made to the book's storyline but calling the characters "caricatures".[5]


  1. ^ "Weekly top 30 programmes". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 25 November 2018.
  2. ^ Orme, Stuart; Hall, Christopher (2002). The Lost World (Audio commentary). BBC Studios. Event occurs at 1:12:15.
  3. ^ "The Lost World [DVD] [2001]". Amazon UK. Retrieved 25 November 2018.
  4. ^ Khedun, Anil. "Review of Lost World, The (BBC series)". Retrieved 25 November 2018.
  5. ^ a b Ordway, Holly. "The Lost World (2001)". DVD Talk. Internet Brands. Retrieved 25 November 2018.
  6. ^ John Leonard (7 October 2002). "In Brief: Making The Misfits, and more". New York magazine.

External links[edit]