The Lost World (2001 film)

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This article is about the 2001 film. For other uses, see The Lost World (disambiguation).
The Lost World
The Lost World (2001 film).jpg
DVD cover
Based on The Lost World
by Arthur Conan Doyle
Written by Tony Mulholland
Adrian Hodges
Directed by Stuart Orme
Starring Bob Hoskins
James Fox
Matthew Rhys
Tom Ward
Elaine Cassidy
Peter Falk
Composer(s) Robert Lane
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
Producer(s) Christopher Hall
Running time 145 minutes
Production company(s) A&E Television Networks
British Broadcasting Corporation
Distributor British Broadcasting Corporation (2001) (United Kingdom)
A&E Home Video (2002) (United States)
A&E Television Networks (2002) (United States)
Eén (2005) (Belgium)
Memphis Belle (2003) (Netherlands)
RTL (2003) (Germany)
First shown in 25–26 December 2001
(United Kingdom)
6–7 October 2002
(United States)

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 film was produced by the BBC and broadcast on BBC1 in the United Kingdom and A&E in the United States. It consisted of two 75 minute episodes which were first aired in the United Kingdom on 25 and 26 December 2001, and in the United States on 6 and 7 October 2002. In the DVD version, these two episodes are merged into one full-length film. Bob Hoskins played Professor Challenger and was supported by James Fox, Peter Falk, Matthew Rhys, Tom Ward and Elaine Cassidy.


While on a journey through the remote regions of the Amazon rainforest, a member of Professor George Challenger's (Bob Hoskins) team shoots a long extinct animal: a prehistoric pterosaur. During a lecture at the Natural History Museum of London, he argues that it is genuine and that he shot it several months ago. The lecturer, Professor Leo Summerlee (James Fox) dismisses it as nothing more than a clever hoax, as do several others. Eventually ambitious Lord John Roxton (Tom Ward), a noted hunter and womanizer, and Daily Gazette columnist Edward Malone (Matthew Rhys) announce they will volunteer for the expedition and even Summerlee joins them.

On the boat, Challenger shows a sarcastic Summerlee and his expedition members a map, drawn up by a Portuguese man called Padre Mendoz who ended up in the remote, uncharted area of Brazil which Challenger claims prehistoric creatures thrive. Most notably, there is a plateau, which would supposedly isolate the inhabitants from the evolutionary mainstream for millions of years. Upon arrival, Roxton begins flirting with Agnes (Elaine Cassidy), the niece of reverend Theo Kerr (Peter Falk), a priest who disregards the idea of evolution. Agnes joins them for the expedition, with the priest later reluctantly joining them.

After a long and eventful journey through the jungle, they eventually find the plateau. They go inside a cave which was the only route out the plateau only to discover that it was exploded years ago, sealing off the cave. Instead they cross over a log bridge, which the priest suddenly pushes into a deep crevice in an abrupt mood swing, thus leaving them stranded. In the strange prehistoric redwood forest, Edward makes friends with a Hypsilophodon, and the stunned group spot an Iguanodon, and then a group of Pteranodons who attack and injure Summerlee.

After retreating to the forest, in the middle of the night, while they are gathered around the campfire they are attacked by a large dinosaur, which is later identified by Summerlee as an Allosaurus. The next day Edward is scared out a tree by an ape man called Pithecanthropus which in his words "looked almost human". They then search for and find a large lake in the centre of the plateau which Malone had discovered while up the tree, and he names it after his fiancee, Gladys, while Roxton and the professors rest by the beach. Edward and Agnes walk off along the beach until the allosaur from last night emerges from the forest and drinks from the lake, but soon notices them as they run into the forest. In the cliffhanger ending of the first episode, the allosaur pursues them through the borders of the forest until they all fall into a pit, where the allosaur is killed after being impaled on two wooden spikes.

After making their escape, they find out that Challenger and Summerlee have been kidnapped by the ape men. The apes take them to an enclosed sacrificial chamber, where they are placed on a thick sheet of rock which is covered with blood. The sun shines through a crack and the beasts place Summerlee's head in a groove on the plate of rock, about to decapitate him by smashing his head off with a large stone and eat him when Roxton and the group start shooting all the ape men. Challenger tries to save the creatures, calling them "the missing link between animal and human" upon leaving the animals territory, the group also rescue an Indian chief's son, Achille. The tribe recognizes Challenger as Padre Mendoz, the Portuguese man that returned from the plateau and drew up a map of the area. They are taken to the other end of the cave they found earlier and told of how a man, who they thought was the "Devil", came to visit them and then left, sealing off the cave and trapping the Indians inside the plateau. The two groups cooperate very well together, with Challenger sitting by the chief's side, and Roxton marrying Maree, the patriarch's daughter. However, the presence of the ape men disturb the tribes people but, with Professor Challenger's protection, they remain safe from harm and are kept in a wooden cage on the border of the village.

However, two allosaurs attack the village after weeks of harmony (having been called to the village by the vengeful ape men). After causing much death and destruction, the first male allosaur is killed by Roxton with his elephant gun but the larger female allosaur mortally wounds the chief. In an act of kindness, Agnes and Malone set the ape men loose and they flee back into the jungle. Edward eventually kills the larger dinosaur, but the chief dies in the arms of Achille, who blames the white intruders. During the attack, Summerlee reopens the cave by blowing up the debris blocking their only escape route. After Achille assumes command, the outsiders flee while Roxton stays behind to stall them. However, one psychotic ape, who remained behind and obtained a knife, stabs Roxton in the torso, presumably killing him, but is then shot by Achille. Outside, the remaining group discover the priest remained near the plateau after stranding them and that he visited the Indians years ago before sealing off the cave. He intends to kill all of them and seal off the cave again to prevent the plateau and its inhabitants from being found and revealed. While struggling with Summerlee, the priest accidentally shoots himself in the chest and dies.

The explorers go back to London and upon returning, Edward discovers that Gladys is engaged to another man. Later that evening, the juvenile pterosaur that Challenger brings back escapes. Afterwards, Malone and Summerlee urge Challenger to end the whole affair so that the plateau and its inhabitants can exist in peace, realising it would be exploited if its location were to be revealed. The pterosaur is dismissed as an Amazonian vulture, while the articles Edward sent back are passed off as extracts of a novel he is writing. Edward confesses he loves Agnes, who tells him the same, and they kiss in the great hall of the museum where the crew have been exposed as frauds. In the final scene, Roxton is revealed to be alive and well, having survived his injury and is still happily married to Maree.



  • Allosaurus − A well known allosaurid dinosaur from the late Jurassic North America more than 150 million years ago. It is the main antagonist of the film.
  • Java Man − An ape-man originally called Pithecanthropus erectus, today classified as Homo erectus, is a primitive hominid from 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 giant fish-eater flying reptile called pterosaur from the middle Cretaceous period more than a hundred million years ago. This creature is the only proof from Challenger's very first expedition, and later he named the species as "Pteranodon sumerleensis".
  • Hypsilophodon − A small herbivore ornithopod dinosaur from the early Cretaceous England 130 million years ago. This is the first prehistoric creature which is discovered by Challenger's team in the plateau, and not much later they find the Iguanodon.
  • Iguanodon − A gentle herbivore from the Cretaceous Europe in the same time with Hypsilophodon. Professor Summerlee thought these creatures moved like a kangaroo on two legs and their tail kept on the ground, but this idea is debunked when he sees the quadrupedal animals.
  • Entelodon − A strange hog-like mammal from the Oligocene and Miocene Asia. This is the only prehistoric mammal in the film besides the Pithecanthropus.
  • Diplodocus − A more than 40-metre-long sauropod from the late Jurassic Morrison Formation 150 million years ago. It uses the same computer model from the Walking with Dinosaurs series.
  • Brachiosaurus − A massive sauropod from the same time and the same place like the allosaurs and Diplodocus.
  • 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.
  • 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 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 dinosaurs to the human settlement.
  • The characters Gomez and Zambo, indeed, any of the Indians, are not mentioned. They are replaced by reverend Theo Kerr, and his niece Agnes.
  • 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 the 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 mini-series.

External links[edit]