Not the Steven Spielberg blockbuster, this Lost World
is a splendid 2001 BBC TV dramatization of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's famous adventure story
. Bob Hoskins makes an unusually genial Professor Challenger, far less of a bully than Doyle's character, but his slightly stereotyped companions are nicely filled out by a solid cast. James Fox is Challenger's more timid but still covertly adventurous rival, Tom Ward is the mustachioed big-game hunter who faces an allosaur with an elephant gun, and Matthew Rhys plays the tagalong reporter hoping to impress his faithless fiancée.
As usual, the adaptation adds a woman--orphaned jungle girl Elaine Cassidy--to the expedition, and an interesting villain (religious fanatic Peter Falk) beefs up the travelogue by marooning Challenger's gang on the South American plateau where dinosaurs, cavemen, and Indians coexist eventfully. The Walking with Dinosaurs-style effects work well for the TV frame, but the real success is in integrating the adventuring with subtle eco-awareness, complex character interplay, and the reliable wonder of soaring pteranodons and carnosaur attacks. --Kim Newman