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Fantastic job by Image makes The Lost World fully satisfying
on January 17, 2002
I just finished watching Image's restored edition of the 1925 Lost World, prepared for DVD issue, but thankfully also released on very high quality VHS tape for luddites like me. This is one case where the VHS tape was not just an afterthought--the quality of the tape is exceptional, and mine had absolutely NO tracking problems, tape glitches, or audio dropouts whatsoever--something that has become all too rare these days.
This version restores many lost scenes and many lost parts of scenes, restoring much character development, as well as some truly-impressive dinosaur footage. Compared to previous abridged versions, this one runs over half an hour longer, thanks to footage from *eight* prints, especially a Czech print found in the 90's from which most of the lost scenes come from.
Anyway, I'm absolutely stunned by the quality of the film. It's never looked better, and for the very first time, it no longer seems like merely an important FX historical curiosity, but is now a fully satisfying adventure/fantasy film. The pacing no longer feels rushed, and Willis O'Brien's groudbreaking stop-motion and matte FX work is still simply amazing today. There's a restored dinosaur stampede and aftermath that features far more fully-articulated dinosaurs than anything in Jurassic Park. I am a fan of dinosaur films generally, and I can honestly say that in its restored form, the 1925 Lost World is simply the best dinosaur film I have ever seen.
The image looks fantastic for such an old film too, and the color-tinting is very intelligently used--blue for night, brown/sepia for indoor, green for jungle--but it never comes across as intrusive. The new percussion-heavy modern musical score (by the Alloy Orchestra) commissioned for this version may be a bit untraditional, but it fits the film perfectly.
The 12 min. of animation outtakes following the film were fascinating too, and helped to underscore how much detail and care went into the FX work on the film--there are some cool moments in the outtakes where freeze-frames actually show the animators at work in the frame.
Anyway, fantastic film, stunning restoration. You've never seen the 1925 Lost World like this until you've seen Image's restored edition--and this is one restoration you can safely buy on either DVD or VHS. A+