We now move into American productions of giant monster movies with Leigh Scott’s King of the Lost World, produced by The Asylum. A passenger plane mysteriously crashes on a tropical island in the middle of nowhere (I think I know where the original idea for Lost came from). Fortunately, most of the crew and passengers survive. Unfortunately, the pilots did not. As the survivors look for food and shelter, a small faction splinters off, looking for the missing cockpit in hopes of finding out what happened.
This jungle expedition is lead by Ed (Jeff Denton) and John (Rhett Giles) along with flight attendant Natalie (Amanda Ward) and passengers Rita (Sarah Lieving) and Dana (Christina Rosenberg). During their search, the team stumbles upon a downed military jet, giant spiders, and dragons. Wait, what? Let’s also not forget a massive clearing of brush with an enormous footprint.
Things get tense when the crew is joined by Lt. Challenger (Bruce Boxleitner), who seems to have a specific reason to be on this island and quickly draws suspicion upon himself. While resting for the night, everyone is kidnapped by tribal islanders. The women are evaluated to be part of the tribal leader’s harem. The chosen women are drugged into obedience, and the men are sacrificed to the dragons living on the island and the ferocious giant ape.
“…the team stumbles upon a downed military jet, giant spiders, and dragons…”
King of the Lost World is a very loose adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World and pales compared to the 1925 silent movie. Leigh Scott’s entry is the worst entry of our giant monster series. First, it makes the mistake of being a story about the plane crash survivors surviving. We want a monster movie, not an island soap opera. Sadly, these monsters are placed firmly in the background to provide elements of danger.
Here the monsters are all computer-animated giant insects, dragons, and a Kong-like ape. The actual monster renderings are not that bad, but the film fails in connecting the animated monsters with the real actors visually with very few split-screen effects. When a monster attacks, it is accomplished primarily with quick edits. In fact, most of the monsters’ appearances rarely last longer than a few seconds as opposed to a drawn-out fight sequence from the original The Lost World. Honestly, I understand that low-budget CG animation was still quite expensive, especially in 2005, when the film was made.
King of the Lost World thus leans more on the survivors’ story and falls short because all we have is a survival story. Nothing connects us with these characters, which always means bland character development. The splinter faction consists of generic but good-looking characters with very little diversity in personality other than spanning the spectrum of beautiful people. The characters are so unremarkable, and they could all be interchangeable. I guess what I’m saying is the story and characters are bland but beautiful.
Ending on a positive note, I did like the look of the sets and location. I’m guessing it was shot in Hawaii, and it’s gorgeous. The plane crash set was pretty cool, and there were obvious indie tricks to make the crash appear more devastating than it was. It still a good scene. But in the end, King of the Lost World is a weak story desperately seeking some depth or at least bring more of the monster element into the final cut.
"…I did like the look of the sets and location."