Bearing in mind the age of the print, this offers a remarkably good picture. Some of the London scenes are very dark - they are shot mostly at night - and as you would expect the film has scratches galore, but otherwise the picture is remarkably clear for its vintage.
You can easily switch between the two orchestral soundtracks: one traditional and the other by the Alloy orchestra. The former offers classic melodrama piano stuff (again based on the original score), while the latter offers a welcome modern interpretation with electronic keyboard, bassy drums, jungle noises and other musical touches. The score is nicely timed to the visuals. Turn up the volume.
The other soundtrack option is the audio commentary by Lost World expert, Roy Pilot. Pilot offers some interesting insights into the making of the movie - he describes how the DVD recreates the practice of tinting the negative; how the film was recovered; we learn that Willis O'Brien's stop-motion animation technique involved filming thousands of minuscule movements one step at a time; how gel was used to create the illusion of sputum coming from the dinosaurs' mouths; and how a pump under the dinosaurs' armature created the illusion of it inhaling and exhaling. Your respect grows for these early pioneers.
The drawback with Pilot's narrative is that you cannot dip into his comments via a menu. It merely punctuates the action of the film, with breaks in his commentary of up to ten minutes.
One of the highlights of the disc is the 12 minutes of outtakes of dinosaur scenes. This includes a few seconds of the animators themselves setting up their creations. Most of the time the dinos are eating or moving across the landscape. The image they cut here of docile vegetation-munching dinos seems more convincing (and cute), although the sequences used in the film are bent on making them look like ferocious, flesh-eating monsters.
A short clip shows a familiar clip of the author Arthur Conan Doyle in his later years, and there is a biography of the author if you can bear reading text off the television. For the out-and-out buffs there is also an original souvenir program, although it is transferred at low quality.
Considering that for many the film is merely an interesting historic oddity, you couldn't ask for a lot more from a DVD.Printer-friendly version