The Lost World is a 2001 adaptation of the novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, directed by Stuart Orme and adapted by 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 UK on 25 and 26 December 2001, and in the USA 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 long extinct animal shot by Professor George Challenger's (Bob Hoskins) team turns out to be 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 monk 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, the reverend is initially reluctant however he later joins 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 has been sealed off by debris as it had been exploded years ago. Instead they cross over a log bridge, which the reverend 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 allosaur which is probably an Epanterias but not an Allosaurus because this animal is much bigger than the usual.
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 smash his head 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, discovered the plateau and then later left, sealing off the cave and trapping the Indians inside the plateau for ever.
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 and 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.
However, one psychotic ape gets its hands on a knife and keeps an eye on Roxton. Edward Malone eventually kills the larger dinosaur, but is too late to save the chief and several of the Indians. He is critically injured, and 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. The ape with the knife stabs Roxton in the torso, apparently killing him while Achille shoots the mad ape while it stands atop a rocky mound, growling.
Outside, the reverend comes to block the remaining group's way and is revealed to be the Devil who visited the Indians and sealed off the cave. Now 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 mad reverend 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 scenes, the escaped pterosaur is seen flying out to sea, heading home to the plateau and Roxton is revealed to be alive and well, having survived his injury and is still happily married to Maree.
- Bob Hoskins as Professor George Challenger
- James Fox as Professor Leo Summerlee
- Tom Ward as Lord John Roxton
- Matthew Rhys as Edward Malone
- Elaine Cassidy as Agnes
- Peter Falk as reverend Theo Kerr