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Wait Worth It, Most 'Lost' Viewers Find

May 24, 1997|ZAN DUBIN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

NEWPORT BEACH — So, was it worth it? Worth an entire day or afternoon camped on a concrete sidewalk?

Moviegoers' early reviews on "The Lost World: Jurassic Park" were somewhat mixed, but none were shedding any reptilian tears upon exiting Thursday's 10 p.m. preview of Dinodrama, the sequel.

"I enjoyed myself," said Long Beach resident Robert Directo, one of the beaming, brontosaurusly baptized at Edwards Newport Cinemas. "I don't regret coming out here and waiting in line since 1:15."

Directo said he preferred Steven Spielberg's original T-Rexathon from 1993 because its questioning of genetic tampering lent it a philosophical bite lacking from "Lost World." But he agreed with others who said the new one has superior special effects that made the extinct behemoths look far more naturalistic and that it teems with more beast-chases-human action.

"You weren't as involved with the characters," said Julia Asquith of Laguna Hills, "but this was scarier, more suspenseful."

"You jump out of your seat every couple of seconds," said Jamal Siddiqi, 15, of Irvine, labeling it "the best movie I've ever seen. . . . I'm seeing it, like, four more times. It was just an awesome movie."

For maximum effect, Siddiqi and his friend, Jackson Benge, 16, of Irvine watched "Jurassic Park" on video at Benge's house before heading to see the sequel at the Edwards 21 Megaplex in Irvine.

"It just scares you constantly. You think everything's all peaceful and quiet until--T. Rex, right there!" Benge said. "And when you jump, you think you look stupid, but you look and everybody else is jumping too."

But Kameron Schmidt, 23, of Buena Park called the movie flat-out "bad."

"It ended up in San Diego, for heaven's sake," she said. But she conceded "the special effects were great."

"It was very believable," said her companion, Jason Wicker, 23, of Fullerton. "Except for the San Diego part."

While one die-hard fan arrived at 7 a.m. Thursday at Edwards Newport Cinemas to get choice seats, theater officials said that paled next to the "Star Wars" enthusiasts who arrived three days before the recent re-release of George Lucas' 1977 classic.

They noted that there had been minimal advertising for Thursday night's "Lost World" sneaks. Further, they said there had been no "Star Wars" preview screenings, and added that the 8 p.m. show for Friday's official premiere had already sold out.

John Stark of Lake Forest had bought one of those tickets, and, with three friends, pitched a tent and fired up the barbecue on dewy grass outside the theater to wait for the "real" opening.

"These are what they call "event movies,' " Stark said, "and you have to be here first."

Also contributing to this report was Times correspondent Steve Carney.

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