Paradise Lost (1999) is a rain forest eco-parable supposedly set in a
fictitious South or Central American country, but actually filmed in Puerto
Rico. An LA developer (William Forsythe) with the help of a new defoliant
invented by best friend Nigel Havers, is turning jungle enshrouded ancient ruins
into a community. Step one is getting rid of the pesky rain forest. When a
worker is found with his heart removed, and a baby is born missing both thumbs,
they head for the site to calm everyone down.
Meanwhile, Marina Sirtis, a physical anthropologist, is there completing a study
started by her husband. Both her husband and daughter died in the Southern
California surf, and this is her way of grieving. She has come to suspect that
rumors of a race of near humans, glyphs that show people with four fingers, an
ancient defoliant, and the addition of the new one to the environment are about
to cause a serious environmental calamity. So, at this point, I had the entire
film figured out. The developer would be a major creep only interested in money,
the inventor of the new defoliant and Mirina Sirtis would become an item, the
local witch doctor would, in fact, have been the one who was killing people, and
Sirtis and Havers would save the world, and find a solution that would allow
growth and a better standard of living for the natives without destroying the
This ultra low budget film sidestepped all of the above cliches. The inventor,
on an overnight expedition to prove some new theories, gets his heart ripped out
in the beginning of act one. The developer ends up being a nice guy, and he and
Sirtis have sex. I won't continue with the spoilers, but this film never went
where I expected it to go.
Mirina Sirtis shows breasts in a post sex scene. Note that this is the first
time we have seen them since Star Trek the Next Generation began.
IMDb readers say 5.0. In the only actual review for this film at IMDb, Scoopy
had no difficulty awarding an F, and was wishing for lower possible scores.
While I admit the film was dark and grainy, and the transfer could have been
much better, I found the story adequate to entertaining and enjoyed many of the
characters. Of course, this is my sort of film. Eco parables in general, and
rain forest stories in particular are my idea of a good time, it is never a bad
idea to show Marina Sirtis's bare chest, and there were some delightful minor
characters. To me, this is clearly a C-, adequate for genre lovers, which is
consistent with the IMDb score. Of course, as our score guidelines clearly
state, "If this is NOT your kind of movie, a C- and an E are indistinguishable
Thus, we are not really that far apart on this one.
(Scoop's note: Yeah, we are. because this is also my
kind of film concept. I was really excited about watching the film when I
slipped it into the DVD player. Then I ended up laughing all the way through it.
It has exactly the same production values as those Saturday morning TV shows
from the late 70s, early 80s, like Electra Woman and DynaGirl. In fact, it could
be shown on Saturday Morning TV if Marina's topless scene were removed, which it
could be without affecting the story in any way. I definitely stand by my F.
Terrible movie, and completely incompetent technically. It's directed by the
same guy who did the infamous Graduation Day. Also a poor DVD transfer. Totally
bottom of the barrel. I am appreciative of Marina's efforts to liven it up with
her breasts, however. If only the quality of the transfer had been better than
The only reason it has a decent IMDb score is that
Males under 18 score it 6.4 ... Star Trek geeks watching American TV, lusting
after Marina? People from outside the USA score it 3.9. Even 3.9 seems a bit
high to me, but the most common score awarded by non-Americans, by a wide
margin, is 3/10, which seems like the right vicinity. If you get this DVD I
won't object, because we get a commission, but don't say I didn't warn you!)
It is available from RLDVDs.com in a Region Free PAL in English. Note that,
as is often the case, the box says Region 2, but it is actually not region
Click on the image below for details.