SNMR 6.20: "Lost in Space"
Tonight's SNMR feature is "Lost in Space" (1998, PG-13, 131 minutes), starring William Hurt, Gary Oldman, Matt LeBlanc, Mimi Rogers, Heather Graham, Lacey Chabert and Jack Johnson. The film was directed by Stephen Hopkins.
PLOT SUMMARY: Based on the 1960's television show, the movie follows the exploits of the Jupiter II spacecraft, the Robinson family, Major Don West and Dr. Zachary Smith. Smith, in a failed attempt to sabotage the mission, gets trapped in the Jupiter II after liftoff and awakens the Robinsons, who were put in a suspended animation/sleep for their long journey. Once in space, with many systems on their ship destroyed or damaged, the Robinsons attempt to get back to earth, avoiding aliens and pitfalls along the way.
MY OPINION: I remember going to the movies in 1998 and seeing a big promotional poster hanging on the wall of the theater, pronouncing this as the biggest blockbuster of the summer. Though I didn't see it in the theater, I wanted to, but never got around to it. I recently checked it out of the library recently only because I wanted to see how Matt LeBlanc would do in a role other than Joey on Friends. His performance was good, but a little stiff. That's okay because Mark Goddard, who played Major West in the TV show was a little stiff too. William Hurt is passable as John Robinson but he's no Guy Williams. Gary Oldman, as good an actor as he is, was miscast as Dr. Smith. Judy Robinson, played by Heather Graham, was given more to do in this film than her character had in the TV show. Mimi Rogers, Lacey Chabert and Jack Johnson were decent as Mrs. Robinson, Penny and Will respectively but won't wow you.
This movie does a good job of explaining the origins of the Jupiter II's mission, how Major West became associated with the mission and Dr. Smith's dirty deeds. Once out in space, the story loses focus and goes off into too many directions and falls flat. Some of the visual effects are well done, others (like the alien space monkey thing) not so much. You can have the best special effects ever but if the story is bad there's usually not much chance of saving the movie. Some movies are so bad that they are good - but this isn't one of those.
The best part about the film is that Mark Goddard, Marta Kristen, Angela Cartwright and June Lockhart all have cameo roles in the beginning of the movie and the voice of the robot, as in the television series, is voiced by Dick Tufeld.
The special features on the DVD include interviews with June Lockhart, Marta Kristen and Angela Cartwright and a complete episode guide to the TV series.
This movie had the potential to be great and could have been with a better script. Now that I think of it, this would have been a much better, or at least more interesting, movie if they had picked up the story where the television show left off (the show was cancelled in the third season with the Jupiter II forever lost in space) and we were able to see if/how the Robinsons were able to return to earth. That's what I would have done anyway.
Watching this movie made me desire to watch the television series again. Campy as it was the TV show was a far superior product.
"Danger, Will Robinson! I repeat, danger!!" View at your own risk.
*½ out of *****