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Frankly, I don't think this movie is as bad as some people make it out to
be. I like the early episodes of the original series (particulary the
first six), when the show had a more serious tone (and before Jonathan
Harris sabotaged it by turning up the comic antics as Dr. Smith) and it's
nice to see the film stay closer to that serious tone and not emulate the
more campy aspects of the series from its later episodes. The cast is good
for the most part and I love the visual FX.
However, once the Jupiter 2 crashes on the planet and we get caught up in the time travel older Will Robinson bit, that's when the movie falls apart completely. And the biggest mistake of all is that the older Will Robinson is not played by original Will Robinson, Bill Mumy, even though he badly wanted to play the part. Having listened to the comments of the director on why he didn't cast Mumy on the DVD, I have to say his explanation doesn't wash. Especially when both he and the scriptwriter concede that the device of using the "older Will Robinson" didn't work on the screen as it did in writing. It never occurs to them that maybe the scene would have worked if this new character sprung on us was someone with a definable connection to the old show.
Actually, I was quite surprised at how much fun I thought this movie
was. Hardly perfect by any measure and, sure, there were some elements
that were intrusive, but I found it to be quite faithful to the TV show
- it used plots and elements from the early episodes. Even with the
newer designs, they incorporated older aspects - the planet REALLY
looked like a better version of one of their old sets.
Furthermore, Oldman managed to peg Dr. Smith perfectly, taking in all the old camp elements and putting them to very good use - even using some old catch phrases in different ways.
As diversionary, light sci-fi adventure goes, I thought this was great and I'm usually very picky about this kind of thing. It was fun and a pretty good kids' movie.
The only thing really missing was Billy Mumy.
Dr. John Robinson (William Hurt) is taking his family into deep space to find a life-supporting planet for the human race. Things on earth are deteriorating, to say the least. Going along with him are his scientist wife Maureen (Mimi Rogers), his brilliant daughter, Judy (Heather Graham) and his equally intelligent children Penny and Will. Needing a good pilot, Dr. Robinson nabs hotshot airman Mark West (Matt LaBlanc) to fly their spaceship. Evil Doctor Smith (Gary Oldman) tries to sabotage the vessel but ends up getting caught on board. Amid the ensuing chaos, the ship goes off course and gets lost. Between battling spider-like creatures and their own killer robot, the Robinsons still hope to reach their destination. Will they? This movie starts off with a bang and ends with a whimper. The problem? Well, it is not the terrific cast. Hurt, Rogers and Oldman are wonderful in their respective roles, while Graham and LaBlanc delight the audience with their wit and charm as the couple who provide the movie's romantic elements. All other cast members are quite fine as well. The production looks nice, too, with great costumes, sets, and special effects. So, that leaves the uneven script. It starts off well, with a quick look at the Robinsons' quest and the plotting of Dr. Smith. There are even some great lines, such as the one Maureen hurls at John and Mark, as they are sparring. "If you guys are done hosing down the deck with testosterone..." had me laughing heartily. But, it all just fizzles somewhere in the middle and ends up being utter nonsense, a plot without a cause. What a shame. Those of us who loved the sixties television series deserved better. If you are partial to any of the cast members, from Hurt to Graham to Oldman, do make time for this film, someday. They are the reason to see this movie, for they are a joy to watch, even in a film as lame as this one.
I don't think Lost in Space was a bad movie. Is it a movie to be honored the all-time best? No, it's not. There are flaws in this movie, but I don't care too much. The movie is about a family, the Robinsons trying to go to the other habitable planet in the galaxy. They do all right until the villain, Spider Smith tries to kill the family and he ruins the navigational system. Now the Robinsons are lost. The acting is OK. Some of the actors did a great job such as Matt LeBlanc and Gary Oldman. The rest did OK. The special effects are not as good as movies from the time period such as Armageddon or Godzilla. The effects are good, though. I was disappointed in the writing. Akiva Goldsman is a respected writer with talent. For a bad script, all the actors did a good job. The music is pretty good. I liked the electronic soundtrack. I give this movie a 7/10 because I liked the space scenery, the gadgets, and the action.
Now, I don't think it was IMDb Top 250 material, not by far but it still should have been up in the "6"s. First let's look at the basic for the movie. Lost in Space was a television show from 1965 that was very low budget. I. Allen had to work from a shoestring and it showed. The show was a "kiddies" show, something that the kids enjoyed while Mom and Dad was able to snicker at the goofiness of it, (but not too loudly or the kids might get mad). Then the show progress into one that centered around three characters, that of Will Robinson, Dr. Smith, and the Robot. Mr. And Mrs. Robinson, Major West, and the girls were just so much window dressing and fodder. This is what the director of the movie, Lost In Space, had to work with. Either he kept as close to the original show as he could or he struck out in a totally different direction, such as what happen when they made Wanted Dead Or Alive for the big screen. It's not high drama, but then neither was the original show. Comparing it to the TV show, I believe that the director keep to the same spirit and I say it's not a bad rendering.
I liked the movie, but I fear it suffered from the same disease that Star
Trek The Motion Picture suffered from - too grandiose a concept, too grand
an undertaking, too big an effects budget and enough plot for several
movies. Lets see, we have the dysfunctional family becomes functional
we have the evil traitor in the med lab plot, the time travel plot, the
metallic spider plot, the sexual tension between Dr. Judy and Major Don
plot. This puppy had more subplots than a season of X-Files.
It was great to see Mark Goddard in a role with some meat on it. However Angela Cartwright and Marta Kristen were given extremely short shrift. And Bill Mumy and Jonathan Harris should have been involved. I know Jonathan Harris doesn't do cameos, but dammit, find him a role! And as for not getting Bill Mumy to play future Will Robinson - as far as I'm concerned, that singlehandedly reduced this flick from a great movie merely a good one. If they had enough money for the hideous yellow excuse for merchandising (how blatant can you get?), they sure had enough to hire the full original cast.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I think the major problem was the lack of closeness within the family unit.
writers choose that as the overall arc and that was a deadly mistake.
needed to see this family battle the unknown enties in space, rather
I was not interested in seeing Dr. Robinson finally make amends with his son. By spending so much time on the 'family' problems, we negated any sense of adventure.
The plot should have been about something space, a distant planet instead of this internal examination. Lastly Dr. Smith was just awful. I love Gary Oldman but this role just wasn't one of his best. If nothing else Smith was a pain in the butt, the writers saw as evil and turning him into a spider and having the little spiders eat him was just plain stupid.
Once again the fault lies in a poor "Hollywood" script.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
When Hollywood turns to the TV Mine to see what it can dig up, the
general rule is to try to do something which recaptures the essence of
the TV original, albeit tweaked in some sort of fashion so as to bring
it up to date. But sometimes there is an attempt to give a twist to the
original - to dress it in clothes which are not so much new as entirely
different. And so we have Starsky and Hutch as a comedy, Bewitched
actually featuring a TV remake of the original but with a real witch,
and so on.
Lost In Space has, thankfully, forgone the overriding two-set (one interior, one exterior) studio-bound obviousness of its TV progenitor. It has also lost Robbie the Robot (his update is a lot less sympathetic than the original), and weaselly serial complainer Dr Zachary Smith. Much as I enjoyed Jonathan Harris' portrayal, it was essentially a comedy role, albeit with the capacity for introducing the element of dramatic tension in a serial drama which was so resolutely formulaic.
Gary Oldman's Dr Smith is an entirely different animal. The TV Smith was irksome, a nuisance, and could cause some damage. The movie Smith is dark, dangerous, and potentially fatal.
There are plot elements introduced which are fun and, in some respects, original. Most of the visuals are excellent (although I found the cute but hugely unconvincing CGI critter irritating). Most of the cast are good (with some interesting dynamics between the characters), although I found Lacey Chabert's squeaky pre-teen even more irritating than the CGI thingie.
On the whole, there is quite a lot here for science fiction space opera fans to like.
First of all, I would like to address fans of the TV show who hate this
film. I am always shocked how many people feel that this film was
"unfaithful" to the original series. I would invite you to go back and
watch the very early episodes of the series, before it became a
camped-up disaster (admit it!), and see how similar the two are.The
1998 film is often a straight remake of the original, only, frankly,
The idea of a film about a single family trying to survive and function by itself when they are all alone in outer space is loaded with potential, and I think this film did as much as could be expected in what was planned to be a three-movie series.
There's a lot to like in this movie--first of all, it's a science fiction movie that the whole family can actually enjoy, not just the twenty-year-old son living in the basement. The special effects were very impressive for the day and some of them hold up very well. There's a kick-ass end credit sequence (how often do I get to say that?) featuring a new version of the classic Lost in Space theme song. There's some exciting action scenes, good performances by the adult leads, cool production design, some genuinely touching moments, and two not-overly-cute performances by a child actors, which is extremely rare. Penny is actually something resembling a real character this time around. Also, the fact that the queenish, goofy Dr. Smith actually becomes a threatening and very creepy villain by the end of the film is no small feat.
The story is sometimes episodic, but all comes together very well. Small details become important plot points later in the film in surprising ways.
Now, there are some down sides. The script is by Akiva Goldsman, best known for his Oscar-winning screenplay for A Beautiful Mind. However, comic book fans will always remember him as a boogey-man who concoted the script for Joel Schumacher's infamous film Batman and Robin. This script is somewhere in the middle in terms of quality. Although it is very clever at times and manages to incorporate favorite bits from the series, some of the dialogue will definitely remind the viewer of Arnold Schwartzennager's infamous Ice puns from Batman and Robin and will definitely make the eyes roll. Matt Leblanc is stuck with most of this. Akiva Goldsman has always written terrible, shameless "buzz" dialogue, quips where a character tries to say something clever and cool. It's painful at times. Gary Oldman also has a few of his own, in which he actually has to refer to himself as evil. Seriously, what villain actually knows that they are evil?
Despite some cliché moments, which can easily be forgiven by young members of the audience (a large chunk), Lost in Space is an above-average adventure movie. It's exciting, occasionally funny, and has likable characters. I only wish the sequel materialized, I think it only could have gotten better.
The Lost In Space television series was one of my favorites when I was
growing up so when I found out that it was the basis for a new movie,
trepidation is the word that best described my reaction. As it turns out, my
fears were unfounded as the result is one of the best, if not the best,
treatment of older material and characters ever. Unlike this year's other
movie based on a cultural icon, namely Godzilla, the producers of Lost In
Space have a great deal of respect for the original tv series and this shows
in the finished product. They have been able to
update the story and characters, even changing the tenor of the story from
farce to serious drama without losing any of appeal of the original. The
inclusion of June Lockhart, Marta Kristen, Angela Cartwright and Mark
Goddard in cameos and minor parts adequately demostrates the respect the
production team has for the fans of the original series, which helps
immensely in this adaptation. This is something that Mssrs. Devlin &
Emmerich need to learn before unleashing any more destruction of cultural
icons as they did this summer.
All in all, the movie is great family adventure entertainment. The story is simple enough, told in a caring way and is suitable for all ages. The acting well done, the writing & direction good and the visual effects rank amongst some of the best ever committed to celluloid.
Definitely one of my favorites and quite possibly one of the best science fiction films of all times. Old fans and those who never heard of Lost In Space will enjoy this movie.
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