When it came out, it seemed that everyone wanted to jump on the bandwagon of panning this movie. It seems people felt that the acting was not up to par, the script was almost laughable, the FX shots were cheesy and this was just generally a bad movie.
They didn't get it.
I would never have considered myself a fan of the original TV series, though I do remember in my teens watching it on British TV on a Sunday afternoon when there was little else to do, often with lunch. Let's be honest here; it was hokey, campy and its relationship to "science fiction" as a genre started and stopped at the spacecraft and the robot. The rest was filler. Given that though, the original pilot was actually pretty dark; obviously a failed attempt at a very serious TV series that was degenerated to a comedy by the public impression that Irwin Allen could not produce a serious show.
And so we come to the movie. If you go into this expecting a campy sci-fi series bought up to date you'll be disappointed. Similarly if you go in expecting a serious movie more along the lines of the original pilot you'll also be disappointed. However, if all you want is to be entertained for two hours and not think too hard about the science, this is about as good as a typical summer blockbuster gets. It's a comic-book rendition of the concepts laid out in the pilot, and it shows.
While the script is sometimes a little "off", the well established actors such as Mimi Rogers, Gary Oldman and William Hurt chew up the material and create a charged and enjoyable atmosphere. Gary Oldman especially whips out yet another character who's intelligent, thoughtful and utterly evil. A comic-book stereotype if ever there was one and I can't think of anyone else who could've pulled it off quite so well.
Although the pacing trips a couple of times throughout the movie, the story generally moves along at a rapid and enjoyable clip. Don't expect good science from this; there isn't much here for the real science geek... but while the science may not be perfect it's at least not so glaringly and annoyingly wrong as in Armageddon for example which I can't sit and enjoy due to the stunningly bad science especially in "Act Two" of that movie (right after takeoff).
I truly feel that this movie could've been the start of a reasonably enjoyable franchise, but there were too many people who were ready to pan it because it wasn't what they expected. Granted, the trailers probably had much to do with that since they either made the movie out to be a campy takeoff of the TV show, or a serious Sci-Fi movie. This is neither, but put in perspective of being a comic book in and of itself, this is actually a highly enjoyable movie for anyone who just enjoys the pleasure of being told an engaging and enjoyable story.
I doubt there will ever be a sequel to this movie for all the reasons I detailed above; for a start the actors are getting older and are no longer the people as portrayed in this movie, the children especially. However, if there were ever a sequel then I know I would be first in line at the theatre to see it. Yes, I enjoyed it that much.
On that note, I usually find children in movies distracting and detracting from the rest of the movie. However, Lacey Chabert and and Jack Johnson do a wonderful job of being both fun to watch and a believable pair of siblings who mask their true affection for each other in barbs and insults... I know, I have younger siblings as well!
Take a chance; sit down with some popcorn and someone you love... if you have kids then there's nothing here that will really negatively affect them either. Let the world melt away and just enjoy this movie as it was meant to be enjoyed; as a comic-book bought to life. You might find it better than many other movies that tried the same formula.