Lost in Space *** (out of 5) (1998)

Cast: William Hurt, Gary Oldman, Matt LeBlanc, Mimi Rogers, Heather Graham

Directed by Stephen Hopkins


Motion picture version of the popular Sixties TV series of the same name about a family who get lost while seeking a gateway to an inhabitable planet for the people of a dying Earth. The diabolical Dr. Smith devises a plan to destroy the family but is forced to abort his scheme when he is accidentally left aboard. They eventually end up on an alien planet with strange creatures and lots of danger, not knowing when or if they will ever make it back to Earth.

Not having but the vaguest memories of the original series, there isn't much nostalgia value here for me, so I can only offer my opinions of the film from a fresh perspective. I recognize that this film was lambasted by virtually every critic imaginable, but I found the film to be enjoyable for the most part, so long as the expectations aren't set too high. The special effects are truly special, and are the best thing about the film. The actors unfortunatley are fairly annoying, and the character development was not very good as I found myself not particularly caring for any of them. I enjoyed the film for most of the first hour, but after introducing a nauseatingly cute but unnecessary-save-for-marketing alien-monkey creature called a Blarp, and a truly convoluted time travel last half, the film lost a little steam but wasn't totally ruined. I did however think that the dark tone of the film was all wrong for this film. The film is rarely fun, unlike what I remember of the original series, and the oddly humorous but morally flawed Dr. Smith of the original series is replaced in this film by one of almost pure evil. The ending set up the prospect of a sequel, which would make sense since nothing of what was set out to accomplish was resolved in this film. Considering this film was a flop, I doubt we'll ever see them resolved in our lifetime. I have mixed feelings about the movie, but all-in-all there was enough good things to pull out a positive review from me, baggage notwithstanding.

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