34 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on April 11, 2000
As a dedicated fan of the Lost In Space TV series since my childhood in the 60's I approached New Line's big-screen version with a mixture of anticipation and trepidation on its release in '98. I'd heard about the initial reviews and was ready to be severely let-down. Imagine my surprise to emerge from the cinema feeling as though it was one of the best times I've had at the movies.The amazing effects "blew me away" (leaving me somewhat exhausted by my responses to them)but unlike so many recent sci-fi extravaganzas I found myself entertained by a complex and witty screenplay which also unexpectedly moved me with its restrained use of sentiment.I applaud the efforts of Akiva Goldsman and Stephen Hopkins to recapture the tone of the early black and white episodes of the TV series (before the show descended into camp, never to fully recover)and found the 90's modifications to the concept (eg. dysfunctional family issues etc) intriguing. Fans of the show were given clever references to well-known episodes and lines of dialogue (the first two-thirds of the film stuck very close to the pilot episode and the following one entitled THE DERELICT) and the cameos by original cast-members were great.June Lockhart in particular showed herself to be an actress with a bold sense of humour about her TV image! The film cast couldn't have been better chosen (Gary Oldman is particularly outstanding as the vain, villianous Dr. Smith), all adding the kind of depth we don't see too often in films of this genre.Bruce Broughton's score (the great John Williams was unable to redo his classic TV score due to other commitments) is excellent (see the reviews of the full score CD at Amazon.com) and a worthy successor to its "forbear". Although moved by the ending (involving the saving of John Robinson's life by an older version of his son Will, who in effect sacrifices himself for him) I originally found the last portion of the narrative difficult to grasp and sensed that editing had played a hand in this. The DVD's commentaries and deleted scenes confirmed my theories(the "time bubble" sequence originally had many "bubbles" and dialogue had to be cut when confused preview audiences led the makers to shred this sequence down).Nevertheless, repeated viewings have made even this section more enjoyable and easier to grasp (time warp sequences are usually a bit hard to fully work out at the best of times- eg. BACK TO THE FUTURE II).My only carp is that, despite Jared Harris' good performance, I wish that Bill Mumy (who played Will in the series) had been given the opportunity to portray the older version of Will (he tested for the role and reportedly believed it was his for a time- his disappointment at losing it apparently played a major part in his decision to have no part in the production).Harris (the son of Richard Harris) apparently had his dialogue looped by an American actor.Nonethless, I happily cannot understand the tirade of criticism levelled against this film and believe that time will be kinder to it than many other movies which were well received critically at the same time.One Melbourne critic (Jim Schembri, of The Age, called it "an undeniably entertaining extravaganza based on the modest '60's TV series").It is incomprehensible to me that there were no Oscar nominations forthcoming for Visual Effects, Sound Effects Editing, Dramatic Score and Art Direction-Set Decoration. I have yet to play the (excellently produced) DVD to anyone who has not been entertained and moved by it. A planned sequel is reportedly unlikely to be made now due to box-office figures- a tremendous pity which I hope will be turned around before cast contracts expire etc.. I cannot recommend this film highly enough- even to those who may not be sci-fi buffs.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Format: VHS TapeVerified Purchase
"Lost in Space" purists probably had a problem with the "updated" version of the 60's show. However, the movie basically reworks several of the better episodes from the "more serious" first season. There are remnants of "The Reluctant Stowaway" which introduced the nefarious Dr. Smith, "The Derelict" wherein the crew discovers a seemingly abandoned ship, and "Island in the Sky" featuring the crash of the Jupiter II.
Also, the film expanded the role of the Judy Robinson part (Heather Graham) by presenting her as a doctor with skills essential to the success of the mission; the television show never really effectively utilized the character. The film also makes better use of the Maureen Robinson (Mimi Rogers) character who is seen as an equal to her scientist husband played by William Hurt. As played by June Lockhart on the show, the character was often relegated to the background as the damsel in distress.
Matt Leblanc is appropriately "macho" as gung-ho pilot Major Don West. The two younger roles of Will and Penny Robinson are handled well by Jack Johnson and Lacey Chabert.
Cameos by Lockhart, Angela Cartwright, Marta Kristen, Mark Goddard, and Dick Trufeld (the Robot's voice) are welcome.
Gary Oldman as Dr. Smith gives a very understated performance. This is due, perhaps, to the over-the-top performance of the series doctor played by Jonathan Harris.
Even with the plot inconsistencies and some "effects" that don't work, the movie is still a fairly enjoyable "journey."
36 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on October 1, 2007
First of all, I am a huge fan of anything sci-fi. That said, chances are that if you liked "Serenity" and "Firefly", and if you could imagine those movies/shows with a lot more humor and camp, then "Lost in Space" is the movie for you. I had never seen the TV Series as I wasn't born then, but the film is a delightful confection, one that you will surprisingly keep remembering days after you've seen it. This one is a panned film, with negative reviews all around, but for me it succeeded as pure sci-fi escapism and entertainment, and it surpassed my wildest imagination.
William Hurt is good in anything, and he was great here as the father who loves his work more than his family. The dialogue, which most people found inane and juvenile, is certainly nothing to write home about, but its servicable. I would say that if they had a better screenwriter the film would have probably done better business all around.
My only 'problem' with this film is the monkey-like alien that they suddenly introduced. They get this off a deserted space station in a hyper universe. The moneky names itself Blarp. Yes, you heard that right. The CGI on this is especially bad as it looks like it belongs in a much different, much less sophisticated film. If the monkey were removed, this would have been an even better film.
Matt LeBlanc was 31 years old when he made this, and he has never looked better either before or since. I was quite surprised that Joey looked 'this good' because frankly looking at him today is a task. The same cannot be said of Heather Graham who has a very weakly written role. Mimi Rogers has the worst lines, as some sort of neglected housewife who just happens to be a pro at interplanetary travel. Whatever. This all worked for me, no matter how convoluted it sounds.
The best way to watch this treat is to leave your brain at the door and take it for what it is. This is a fine slice of sci fi heaven, and definitely better than other more serious films of the genre like 'Red Planet'. And since this DVD is full of features, I'd suggest buying this as soon as you can (it went out of print officially in early 2007 - no idea when its going to be back).
Five Stars. HUGELY entertaining, and I could watch this over and over.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on August 8, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
I don't know, maybe it was that severe blow to the head I suffered when I was six, but something has given me a weak spot for hard luck cases- those movies that are so terrible that I actually like them, sort of like a good-bad movie. It's kinda hard to explain properly, like `Independence Day', you know it was silly and contrived, but you liked it despite of that? This is pretty much what I felt like watching this turd of a film- about half way through it I found myself really liking it. I wasn't really old enough to watch the original series, and it never saw much by way of reruns, at least where I was living at the time. However, I did see episodes later and life, and well, the movie is a distinct improvement. They also played it straight instead of for laughs, though with a particularly wooden William Hurt as Dr. Robinson, it wasn't much of a stretch.
Matt LeBlanc takes a welcome departure from `Friends' to assume the role of the Jupiter II's pilot, Major Don West, a part that he was made to play. In fact, he's probably my favorite character, even beyond Gary Oldman's portrayal of the inept saboteur, Dr. Smith. The women of the movie were cast by virtue of how well they appeared in tight fitting rubber and/or spandex outfits, this of course only adds to the film's overall visual appeal. Mimi Rogers portrays John Robinson's equally wooden wife, Maureen, and actually comes across as a fairly extraneous character, since it appears her only job appears to scold the men when they get out of control. Rounding out the kid quotient of the film is Heather Graham as Judy Robinson, who appears to be a graduate of the Robert A. Heinlein school of women, and Lacey Chabert plays the delightfully cute n' snarky Penny Robinson. Lastly is Jack Johnson, who plays young Will Robinson, and it pleased me because he scored very low on the Jake Lloyd Annoy-O-Meter.
That about covers it for the cast, now for plot...
Just kidding. The technology in this film is far in advance of what 2050 stuff will be like, and I had the same feeling watching this as I did with `Event Horizon'. Anyway, the Earth has become one massive stink bomb, because we have simply over populated and over polluted the planet to the point where it can no longer sustain us. Not too hard to believe, really, we're almost there now. So they conceive a plan to build a space craft that will carry a family to a planet called Alpha Prime (don't ask me, I figured it was Proxima Centauri), where they will build a hyperspace gateway that will allow mass transit there by the rest of humanity so we can stink up that planet as well. The catch is there is a terrorist faction on Earth that wants to do all this for themselves, so they hire Dr. Smith to sabotage the Jupiter II and its mission. He does this by reprogramming the ships robot, (called: Robot), but is abandoned by his benefactors, stunned unconscious and is onboard when the Jupiter II launches. Oopsee.
This film has a lot of really silly moments in it, but, there is much her to enjoy. The effects are wonderful, especially the eye-popping fly by of the exploding Proteus star ship-a sequence that takes a full 20 seconds from start to finish. And while the technology is too advanced, it has a wonderful high tech look it. Though I am given to wonder what kind of moron builds space craft with hyperdrive systems that do not allow you to plot a destination, I am willing to overlook such flaws. This movie is fun, has lovely visuals in both the effects and the cast. Matt LeBlanc and Gary Oldman together make up the best parts of the cast, and their interplay is good fun. This isn't really science fiction, rather it's SCIFI (pronounced sciffy), but it's light and easily digestible.
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on January 21, 2000
It adds up like this: special effects plus art direction minus a plot equals ZERO. What a mess of a movie! It's all "eye candy" -- it looks great but there's no real substance. The script is a collection of uninteresting, unclever homages to better movies and TV shows ("E.T.", "Rocky Horror Picture Show", "Alien", "The Waltons", etc.) mixed in with boring and predictable dialogue. There aren't even any characters worth rooting for: the Robinsons have been turned into a 1990's dysfunctional family, each of whom is obnoxious. Major West has become a sexist clod; Dr. Smith has lost his campy edge; even the robot is a bore. The ending credits can't come too soon, and unfortunately they're ruined by a loud and ugly theme song.
Admittedly, the DVD edition offers a beautiful transfer and has some neat extras. The theatrical trailer is a lot better than the movie itself, and the interviews with cast members from the 1960's TV series bring back warm and nostalgic memories, as well as a reminder of what the big screen version could and should have been ... but isn't.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 10, 1999
I was a bit wary after hearing some criticisms, but now after seeing it, I'm surprised that it wasn't more popular. It's a wonderfully fun movie, but it also stimulates the "grey matter". LeBlanc was outstanding in the MAJOR WEST role, and Hurt was excellent as the father. We've watched it a handful of times and it's a big favorite.
15 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
Don't laugh at the title of this review. "Lost In Space" is the perfect film to watch if you'd like a handle on how most motion pictures are made these days. Take an old TV series, slick it with gee-whiz special effects, toss out the plot, and let folks munch on popcorn as they "ooohh" and "ahhh" at the wonders on the screen. That's all that this film really is. Has Hollywood run out of good, original ideas? From the "Beverly Hillbillies" to "Dukes of Hazzard" to "Starsky and Hutch," we've been brutalized by the moviemakers with one TV rehash after another. I've also seen a trailer for the new "Miami Vice" film. What's next, the "Square Pegs" movie?
Anyway, back to "Lost In Space." The story sounds like a really good one. Using environmental destruction as the motivator in this flick, work-consumed William Hurt and his Robinson family are jettisoned off to Alpha Prime in order to design the Hypergate, which will allow humans to leave Earth at rapid speed to Alpha Prime, which is an inhabitable planet. Of course, things go awry when Dr. Smith, sinisterly played by Gary Oldman, sabotages the mission and the family is forced to use their hyperdrive before the gate can be designed and they hurtle into unknown expanses of space and time. This gives the family a bottomless pit of adventure to be thrown into. Instead, we get ho-hum adventure that looks really cool on the screen but, in the end, is relatively nothing but fluff. The ending leaves the film wide open for a sequel, though that will probably never come to fruition.
The acting in this film is pretty good. The best performances in this film are by Hurt, Oldman, and Mimi Rogers, who plays the mother of the family Robinson. Matt Leblanc is very good as Major West, though you can't help but see dumb Joey from "Friends" in every scene that he's in. I kept waiting for Ross or Chandler to come popping out of the scenery to bring Leblanc back to the ol' coffee shop. Heather Graham plays Judy Robinson respectfully, but there's not a lot for her to work with. The younger Robinsons, Will and Penny, are rather annoying at times. Jack Johnson plays the forgotten young Will and Lacey Chabert scowls and hisses her way through puberty as Penny.
This film is brilliant as far as visuals go. The mere expanse of space in this film looked so great on the big screen when this originally came out that I often caught myself watching the scenery more than the actors. The special effects were top-notch back in the 90's and they still hold up wonderfully today. The Robinson family's spaceship, Jupiter 2, is designed beautifully. The landscapes and even the famed robotic spiders are nicely rendered as well.
The problems with this film are abundant, but if you can sit through trainwrecks like "Hulk" or visual buffets like "Independence Day" and still like yourself the next morning, "Lost In Space" will not be a total lost cause. Like I said before, the plot is almost non-existent, but the special effects are some of the best in the business. Unfortunately it seems that too much time was put into the effects and nothing else, just like most modern action yarns.
In closing, I have to admit that I bought this film fully knowing what I was getting into. The film just has too many cool whiz-bang effects to be ignored. If you're looking for depth and character development, steer clear of this film. But if you just want something to watch while your pounding nachos or popcorn into your face, this movie fits the bill.
Lightly recommended to fans of sci-fi. Fans of the original will notice a few nice cameos but will probably hate this film. If you love films just for the effects, then this is one of the best flicks you can ever watch.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 23, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
...This movie made me uneasy for a few reasons. For example, how on earth can you travel THROUGH the sun without being burned to cinders? Also, Dr. Smith was a tad bit more homo-pedophiliac than he was in the t.v. show, and it kind of made the scenes with him and Will kind of creepy. And finally, the spider-ish version of Dr. Smith was just plain scary. It was probably the most unappealing thing I've ever seen. Very scary, and very realistic, which made it even scarier. A metallic human spider-type thing? What was that all about? Finally, it was kind of hard to follow. In the theater I wasn't able to pay close attention, but upon watching it later, I tried harder, and it was just as confusing. If you blink during this movie, you'll end up on Mars.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
"Lost in Space" successfully captures the elements that made the TV series a hit in the 1960's, and helped it retain it's cult following throughout the last thirty-plus years. The story, characters, plot, and special effects work together nicely to create an entertaining movie.
The film carefully tries to remain true to the characters, stories and situations of the TV series, while donning a fresh, more modern look and feel. There is enough of the original series present to satisfy die-hard fans, and enough of an updated treatment to entertain and amuse those with little or no knowledge of the show.
Because so much is taken from the TV series, and much of the remainder is pulled from the standard science fiction bag of tricks, the movie contains little original creative story material. The original TV pilot serves as the template for the first act of the film, which also contains a heavy-handed bit of preaching about how we have to pull together to "save the planet". This aspect comes off as preachy, is derived from questionable, politically motivated "science", and feels inappropriate and artificial.
A high point of the film is the treatment of Will's somewhat dysfunctional relationship with his father. Via the magic of time travel, Will's father is forced to confront his adult son in the future, and to come face to face with the damage that his lack of parental involvement has lead to. This glimpse ends up giving him a second chance to be a good father, by making him realize that taking an interest in and spending time with his son is far more important than he had ever imagined.
The visuals in this film, along with the special effects, are quite impressive. The artistic work that went into the Jupiter 2, robot, and spider designs (to mention just a few elements) is first rate. The musical score is also quite good, and provides appropriate emotional cues in most scenes.
The worst element of the film is the computer-generated character "blarp". Like the character "Jar jar Binks" in "Star Wars: The Phantom Menace", this character adds little to the movie, and detracts from other, more important story elements. Both characters are sickeningly cute, don't look realistic enough to be believable, and seem to be tacked on just to take advantage of the computer animation craze. However, it is also true that cheesy creature effects played a major role in the original series. So, in the sense of remaining consistent with the TV show, the inappropriateness of blarp is somehow "appropriate".
The DVD compares very favorably with some of the better DVDs that have been released in recent years. The DVD medium has been used effectively, with fully animated menus and menu transitions, with accompanying music. The disk is also packed with extras, most of which are informative and/or entertaining. One exception is the "future of space travel", which has pseudo experts providing information that ranges from partially wrong to utterly false (like the statement that Americans consume 60% of the Earth's resources every year). Another is the music video. While the music is good, the video is just bits of the movie cut with shots of the band playing, and their band name flashed up over and over again. It's more of an ad for the band than a music video. Also, the "game" included is a lame trivia quiz that is obviously just a marketing vehicle designed to familiarize you with other films that you might want to buy. Finally, there is Buzz Aldrin's cam-corder advertisement, in which he states that the same technology that put him on the moon is built into this amazing camcorder (a ludicrously inaccurate statement, on top of being blatantly commercial and totally unrelated to Lost in Space).
The interviews with the original cast, and the synopsis provided for EVERY episode of Lost in Space are pretty cool. The behind the scenes material, as well as the commentaries, are also informative and worth experiencing. And the deleted scenes provide an interesting peek into the deeper, more richly textured time travel story that was originally envisioned, but could not be completed, due (primarily) to lack of funds.
Artistic Merit: A
Overall Entertainment Value: A
Transfer Quality: A
Use of Medium: A
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 11, 2012
dear amazon,that was a really funny movie and it was good too. but be careful amazon, if you ever go for a ride in space, make sure you bring a map with you before you leave, or at least make sure your car has a good GPS system. mom says space is big. anyway, thats whats happening in this movie. you see, this family goes for a ride in space but then they get lost and cant find there way back home. mom says getting lost in space can really ruin your day.she says not all aliens are frindly. she says lots of TV people got lost in space too, Jason vorhees, Han Solo,The leprechaun,Superman and even bruce willis one time. anyway amazon, you be careful when you drive in space and you check your GPS regurlarly.
your frind kent