Lost in Space
Reviewed by Brian Moore
Rating: 9 Beans
hanks to a technique known in psychiatric circles as recovered memory, I now know why I have been having terrible nightmares for the last few months. Apparently I was abducted from my apartment and taken to a cavernous dark room, where I was forced to watch an emetic piece of tripe called "Lost in Space". Since my analyst feels that discussing the film would improve my chances of a full recovery, I submit this review.
Based on the 1960's science fiction Irwin Allen TV series, "Lost in Space" is the story of the Robinsons, a family so deathly dull that the World Government has spent billions of dollars just to get them out of the solar system. The father, played by William Hurt, has toiled for years on a project to transplant his wife (Mimi Rogers) and children (Heather Graham and a couple of future washed-up child actors) onto an uninhabited planet far away. (Apparently the property values on Mars do not attract the average space-faring yuppie.) After their original pilot is killed by a rebel group (what are they thinking -- shoot the Robinsons into space, dammit!), a hotshot (played by Matt LeBlanc) is chosen as a replacement. His stupidity is established early on in a bland prologue containing as much excitement as a Philip Glass musical salute to Sominex.
Finally, launch day approaches. But the flight surgeon (Gary Oldman as Dr. Smith), secretly a member of the rebellion, sabotages the spacecraft so that the Robinsons will be killed. In other words, to the audience Dr. Smith is the hero of the piece. After disabling the ship, however, he finds himself an unwilling stowaway and is held prisoner by the incredibly unappealing Robinson family. In other words, to the audience Dr. Smith becomes the most sympathetic character of the piece.
After a few excuses to add some special effects, they find themselves at an abandoned ship, which turns out to be a rescue vessel sent afterwards. Now on the ship they find a starmap. Which means that they aren't "Lost in Space". But the ship is from the future. So aren't they now "Found in Space"? Or, at least, aren't they just "Lost in Time"? Say, didn't Irwin Allen also do "The Time Tunnel"? Now the filmmakers knew that these types of thoughts would be entering the heads of the audience right about now. So what do they do? That's right, more special effects! They introduce a computer-generated space monkey to justify a fast-food tie-in, and then start The Assault of The Vicious Intergalactic Spiders (say, didn't Irwin Allen do "The Swarm"?).
OK, so after a few more special effects (blowing up the rescue ship, arriving where they wanted to go -- hey! that means they're not "Lost in Space" anymore -- AGGH! SPACE MONKEY!), they crashland at their destination, the ship useless (say, didn't Irwin Allen do "The Poseidon Adventure"?). They find themselves next to a spooky glasslike bubble (say, didn't Irwin Allen do "Beyond the Poseidon Adventure"?) in which is embedded their ship from another timeline. In this timeline, though, everyone was killed in the crash except Will Robinson (now grown up) and Dr. Smith (mutated by the earlier spider attack -- don't ask). Will Robinson has built a Big Shiny Sci-Fi Thing which will allow him to travel back to Earth. But -- surprise! -- it turns out the Mutato Dr. Smith is still as evil as before, and plans to travel back to Earth and populate it with the Vicious Intergalactic Spiders. To resolve this some crap happens, not surprisingly involving special effects to convince us that the film had a point (say, didn't Irwin Allen do "Hanging by a Thread"?) In a final assault on the intelligence of any survivors in the audience, the film ends with the Robinsons through the center of the planet as it breaks up, violating both the laws of physics and geology -- but not the laws of Hollywood, which stipulate that any problem can be resolved by accelerating one's vehicle and yelling "Rock and Roll!" And, as a final insult, the finale of the film is open-ended, implying that, even after producing and editing this film, the auteurs still thought anyone would want to see a sequel. (Say, didn't Irwin Allen do "Outrage!"? -- AGGH! SPACE MONKEY!!)
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