Lost in Space (1998) starring Gary Oldman, William Hurt, Matt LeBlanc, Mimi Rogers, Heather Graham, Lacey Chabert, Jack Johnson, Jared Harris directed by Stephen Hopkins Movie Review

Lost in Space (1998)   2/52/52/52/52/5

Matt LeBlanc as Maj. Don West in Lost in Space

Lost in Remake Hell

Once in a while I'm grateful that I was born in the 70s, and I was grateful when at the back end of the 90s movie studios started turning old 60s TV shows into movies because having never seen half of these old shows it never felt they were tarnishing memories. One such movie is "Lost in Space" which tries to be a big screen version of the 1960s sci-fi series, bringing the familiar characters and the robot to the big screen and then delivering an action movie set in space. Now that shouldn't be too bad but "Lost in Space" is cheesy, actually at times it goes beyond cheesy especially with Matt LeBlanc playing a hot shot pilot whose cheesy dialogue feels like the comedy lines which his character Joey in "Friends" would deliver as Dr. Drake Ramoray. Whether being cheesy was intentional or not it is certainly what causes "Lost in Space" to border on being a bad movie and one which to be honest is better forgotten.

The year is 2058 and with resources running out on Earth, thanks to global warming, the Robinson family embark on a mission to Alpha Prime to set up a hyper drive gateway so that the planet can start to be colonized. But unbeknown to them Dr. Zachary Smith (Gary Oldman - Air Force One) is trying to sabotage the mission as he is blackmailed by terrorists and stuck on board the Jupiter 2 along with the Robinsons the mission is soon in trouble as they become lost in space.

Gary Oldman as Dr. Zachary Smith in Lost in Space

At 130 minutes "Lost in Space" is a surprisingly long movie and it's that long because for the first half there is a lot going on. We get introduced to the Robinson family as we have Professor John who's so dedicated to his work that he fails to spend time with his clever son, his middle daughter is a bit rebellious and his oldest is so desperate to please him that she follows in his footstep. At the same time we get the set up of their mission to Alpha Prime as well as Dr. Zachary Smith who is working for a terrorist group to sabotage the mission and of course we meet ace pilot Maj. Don West who is such a ladies man that you expect a "How you Doin'" to burst from his lips. None of which is that complex yet it seems to take an age to set all of this up before finally getting to what is the main part of the movie.

What that main part is exists of a series of troubles from Dr. Smith's attempt to sabotage the mission putting everyone at risk and then as the name suggests they end up lost in space. And so we got more troubles as they encounter another abandoned space craft, aliens, learn that they have shifted into another time and a few other things which really sort of float over your head because they are quite unimportant. It almost feels like "Lost in Space" didn't really have a proper storyline, just a beginning and an end, and so they filled up the middle with various moments of action until they decided enough was enough and brought the action to an end.

What this ends up meaning is that "Lost in Space" feels like a movie which tries to entertain with a bit of nostalgia, some comedy and a lot of action. But rarely does it entertain because it all seems so cheesy and whether being cheesy was on purpose or not it ends up cheapening everything. You can't but help laugh as Maj. West spouts some utterly terrible dialogue not because it's funny but because it's so bad and whilst I am sure some will enjoy the references to the original series with the robot it ends up as equally cheesy. And to be honest whilst there is plenty of action all embellished by special effects it again ends up feeling, you guessed it cheesy. As I said being cheesy may have been intentional, I can't believe that someone wrote some of the dialogue thinking it sounded good, but it's all too much.

Now there is a surprising amount of talent on show in "Lost in Space" with William Hurt, Gary Oldman, Heather Graham, Mimi Rogers and Lacey Chabert all playing central characters but it is Matt LeBlanc who you remember and not in a good way. Whether it was on purpose or not but LeBlanc plays Maj. Don West like a very poor soap star and as already mentioned it feels almost like we are watching Joey rather than Matt playing a tacky soap star not too dissimilar to his character Dr. Drake Ramoray. Maybe some will find it amusing and for about the first 5 minutes it did bring a smile to my face but that smile soon disappears as it becomes painful. In may ways "Lost in Space" is a waste of talent and whilst Gary Oldman tries to make Dr. Zachary Smith a slime ball it doesn't really work.

What this all boils down to is that despite a lot of talent "Lost in Space" just doesn't work. It suffers from many things including a weak storyline which feels like it is missing a middle section but it is the fact that it ends up so cheesy that ruins it, causing it to be occasionally funny for the wrong reasons but more often than not painful and at 130 minutes that is a lot of pain.