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Lost in Space (1998) – Review

1 1/2 Stars


Lost In Space struts across the screen, confident that it’s non-stop visual effects and break-neck episodic screenplay are enough to hold viewers attention. That is a false confidence; the two-hour and ten minute film is filled with shoddy CGI and a hazy visual texture. Sure, the sets look great but when (predominantly) sub-par actors deliver awkward lines embarrassingly; it doesn’t matter how intricate the production design is. Out of the seven leads, the only to emerge unscathed are thespians William Hurt and Gary Oldman. Everyone else either over/under plays their respective roles. It also doesn’t help that the long script from OSCAR winning scribe Akiva Goldsman gets muddled in a tricky time travel element that collapses in a confused third act.

In the year 2058, Humans have depleted Earth’s resources to the point where survival depends upon a daring scientific mission dubbed “The Jupiter Mission”. The plan: to launch the Robinson family into the deepest depths of space to colonize “Alpha Prime”, the only other inhabitable planet in the known galaxy. Things go awry due to the stowaway Dr. Smith (Gary Oldman), who manages to continually sabotage the mission. Major West (Matt LeBlanc) is the cocky pilot with eyes for the eldest Robinson daughter, Judy (Heather Graham). The family Robinson, West and Dr. Smith find themselves on uncharted planets filled with alien invaders and time warps.

There are some note-worthy touches sprinkled through-out. The all computer animated character of Blarp, is the first of its kind setting a landmark in CGI over a year before Lucas made the claim with Jar Jar Binks in 1999s The Phantom Menace. Then there is the 360 degree rotating camera, similar to the infamous ‘bullet scene’ in The Matrix yet beating it to screens by a year. These small hallmarks of the burgeoning CGI movement and subsequent dependence, are memorable but neither do anything to enhance the film.

Director: Stephen Hopkins
Stars: Gary Oldman, William Hurt, Matt LeBlanc