Lost in Space

Reviewed By Scott Weinberg
Posted 12/23/99 03:07:06

"I dunno--It was better than The Fifth Element."
3 stars (Just Average)

I think this is just one of those movies that everyone wanted to hate. As it stands after all the hype, it's not all that bad. Yes, the "family" angle was way overdone, and that stupid little monkey was the genesis for Jar Jar, I swear. What it does offer is a sprawling and visually strong sci-fi adventure. And lay off Matt LeBlanc.

You know, it's tougher than it looks to play a moron. Matt LeBlanc is NOT Joey. (This theory is untrue when talking about Suzanne Somers, though. She IS Chrissy Snow.) He's one of the most likable things in Lost in Space. He's just a young TV actor who got to play space cowboy and he's not bad.

OK, Lost in Space is a mess. It is. There are sevaral components that could have been jettisoned prior to take-off. (See the space theme I'm working here??) I understand the plot in relation to the whole "Waltons in Outer Space" thing. It just could have been done a lot less syrupy. Just because you're shooting for a large audience doesn't mean you have to write for 9-year olds exclusively. For this, we look to the most likely offender. No, not Joel Shumacher, the other one. Akiva Goldsman, film destroyer strikes again. I know I'm belaboring a known fact, but this guy sucks balls. He should be writing Bazooka Joe comics (the GUM ones, not the newspaper ones) somewhere in a back room in Taipei. WHY does your movie have to contain lines like "I love you, robot. Remember me? I'm your friend." Just why? 6-year olds were wincing.

But I forgot that I actually kind of liked Lost in Space for a while there. There's enough in there to balance out the treacle. Not only for the special effects, but the action sequences are damn good. At least until they crash land on the planet of the "time-bubble". Like a whole space-time continuum discussion is what you need in a family space movie. Was I the only one completely thrown by the ending here? Dad teams up with old son from the future to save young family and CGI monkey, or something like that. (I say the ending was ripped off from the time paradox finale of The Ice Pirates. What do you think of that? A $120 million "blockbuster" ripping of a Golan-Globus sci-fi spoof that probably cost less than my computer! I love movies.)

Where was I? Oh yeah, I liked Lost in Space. It's got Gary Oldman, minus the hair flop from The Fifth Element, which is good. He plays the villain here with equal parts intelligence, deceit and just plain fagginess. (No offense at all, but I think he's TRYING to be typecast now as the "effeminate futuristic villain". Heather Graham is pretty and she's also in this movie, although she's pretty much ignored, except by Joey Tribiani. There's the little brother, who apparently makes Einstein look like Cookie Monster, because he can build gigantic robots overnight and rewire the whole space-ship to go back in time, just so he can stay up late to watch Willy Wonka. That leads to another small problem in Lost in Space: The 6-year old is an electronic and cyber-genius, and the smokin' hot and tight leather-wearing 18-year old is like some brilliant surgeon thing. I could buy the mostrous mechanical spiders and the massive time-bubbles, but Heather Graham with a college degree? Come on, even science fiction has its limits.

A special mention is reserved for Lacey Chabert. She's got this squeaky little voice that reminded me of oral surgery I had once. I'm sure she's a real nice person in real life and all, but as an actress, she's like getting sprayed in the eyes with Raid. She's shockingly weak in this movie, and her asides to the camera are just mind-numbingly sad. THIS is why we have editors, guys.

I kept getting sidetracked by the lame stuff, but I liked Lost in Space. That's not to say you will. Actaully, just to be safe, let's just go ahead and assume you won't. Save me the trouble of hearing about it later. Trust me, there are much worse "special effects epics" than this one. (I think the giant spider from Wild Wild West would have been much cooler here, and give those idiots some stupid-ass time bubble.)

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