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Lost in Space VHS DVD

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This review contains spoilers.  If you don't want the movie ruined, don't read any further.

I liked Lost in Space as a kid.  In Junior High, I started to recognize the low production values.  I borrowed Toad's DVD and intend to listen to the commentary tracks RSN.

Once again, Hollyweird blows the characterization and settles for episodic action.

There are too many characters for this size movie.  West and Judy are very cardboard.  He's a jock, she's a brain.  He makes clumsy attempts to get in her pants and she insults him.  In the end, she changes her mind.  The kid, Will, is too smart.  Sure, this is supposed to be the future and kids are going to find some amazing things easy to understand.  But no 10-year-old kid is going to do cutting-edge theoretical and engineering work on time travel.  The other characters get a little more screen time, but they're still very shallow and stereotyped.  Penny actually acts more childish than Will.  The father is self-absorbed and a workaholic.   The mother is just sort of there with no real personality herself.  Oldman didn't capture the selfishness of Dr. Smith.  His character seemed more like a series of plot devices.  And the robot was a non-character.

For some reason they have the world's nations consolidated just 60 years from now.   They also have the government lying to the people about natural resources.   It's hard to tell if the government is totalitarian.  They tried to justify the family going on this search mission, though not why such a small group.  All of these were verisimilitude lapses for me.

The writers should have stuck with one action setting.  They had the opening fight scene, simply to introduce the faceless bad guys that send Dr. Smith to sabotage the ship.   Then, the ship "gets caught in the sun's gravity."  Grr.  Next, they find the human ship from the future with the silly spiders and the silly pet.   Then they crash land on the planet and find the time bubbles that Will predicted.   And finally there's the transformed (Grr) Mr. Smith and the big fight scene and the big sacrifice.  Oh, yeah.  They don't have enough power to take off so they fly through the planet.  Sigh.

Nothing fleshed out.  Just a series of disconnected obstacles with babble-science to get them through.

In the commentary they mention that lighting computer-generated models is still hard, and I can deal with that.  But they need to refrain from adding stuff to a movie that they can't do well.  The pet just plain looked bad in every shot.  And since the grown pet was a physical model, the discrepancy was jarring.

I guess basically, the movie just kept annoying me.  They might have been able to salvage the characters if they had one big obstacle with a few sub-quests that led naturally to a resolution.  What they ended up with was magic solutions, like the later Star Treks resorted to.
"Nobody has ever been in this situation."
"I have only one idea.  Let's do this (bleedingly obvious/impossibly obscure) thing.  What do you know!  It worked!  Let's move on to the next obstacle."

Slapped-together Hollyweird exploitation.  A big disappointment.  On my brother's Total Movie Value Scale, Cable.

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Last modified: June 14, 2004
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