Despite magnificent graphics and special effects, Lost in Space (New Line Cinema) is poorly acted, horribly written and offers a muddled plot.
Modeled after the 1960s television show “Lost in Space,” the film travels with the Robinson family across the galaxy. They try to discover another planet to sustain human life since Earth is becoming unbearable.
The dysfunctional family is led by Professor John Robinson (William Hurt, Dark City) and his wife, Maureen (Mimi Rogers, Austin Powers). The mission is led by heroic war pilot, Major Don West (Matt LeBlanc, “Friends”).
Family members resent each other – and they must ward off the sabotage plan of Dr. Smith (Gary Oldman, Air Force One).
The Robinson family and Dr. Smith are jettisoned into the middle of the galaxy and are truly lost in space. On their journey home, they encounter strange creatures, giant killer spiders and possibly their own future.
The abominable LeBlanc is even worse as an action star. The usually solid Hurt turns in a disappointing performance. At times, the two appear to be reading from cue cards.
The three actors who portray the Robinson children are equally pathetic. Lacey Chabert (“Party of Five”) plays the middle child, Penny. If it’s possible, Chabert is more annoying as Penny in Lost in Space than she is as Claudia on “Party of Five.”
Along with fancy graphics and effects, Oldman is the only bright spot. One of the more versatile actors in Hollywood, Oldman adds a streak of meanness to some extremely humorous lines.
As if the acting wasn’t bad enough, the writing is awful. The character development is awkward and strained. At times, Lost in Space is downright painful to watch.
On the surface the plot seems simplistic and easy to understand for small children. But along with the Robinson family, audience members will find themselves completely lost. In the midst of their travels, the family finds themselves in the future – though how and why is left totally to independent imaginations.
After sitting through two hours of utter torture, the movie abruptly ends as if a sequel in the works. Hopefully, for everyone’s sake, director Stephen Hopkins and New Line will halt any plans for part two.
Lost in Space is one of those strange movies that has the potential to either be a compelling drama or strictly a family adventure. However, it lies somewhere in the middle, which is dangerous ground for a movie with such sad acting and writing.Lost in Space opens Friday.1 hatchet