Dorks in space

Movie: Lost in Space

Our Rating: 2.50

Where are June Lockhart and Billy Mumy when we need them? Something, even a couple of players from the original "Lost In Space" series, is clearly needed to jolt the makers of this lame spin-off out of an obvious myopia. Fresh off the fiasco of last year's bombastic flop "Starship Troopers," another big studio has taken to depicting the colonialist urge in cinema, this time via the classic TV show.

Jam-packed into its stasis freezers, the Robinson family once again blasts off in its spaceship, the Jupiter 2, in order to visit and improve lovely Alpha Prime. Only two obstacles face the Robinsons: 1) Their mission is opposed by the archvillain Dr. Zachary Smith, a fiend predictably played by Gary Oldman; and 2) They're a bunch of dorks.

Dr. Smith cravenly fiddles with the ship's controls and reprograms the family's robot as well. The big, corny robot, which was the pillar of Billy Mumy's metaphysical jaunts in the "Lost In Space" series, has been replaced by an even bigger, dumber one. When the artificial person booms out, "DESTROY ROBINSON FAMILY! DESTROY!" we're meant to marvel at the bigness of its voice. There lies the modus operandi of the "Lost In Space" creators.

Director Stephen Hopkins and visual-effects supervisor Angus Bickerton, obviously excited by the range of CGI (computer generated imagery), have loaded the film's humdrum story full of many overblown, impressive-looking sequences. It's as if the prospects of cryosuits, space monkeys and evil spiders excited them so much that they forgot about plot altogether.

Instead, we're treated to a hollow show of graphics that culminates in imperialist cinema's biggest faux pas yet. The filmmakers, clearly pleased with themselves and these evil spiders that resemble the curiously alien bugs of "Starship Troopers," treat us to an obscene man-spider hybrid with the single goal of populating the cosmos with its volatile, new genotype.

This is the tragic mishap of sloppy interplanetary endeavors! By misfiring over the haunting pathos of the '60s television series, "Lost In Space," and offsetting their work with facile special effects, these filmmakers prove themselves to be quite, well, lost.


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