Rich walks down the hallway towards the space shuttle. With one of their patented Rich and Poe undercover disguises he is virtually indistinguishable from astronaut Jim McBrawn. The plan is simple: blast into space, take over the space shuttle, take the moon ransom, and then get Poe back. All in a day’s work for Rich… however usually he’s on the right side of the law. But what can you do when a madman has your best friend and his granny hostage? Suddenly Jade runs around the corner. They share a tender kiss and sing John Mayer’s romantic masterpiece Your Body is a Wonderland to each other. Spinning in circles for what seems like hours reminds the world what they are fighting for. Love. The love between a man and a tree monster. The love between a grandson for his foul-mouthed granny. The love between John Mayer and chart-topping hits. As he departs he tells Jade to remind Poe that he’s doing this for family and that he needs to remember to just be himself. Simple as that. The shuttle launches as people around the world look on. Inspiration. Love. Emotion. Explosions. Shortly after entering orbit the shuttles screens all switch to the face of Gruber. “Ah, Rich. You didn’t really think I would trust you with this mission. This has all been a big ol’ trick to get you out of the picture. Have fun with my assassin robot, Assassinbot 3000. He’ll take it from here. Bwahahahaha.” Suddenly Assassinbot 3000 burst into the command module killing all of Rich’s co-astronauts. Rich hopes that Poe gets his message, for it’s looking mighty dire for him and any false move against this robot could leave him… lost in space. That’s right! We’re watching Lost In Space, also from the greatest year in film 1998. This was also on Siskel’s year end worst of the year list with the previously watched Godzilla. Obviously Patrick and I saw this at the time and I recall thinking it was real dumb… and I was 12. So this should be solid. I’m just really hoping that Matt LeBlanc lives up to his billing. Let’s go!
Lost in Space (1998) – BMeTric: 62.9
(Wow, sub-5.0 is so low. It is slowly creeped up, but this will never be anything but 50+ BMeTric. Which is kind of awesome. I had kind of figured it would just be a middling, if-you-were-a-kid-when-you-watched-this-you’ll-like-it kind of deal.
Leonard Maltin – 2 stars – In 2058, with the hope of opening a gateway to a new planet for denizens of the overcrowded Earth, a family is launched into space, accompanied by a he-man pilot and the weasley doctor who tried to sabotage the journey. The 1960s TV series is re-created on a lavish scale, bu hurt by crudely episodic story, grim tone, and paper-thin characters. Oldman, curiously, underplays the role of Dr. Smith. Angela Cartwright, Mark Goddard, Marta Kristen, and June Lockhart, stars of the original TV series, have cameo roles. Also available in PG version.
(Why is this film PG-13 again? Like … it is a children’s film. There is no way around it, the film is a family film through and through, so why make it PG-13? Whatever.)
(Wait … did they just use Star Wars music at the end? Or wait no, it is maybe Indiana Jones with a little sci-fi twist? That trailer is horrible, but I have to say they hit the fact that most of the film is constructed from bad CGI well. It actually looks like they leaned into the cheesy 60s set idea … but in reality they didn’t.)
Directors – Stephen Hopkins – (Known For: The Ghost and the Darkness; Race; Under Suspicion; The Life and Death of Peter Sellers; Future BMT: A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child; The Reaping; Blown Away; Judgment Night; BMT: Lost in Space; Predator 2; Notes: Directed 12 of the original 24 episodes of the first season of 24. Was dating Heather Graham at the time of filming.)
Writers – Irwin Allen (television series) – (Known For: Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea; BMT: Lost in Space; Notes: Producer of the original series. Made the Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea series at the same time.)
Akiva Goldsman (written by) – (Known For: I Am Legend; A Beautiful Mind; I, Robot; A Time to Kill; The Client; Cinderella Man; Future BMT: The Dark Tower; Insurgent; Practical Magic; Silent Fall; The Da Vinci Code; Angels & Demons; BMT: Batman & Robin; Rings; Lost in Space; Transformers: The Last Knight; The 5th Wave; Batman Forever; A New York Winter’s Tale; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay in 1998 for Batman & Robin; and in 2018 for Transformers: The Last Knight; and Nominee for Worst Written Film Grossing Over $100 Million for A Time to Kill in 1997; Notes: Notable for writing episodes and producing the current Star Trek series Discovery. He is mostly a producer at this point. Batman & Robin immediately preceded this film, oooof.)
Actors – Gary Oldman – (Known For: The Dark Knight; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2; Leon; The Dark Knight Rises; Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire; The Fifth Element; Batman Begins; Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban; Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix; True Romance; The Hitman’s Bodyguard; Dracula; Darkest Hour; The Book of Eli; Lawless; Dawn of the Planet of the Apes; Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy; RoboCop; Air Force One; JFK; Future BMT: The Unborn; Paranoia; Tau; Planet 51; Man Down; Criminal; Criminal Law; The Magic Sword: Quest for Camelot; Child 44; Hannibal; Romeo Is Bleeding; BMT: Lost in Space; Red Riding Hood; The Scarlet Letter; Tiptoes; The Space Between Us; Hunter Killer; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screen Couple for The Scarlet Letter in 1996; Notes: Ha, IMDb has Oldman first? He’s been married five times, and is apparently rather private about his personal life.)
William Hurt – (Known For: Avengers: Endgame; Avengers: Infinity War; Captain America: Civil War; The Incredible Hulk; Into the Wild; A.I. Artificial Intelligence; The Village; Robin Hood; Mr. Brooks; Dark City; Body Heat; A History of Violence; Syriana; The Good Shepherd; The Yellow Handkerchief; The Big Chill; Altered States; The Miracle Season; Race; Tuck Everlasting; Future BMT: Michael; Trial by Jury; Vantage Point; Days and Nights; Neverwas; BMT: Lost in Space; The Host; A New York Winter’s Tale; Notes: A private pilot, he owns a Beechcraft Bonanza. I feel like actors owning and flying planes never seems to end well though.)
Matt LeBlanc – (Known For: Charlie’s Angels; Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle; Future BMT: Ed; All the Queen’s Men; Lovesick; BMT: Lost in Space; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screen Couple, and Worst New Star for Ed in 1997; and Nominee for Worst New Star in 1997 for Mother, She’s the One, and The Pallbearer; Notes: Joey! This is arguably his largest role. He’s continued to have a very successful television career with Episodes and Man with a Plan since 2011.)
Budget/Gross – $80 million / Domestic: $69,117,629 (Worldwide: $136,159,423)
(That isn’t good. It is a flop and there is no way a sequel would have been made considering the level of CGI that is on display.)
#24 for the Future – Near genre
(A Sound of Thunder is the lowest grossing film we’ve seen, and honeslty … the CGI is about the same in Lost in Space. We still love future films, go figure.)
#55 for the Sci-Fi – Adventure genre
(Wow, this is the highest grossing Sci-Fi Adventure we’ve seen! That’s insane. Again … we are loving sci-fi right now. On television and in film we are going bananas for Sci-Fi.)
#41 for the TV Adaptation (Live Action) genre
(The veritable peak of the TV Adaptation genre. Came out the same year as The Avengers, and then everyone collectively realized there are only so many television shows from the 1960s which aren’t cheesy, and weird, and suck.)
Rotten Tomatoes – 28% (23/83): Clumsily directed and missing most of the TV series’ campy charm, Lost in Space sadly lives down to its title.
(They forgot to mention that it is just chock-a-block full of CGI effects without bothering to actually make a movie around it. Reviewer Highlight: A galactic slump of a movie that stuffs its travel bag with special effects but forgets to pack the charm. – Desson Thomson, Washington Post)
Poster – Sklog in Space (C+)
(This is so old school. I like the color and the font is fine, particularly the stylized “LS” in the background. The rest is kind of blah.)
Tagline(s) – Danger Will Robinson! (D+)
(Also the website they used for the film. This is not good and basically playing into a property that the target audience in its entirety has no familiarity with in any capacity. I guess it’s short.)
Keyword(s) – spaceship; Top Ten by BMeTric: 94.7 Battlefield Earth (2000); 94.1 Dragonball Evolution (2009); 86.4 Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987); 82.2 Skyline (2010); 78.8 Jason X (2001); 74.8 After Earth (2013); 70.3 Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964); 65.2 Thunderbirds (2004); 62.9 Lost in Space (1998); 62.6 The Garbage Pail Kids Movie (1987);
(We’ll complete this at some point. We’ll have to be careful with Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, but it is on the worst of all time wiki page, so we’ll bring it along as a friend with like … Fred Claus or something.)
Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 10) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Heather Graham is No. 5 billed in Lost in Space and No. 2 billed in Say It Isn’t So, which also stars Chris Klein (No. 1 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 2 billed) => 5 + 2 + 1 + 2 = 10. There is no shorter path at the moment.
Notes – Despite opening in theaters on April 3, this was the first new film of 1998 to open at #1 at the box office. Titanic (1997) had been at the top spot for the previous 15 weeks, starting in late December. For a short time, the movie was nicknamed “The Iceberg”. (HA)
Dick Tufeld reprises his role from Lost in Space (1965) as the voice of the Robot. (That’s kind of awesome)
All principal actors were contracted to a three-picture option. The film failed to recoup its budget in North America, so plans for a new franchise were scrapped. (Yeah, it was a big enough flop that that was never going to happen … man, what would a Lost in Space 2 have looked like?
The television series Lost in Space (1965) was set in the future of 1997 – the year the film began production.
Gary Oldman was the first member of the cast to sign on, jumping at the chance to appear in a family film.
Matt LeBlanc filmed his role while Friends (1994) was still shooting, and had to fly back and forth between sets several times per week in order to do both projects at the same time. Gary Oldman guest-starred in a couple of episodes with LeBlanc, but director Stephen Hopkins had never seen an episode up to that point.
The first robot in the movie weighed two tons and required eight people to control. (Jesus, it looked like it was made of plastic)
Originally, all surviving cast members of the TV show were meant to have cameo appearances. Dick Tufeld reprises his role from Lost in Space (1965) as the voice of the Robot. Mark Goddard, the original Major Don West, plays the General. June Lockhart, the original Maureen Robinson, plays Will Robinson’s principal. Marta Kristen and Angela Cartwright, the original Robinson girls, play reporters. Ironically, Bill Mumy and Jonathan Harris, the two actors most supportive of the idea of a new movie (as well as the two most popular characters on the show), did not appear in it. Mumy wanted to play the older Will Robinson but the director thought it would be too distracting from the plot to have the original Will play the older Will. Harris was to have played the man who hired, then betrayed, Dr. Smith. In an interview for “TV Guide” prior to the film’s release, it was mentioned that Harris bluntly stated, “I will have you know I have never done a walk-on or bit part in my life! And I do not intend to start.” He announced that if he could not play his own role in the movie, he wanted nothing to do with it – famously being quoted as saying “Either I play Doctor Smith, or I do not play.” He did return as Dr. Smith in a one-hour TV special Lost in Space Forever (1998). (I kind of respect the stance by the Dr. Smith guy. The notion of having the original Will play the older Will is ridiculous. Not because it would be distracting … but because the guy who played Will is probably a terrible actor)
Sean Patrick Flanery was originally cast as Don West, but he was let go while the project was still in rehearsal because it was thought that he too closely resembled William Hurt. The part was also offered to Matthew Perry before it went to his Friends (1994) costar Matt LeBlanc. (Matthew Perry would have been hilarious)
A huge production, this movie occupied 12 separate soundstages when it was being filmed at London’s Shepperton Studios.
In the script the ship with the spiders doesn’t have a name while in the movie it is called The Proteus. You could also notice this later on by watching Older Will’s lips move when he talks about how the spiders survived.
Heather Graham was dating director Stephen Hopkins during filming. (Wow, that is crazy)
Blarp was originally going to be an animatronic puppet in the film, except the puppet didn’t look real enough so it was replaced with a CG puppet. (The CG puppet looks so bad, an incredible decision)
In the original script and movie adaptation, it wasn’t Silicon Graphics who co-sponsored the Jupiter mission, it was Coca-Cola. (WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT)
The movie opens on September 30th, 2058 (two days after Mike Johansen & Naomi Watts’s 90 birthday). This is an allusion to Robinson Crusoe who was stranded on his Island on September 30th, 1659. The Robinsons ultimately owe their name to Crusoe via the Swiss Family Robinson, who were named after Crusoe.
British Band Lighthouse Family recorded the song “Lost in Space” for this film, but the producers decided not to use it. It wasn’t released for 2 months after the films US release. (Amazing)
According to the screenwriter, if this movie did receive a sequel it would have been about the Robinson family making it to Alpha Prime. However, they’d discover that Alpha Prime is already populated with humans because they previously went through a wormhole in the first movie that sends them into the future. There would also have been a sub-plot with Judy Robinson creating a cure for Dr. Smith to prevent the spider infection from turning him into Spider Smith and Penny ending up receiving the same color-changing abilities as Blarp has. (Oh thank God I wasn’t left hanging)
Future Will’s dialogue is entirely dubbed, as Jared Harris did not have the vocal scale to complete the role. (Yeah ………….. I think he couldn’t cover his British accent. It is very weird)
Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Remake or Sequel (1999)