Space Mishap Extravaganza Part 3 – Lost In Space (1998)

With last week focusing almost entirely on the doom and utter bleakness of space travel, for the final part of this trilogy, a change of pace is in order to a film that is a little more positive. For the final instalment, we focus on a reboot that attempted to just that, a film that follows a family that set off for new frontiers and got lost… in space.

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They know they’re somewhere in space… that narrows it down.

As if it was a recurring theme with the films reviewed in the Space Mishap Extravaganza. The earth is in crisis what with the ozone layer and other catastrophes just waiting to happen. The Robinson family has been chosen as the first family to attempt the one-way journey to Alpha Prime. However, there are dissenting organisations who feel that the mission is against their objectives, who sabotage the mission. Setting the mission off course, leaving the family, and the saboteur lost.

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Even through subtle glances, Oldman manages to convey the full extent of Dr. Smith effectively,

The film takes a great amount of patience in establishing our characters and their lives on earth before the life-changing trip in space. In this, it raises some thought-provoking questions about what to do on the last day on earth, is juxtaposed with a down to earth (no pun intended) reaction of how kids react to having to give up their established roots. It’s charming on its own and helps set up what society is like in 2058. This sequence is also joined by heartfelt cameos from the original show’s cast, with some noticeable omissions, however. In the original series, the character of Dr. Smith grew in Urkle-like popularity. The melodramatic Machiavellian machinations alongside alliterative altercations with his robot companion made for appointment viewing in the late sixties. In the 1998 reboot, the same thing is also true, Gary Oldman channels up the same burst of over-the-top charisma he is famous for and it fits like a glove here. Making a break from his iconic role as Joey Tribbiani to play Major Dominic West, Friends star Matt LeBlanc feels at home as a silver-screen frontman, along with Heather Graham as Dr. Judy Robinson is another example of strong casting, as the chemistry of the actors is a solid as the chemistry of Will Robinson’s experiments.

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No, Matt LeBlanc and Heather Graham isn’t the most-late 90s romantic pairing I could think of.

There’s a noticeable difference between the show and the new film, it’s more action orientated for a start. This could be due to the nature of the series being transferred into the big screen and having a budget of $80 Million and there were plans to make this investment pay off into a providing franchise for many years. The film teases at a wide galaxy of possibilities for future instalments. Lost in space also plays with the mechanics of both space and time to interesting effect and opens up some fun for a potential spin-off.

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The film manages to find impressive vistas, even in scenes where you’d least expect them.

Kudos should also be given to the soundtrack, much like Batman & Robin, it consists of alternative chart mainstays like Death In Vegas, Fatboy Slim, and aptly named, Liverpool rock band, Space. Along with a traditional orchestral score by Bruce Broughton, helps in evoking the feeling of the new mixed with the old that runs throughout the film. The usage of C.G.I. is as unremitting as the action. But like in Event Horizon, it’s used in fun and creative ways. From the stylistic choices of freeze-frame shots (a year before The Matrix) to impressive vistas full of strange fauna and flora. It is blended to a degree that makes it seem seamless and shows how far we’ve come from attaching fake ears to a primate.

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Lost in space shows that even after 30 years, some ideas remain both relevant and exciting. With a skilful use action, adventure, and effects, to set up a vast universe to explore filled with not just new planets, but family drama as well. It’s a perilous yet thrilling two hours of the pioneering spirit. The Robinson’s may be lost, but this film has found a rich vein of discovery.

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Sun glare, while you’re driving, is always the worst.

If you want more positive reviews delivered to the e-mail box of your choice, you can click on that little text bubble at the bottom of the screen. Do you agree, disagree or have a suggestion for another pop-culture artefact that needs a positive light shone on it? Leave a comment in the comment box below! But remember to keep it positive!

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