Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Friday, August 17, 2012

Bad Movie Month becomes Lost In Space

Today's installment of Bad Movie Month tunes into Lost In Space,the 1998 version of the classic campy sci-fi TV series. Now,I actually saw this one when it originally hit theaters,due to being a fan of the show that was playing in syndication by the time I was watching it so I was really looking forward to seeing a big screen version.

Sadly,I would've been better off renting the DVDs of the old show. LIS packed in a lot of well known names to play the Robinson family such as William Hurt,Mimi Rogers,Heather Graham and Lacey Chabert(from the teen angst drama Party of Five),plus the likes of Matt LeBlanc as Don West and Gary Oldman as Dr.Smith,one of my favorite characters. You'd think that line-up would be great,right?

Instead of clicking together like the pieces of a pop culture puzzle,this bunch was truly off in their own orbits acting and otherwise in a plot that mixed ecology issues and bad parenting metaphors:

The Robinsons are meant to recolonize a planet since all of Earth is in dire pollution straits and in addition to that mission,Dad wants to bond more with his loved ones but that backfires big time,as we will soon see.

Meanwhile,the lack luster plot allows the actors to reveal just how mismatched they are for this film family. Heather Graham gives extra emphasis to her lines in order to make it look like she's not reading them off a teleprompter, Lacey Chabert plays Penny as a whiny little goth girl(not much different from her Party of Five character)Hurt and Rogers seem to think they're doing a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie judging by their low energy levels.

As for Matt LeBlanc,he plays his part as if Joey from Friends had this role which is not a good thing,folks. Joey wasn't a very good actor to begin with and when a robot can give a better performance(the original voice actor from the LIS series,Dick Tufeld was able to reprise his role),that doesn't bode well for anyone here,especially Joey:

Now,on to Dr. Smith. Gary Oldman is to science fiction movies what Christopher Walken is to action flicks;an odd yet welcome addition. His quirky wicked ways did make the character fun to watch but the screenplay made the not-so-good doctor a lot darker than the original series did.

Dr. Smith was always a weaselly character who was more of a coward than an out and out bad guy,which made his bond with young Will Robinson strangely endearing on the show. Here,however,Smith is working for a terrorist group called Global Sedition and is out to kill the Robinsons,if he can. He does manipulate Will into releasing him from custody but turns on the boy in a more vicious manner than LIS fans would expect.

At one point in this story,Dr. Robinson and Don West stumble into a dimensional bubble(don't ask for more details,I beg of you)where they find a grown-up Will who has been raised on a hostile world with only a mutated monster version of Dr. Smith as his surrogate parent. Danger,Will Robinson,Daddy Issues!

The Spider Smith has evil intentions for Will's time travel device,which the moody young man has been building for years in order to prevent his family from taking that trip into space which destroyed them all. This whole plot line has such a weird flavor to it,like peanut butter and mouthwash,that makes it hard to take seriously unlike the characters trapped in this family therapy from hell warp.

Normally,I wouldn't mind such a twisted reinvention of a character but the CGI used to make Spider Smith makes that Voldemort puppet seen in the opening ceremonies at the London Olympics look incredibly realistic:

The movie wound up with a Razzie nomination for Worst Remake or Sequel(it lost in a three way tie between Godzilla,Psycho and The Avengers,a pretty formidable pack of clunkers)and not even the cameo appearances of the show's original cast such as June Lockhart,Angela Cartwright and Marta Kristen could make this Lost In Space ship fly.

Next time on Bad Movie Month,we'll be doing a special music soundtrack salute and yes,Sex and the City 2 is still on the far horizon. Until then,remember that's there is plenty of space to get lost into!:

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