Lost in Space (Blu-ray) (1998)
PG-13 Dir: Stephen Hopkins | Warner | 130 min.

Review By: Matt Brighton | January 28th, 2012

Plot: What’s it about?

How many old television shows can be made into films? Well, if there as good as this one, a lot more I hope. New Line home video brings us Lost in Space not only on DVD but as part of there platinum series, which means great all around quality and more extras than you can shake a robot at! The story begins on earth around 2058 and ol’ mother earth is not doing to well, the ozone layer is almost vanished and the resources of fossil fuel are becoming depleted. So who ya gonna call? Ghostbust…er. sorry. The Robinson family of course! Now ill introduce you to the Robinson family and there roles. John Robinson played by William Hurt (Broadcast News, The Big Chill) is the father and the scientist who has not only uncovered the earth’s problems but a way to solve them. His wife Maureen Robinson played by Mimi Rogers (The Rapture, Austin Powers) is at her wits end trying to hold the family together. Dr. Judy Robinson played by Heather Graham (License to Drive, Drugstore Cowboy) is the oldest daughter and an aspiring physician. Penny Robinson played by Lacey Chabert (Party of Five) is the younger daughter, and Jack Johnson plays young Will Robinson, a robotics expert. O.K, now that the introductions are out of the way ill try to give you a good overview of the films plot. John Robinson Has come up with an idea that could save the earth, its pretty simple, he’s built a ship in which he and his family will travel to a rendezvous point where a kind of “stargate” is being constructed to provide a two way door to another planet where resources are in abundance. Well, all is not well just yet, the neighboring planet of which earth is at odds with also knows this information and wants to get there first. But if they cant they will simply stop the Robinson family from accomplishing their mission. And how will they do this? By hiring a crooked, greedy doctor by the name of Zachary Smith played by Gary Oldman (Air Force 1, Bram Stokers Dracula). Dr. Smith has been hired to sneak on to the Jupiter 2, (the ships name) reprogram the ships utility robot to destroy the ship and everyone on it and get out. The only problem is that Dr. Smith ends up being stranded on the ship and unconscious during the ships takeoff. Major Don West played by Matt Leblanc (Friends) is the ships pilot and acting captain while the Robinson family is cryogenically frozen for the trip that will take ten years. Well, the robot follows his orders and begins to destroy all the ships computers and operating functions, which means in a nutshell, the Robinson family are now lost in space.

It would be really difficult (and long) to sit here and tell you the movies plot scene for scene and I wouldn’t want to anyway as it would give away too many good surprises and sub-plots. I will say that this was a very entertaining film and if your into sci-fi, there’s no way you can pass this one up. This film has got everything that makes sci-fi great, a good story, great visual effects and good acting as well. The film was directed by Stephen Hopkins (he also produced) and ill be honest, I know Stephen’s work and im not a fan. Boy did this film change my mind about his directing, if this film were put together any better it would have a big red bow around it! Here’s a director that went from making box-office disasters like Predator 2 and A Nightmare on Elm St. 5, and pulls out a film that breaks his mold ten fold. This is a great example of how old television shows can make great movies if they are done right and in my opinion this one was! And I cant get over the job that New Line did of adding on so many bells and whistles that make this one a must own. The talent assembled for the movie is also very good even considering that type casting obviously ran amuck here. Will Hurt is very good in the role of the scientist/father and Mimi Rogers has always been a good actress in my opinion. Jack Johnson who plays young Will Robinson is just awesome in the role and you don’t get that “over acting” crap that you get with most child actors. Matt LeBlanc as major West, well….o.k, I’m sorry but I think the whole cast of Friends needs to leave acting to actors, they just aren’t cutting it and Matt is no exception, poorly acted in my opinion. But Gary Oldman as Dr. Smith steals the show; I don’t think they could’ve gotten anyone better for this role. Oldman pulls off the seedy, shady villain perfectly and without a doubt, out performs everyone else on the roster. The real beauty of this film is the visual and special effects, awesome and amazing at every turn. Mix in a great quality disc with awesome video, audio and many, many extras and you’ve got DVD perfection.

Video: How does it look?

“Lost in Space” was one of the first really “huge” releases brought to the then new DVD format. New Line had already established themselves as a purveyor of some of the best-looking DVD’s out there and “Lost in Space” was certainly no exception. More than a decade has passed since its initial release on a disc-based format and I’m happy to say that the Blu-ray looked just as good as I thought it would. The 2.40:1 VC-1 HD transfer has some dazzling, razor sharp visuals. Naturally a majority of the film contains CGI and being based in space, there are a lot of dark scenes. Thankfully the transfer handles this with no problem. Contrast is right on the money, black levels are on the mark as well and the film looks as if it were brand new. For what “Lost in Space” lacks in plot and storytelling, it more than makes up for in its visual appearance.

Audio: How does it sound?

Back in 1998, when this was first released on DVD, the disc contained a very robust Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack that tested the limits of the then five speaker setups. Well it’s now 2010 and we’ve made some progress in regards to how movies look and sound. The 5.1 soundtrack has been replaced by a DTS HD Master Audio that, quite simply, sounds amazing. Science Fiction films are often associated with some very robust soundtracks and this is no exception. Dialogue is crisp and clean, surrounds are used often and add an aura to certain segments. Naturally there’s plenty of action to go around and the soundtrack does a fine job at encompassing you in the action. There are a few films that sound better than this, but not many.

Supplements: What are the extras?

There’s some good news and bad news with the supplements on “Lost in Space.” New Line did a really good job back in 1998 with giving us what we wanted, however as time has passed the supplements remain the same. Everything that was on the Platinum Series DVD has made the cut here and what was cutting edge at the time seems somewhat tiresome and boring now. Still, if you’re looking for an HD counterpart to your standard DVD, this is it. There are two commentary tracks, the first with director Hopkins and writer Akiva Goldsman and the second is more of a technical track with the VFX supervisor, editor as well as the Director of Photography. As I mentioned, there’s nothing new here so if you’ve listened to them before, there’s nothing new here. We get some deleted scenes as well as the same three featurettes: “Building the Special Effects”, “The Future of Space Travel” and some interviews with the original “Lost in Space” cast. The same music video by Apollo Four Forty (whatever happened to them?) as well as the original theatrical trailer.

Disc Features
  • (2.40:1) Aspect Ratio
  • Video Codec: VC-1
  • Audio: DTS HD Master
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Audio Commentary
  • Deleted Scene(s)
  • Featurette
  • Documentary
  • Digital Copy
  • 1 Disc Set
Lost in Space (Blu-ray)

must own!