Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB. USA, 1998. New Line Cinema, Saltire Entertainment, Irwin Allen Productions, Prelude Pictures. Screenplay by Akiva Goldsman, based on the television series by Irwin Allen. Cinematography by Peter Levy. Produced by Carla Fry, Akiva Goldsman, Stephen Hopkins, Mark W. Koch. Music by Bruce Broughton. Production Design by Norman Garwood. Costume Design by Vin Burnham. Film Editing by Ray Lovejoy.
Splendid visual effects and beautiful production design make this empty-headed sci-fi flick watchable entertainment, aided by cute performances and a loopy time-travel plot that never makes any sense. The Robinson family, a sort of space-age version of Johann David Wyss’s Swiss Family Robinson, are sent on a mission to colonize a new planet far away in another galaxy. Their plans are interrupted when their ship is sabotaged by a villain (Gary Oldman) and they are left up space creek without a paddle. It’s up to the ingenuity of young Will (Jack Johnson), his medical expert sister (Heather Graham), his computer savvy other sister (Lacey Chabert), their loving and supportive parents (Mimi Rogers, William Hurt) and their ship’s crack ace pilot (Matt LeBlanc, giving an impressively non-goofy performance) to keep them alive until they can find their way back home. An open ending suggests plans for a sequel, though none materialized and it’s easy to see why: the actors have no chemistry between them and none of the action is particularly memorable. Still, you could do a lot worse.