Lost in Space is a 1998 feature-length motion picture produced by New Line Cinema, starring William Hurt, Mimi Rogers, Heather Graham, Matt LeBlanc, Gary Oldman, Jack Johnson, and Lacey Chabert, and is an adaptation of the 1965–1968 CBS television series Lost In Space.
The film opened at #1; the first new film of the year to do so due to the success of Titanic. Audience reaction was mixed and box office results were insufficient to justify a planned sequel. It was shot in London and Shepperton.
Several of the actors from the TV show appeared in the film. June Lockhart (Maureen Robinson) appeared as Will’s teacher in a hologram. Mark Goddard (Major West) appeared as Major West’s commanding officer. Angela Cartwright (Penny Robinson) and Marta Kristen (Judy Robinson) appeared as news reporters. Dick Tufeld returned to his role as the voice of the Robot, having played the voice of the Robot in the original program, as well as narrating the series. However, Jonathan Harris, who played Dr. Smith in the series, refused to make a cameo appearance in the motion picture version as the Global Sedition businessman who deals with Dr. Smith.
In the year 2058, Earth will soon be uninhabitable after the irreversible effects of pollution. The United Global Space Force serves as the planetary government. Professor John Robinson, lead scientist of the Jupiter Mission, will lead his family to the habitable planet Alpha Prime to prepare it for colonization by building a hypergate in orbit. The Jupiter 2 is equipped with a hyperdrive that allows faster-than-light travel, which will eventually be employed to evacuate the citizens of Earth. However hypergates must be constructed on Earth and Alpha Prime to provide stable points of departure and arrival. The project is accelerated after Global Sedition terrorist forces send two armed fighters to destroy the hypergate under construction. Major Don West, a fighter pilot from the hypergate defense force, manages to destroy the enemy fighters and later is unwillingly drafted as the new pilot of the Jupiter Mission, as the previous pilot has been assassinated. He displays resentment against going on the mission but likes the ship and makes unsuccessful advances on Dr. Judy Robinson, John Robinson’s eldest daughter.
The Robinson family is having troubles of its own. John has been neglecting his role as a father due to his work on the Jupiter mission. His second daughter, Penny is a rebel teenager who doesn’t want to leave earth, Will, the youngest and only son, is an intelligent boy (he builds a “time machine”) but feels neglected by his father’s absence, due to his work on the mission, and feels his father doesn’t care about him, going so far as to black out his school for his experiment on the time machine in an attempt to get his father’s attention.
Dr. Zachary Smith, the Doctor overseeing the Robinson’s health conditions for the flight, is bribed by the Global Sedition to sabotage the mission via reprogramming the Jupiter 2’s robot’s orders to “Sixteen hours in commission destroy Robinson family. Destroy all systems”. However before Smith can escape, he is betrayed by his employers. He is barely able to save himself from death but is knocked unconscious and left as an unwilling stowaway as the ship blasts off.
The launch goes ahead without any problems. The Robinsons go into cryostasis before lift off. Major West however, continues to feel like all his career was a waste “just to take the family on a interstellar picnic”. He is able to hit on Judy again before cryostasis but again gets spurned in the attempt. He too goes into his stasis pod after putting the ship on autopilot.
Dr. Smith awakens to discover the ship has taken off and the robot comes online. When he fails to stop the robot, he awakens the Robinsons and West from cryostasis. After its destruction of several systems, Will is able to disable the robot. The sabotage causes the ship to veer towards the sun. Realizing, after a few failed attempts, that it would be impossible to escape the sun’s pull at such close range, Major West and Professor Robinson decide to fly through the sun, using the ship’s hyperdrive. Unfortunately, without a hypergate to warp through, the ship and its crew end up in a random (and apparently uncharted) part of the galaxy. Dr. Smith is immediately imprisoned.
Upon arrival, they encounter a “hole in space” in the vicinity of an extraterrestrial planet. Major West takes the Jupiter 2 into the hole, against John’s orders, where the crew encounters the Proteus, an Earth ship from the future. Attatched to the ship is an unknown alien ship. Dr. Smith is forced into a space suit and is to be part of the boarding party, leaving Maureen, Penny, and Will on the ship to scan for any lifeforms.
Everyone, including the Jupiter robot, reprogramed and controlled by Will via remote control, board the Proteus. After searching the ship, they find the ship is deserted, except for a harmless, child-like alien lifeform. They find the Proteus’ star charts and download it, while Dr. Smith is able to steal a remote control from a futuristic robot, similar to their Robot’s. Everyone soon discovers the ship has been infested with carnivorous and cannibalistic silicon-based spider-like lifeforms. In the midst of the battle to escape the ship unharmed, Dr. Smith receives a deep wound from a spider’s claw, and the Jupiter 2’s robot is destroyed. Major West self-destructs the Proteus, destroying the spiders. However, the shock wave from the explosion damages the Jupiter 2, and they crash-land on the nearby planet.
On the mysterious planet, they locate a fuel source with which to refuel the damaged engines of the Jupiter 2. However, it lies in the center of a massive “bubble” of mysterious origin. Professor Robinson and Major West explore the bubble and discover it is actually an area of time distortion where alternate future versions of Dr. Smith and Will have constructed a time machine, powered by their Jupiter 2’s power core, and are planning on returning to Earth at an earlier time to prevent the family from getting lost in the first place.
Will (armed) and Smith both enter the bubble in search for Robinson and West, Smith having manipulated Will into thinking that the two adults are in danger. Smith finds improvised gravestones of all the women of the flight and is able to hide them from Will. When Smith and Will come across the future Jupiter, Smith disarms Will through further manipulation and both enter the future Jupiter.
The unaltered Dr. Smith takes control of the robot, via the remote he stole from the Proteus, and has it accept only his voice commands.They are all betrayed by the future Smith, who is revealed to have transformed into a gigantic space spider/human hybrid as a result of the spider scratch he received on the Proteus. He knocks the human Dr. Smith unconscious, and imprisons the Robinsons and West.
Under guard by the futuristic robot, West and Prof. Robinson begin to plan an escape but Will is able to help free the robot by removing the remote. Prof. Robinson stays behind to bring back the core material, while the rest of the group head back to the Jupiter. Coming across the unconscious Dr. Smith, West grudgedly carries him on his back. The group immediately heads back towards the Jupiter 2 of their time.
The alternate Will soon discovers that he repressed memories of Smith killing all the women and changes the time portal’s size, limiting the size of a “man” that can enter. Smith then reveals his plan to go back in time to Earth and spread his spider race across the Earth. Robinson soon battles Spider Smith, while Major West returns to the other Jupiter 2, without the power source, to try to evacuate the other Robinsons. Will successfully stops Spider Smith by slashing him across the face with a dagger and sticking it into the eggsac on his back, causing the baby spiders to come out and start eating Spider Smith (Will discovered that the spiders eat their wounded while they were on the Proteus). Spider Smith dies when Robinson kicks him into the time machine’s field while it is too small for his massive form, killing him.
The family attempts to escape, but the time bubble has made the planet unstable, and it is violently breaking apart. As a result of not retrieving the extra power core, the ship still does not have enough power to reach escape velocity. The stranded John Robinson watches as the Jupiter 2 is hit by debris and explodes in the sky. Future Will realizes his father does indeed love his family, and lets John use the time portal and travel back in time to the Jupiter 2 just before it launched from his planet. The power core could only fuel one trip back through time, and Future Will stays behind, wishing his family luck. Rather than attempt to escape into the atmosphere, John commands West to pilot the ship through the planet’s core as it is breaking up, enabling them to use the planet’s gravity to propel the ship through the other side. They escape, but the collapsed planet forms a gravity well that begins to suck in the Jupiter 2. Once again the Robinsons must activate the hyperdrive; however, this time they are able to target Alpha Prime using data downloaded from the Proteus’ more detailed star charts. The film ends with the Robinsons and West activating the hyperdrive, presumably transporting the ship to Alpha Prime. The last lines in the movie are West’s “Targeting Alpha Prime, I hope” followed by Will’s reply: “Cool!”.