Lost in Space (1998) (part 3 of 6)

In some room that looks very similar to sickbay (some half-assed attempt to redecorate the same set, maybe?), Judy cuts Don out of his spacesuit. (How exactly are these suits put on in the first place?) The shirt he’s wearing underneath has a hole in it in just the right place for Judy to spot a huge scar on Don’s back. Apparently, it used to be a tattoo, and Don sounds a little embarrassed talking about it. (So why didn’t he get a shirt that doesn’t have a hole there?) Apparently the tattoo was of some ex-girlfriend’s name, blah blah blah, and there’s some more chemistry-free romantic banter. Will you two just kiss already?

For some reason, Will is dragging around a piece of equipment that looks suspiciously like the original Robot’s head. Penny helps him put it up on a table, and asks him to fix her wrist diary thing. Lacey Chabert says the line, “I think it broke!” very suddenly and sharply. It doesn’t sound at all like the right way to say it. Will fixes the watch in seconds, and we hear Penny’s voice saying things like “popcorn” and “kissing” and “Billy”. She says it’s a list of everything they left behind on Earth, although if it begins with things like “orchids” and “waves” that’s got to be one hell of a long list.

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John, Maureen, and Don are up in the cockpit, when suddenly, some kind of circle irises outward in front of a nearby planet, with a derelict spaceship inside it. Don says it looks like a ship, and then John says “it” looks like a hole in space. Taken in context, it sounds like he’s saying the ship looks like a hole, which made me really confused at first. Maureen says, “Where does it lead?” in about the same way the Joker asked where Batman got those wonderful toys. Again, it doesn’t sound at all like the right tone of voice for that line. Don deadpans “A reasonable question,” but I’ll let LeBlanc off the hook, as there’s really no right way to say that line.

Don starts to maneuver the Jupiter closer to the derelict ship. John tells Don to wait, but Don replies that he’ll “wait later”, which doesn’t make sense at all. As they get closer to the ship, it becomes very obvious that it’s ripped off from the spaceship in 2001: a space odyssey. Everyone starts spouting more science-y talk about sensor ghosts and some other things. Don announces the ship is from Earth, then immediately says he’s never seen a ship like this. So how does he know it’s from Earth? But, as it turns out, the ship really is from Earth, since it has the name Proteus emblazoned on its hull. There’s another spaceship docked to the Proteus, and Maureen says it’s not a human ship. How would she know this? Don says that if he’s dreaming all this, “Why aren’t there more girls?” Again, this is appropriate dialogue for Joey, not for Don.

Penny is making another entry into her watch diary about being a slave (I can only imagine her face as she listens to this years from now) because they’re making her guard Dr. Smith. Don comes in to see Smith, and he and Penny exchange some idiotic faux-military dialogue. Once he walks away, Penny says to her diary, “Could he be any cuter? I don’t think so.” She must not get out much. Don walks up to the sickbay door and says, “Unlock.” Wasn’t this door controlled with a button before?

Lost in Space (1998) (part 3 of 6)

“Could my career be any more over?”

Inside, Smith’s been having a royal fit, and broken medical supplies are all over the place. I’d go so far as to say this is too juvenile even for the original Dr. Smith. Don orders Smith into a spacesuit by shoving a gun in his face. He says they’re all going over to the Proteus to get fuel (or something), and Smith is coming with them because he’s too dangerous to leave alone on the Jupiter. So, why not just kill him? I mean, they’re all trapped out in deep space, and the guy already tried to destroy the ship once. And, unlike John’s previous choking attempt, there’s no family here to guilt-trip Don. Instead, Don just walks out and locks the door by saying “Lock.” Well, it’s scene continuity, at least.

John is preparing to head over to the Proteus, when Robot suddenly starts up and heads after him, saying, “Crush! Kill! Destroy!” John really freaks out for a while, until Will comes out and reveals that he’s controlling Robot now. Nice way to almost give your dad a heart attack, kid. Will talks about some method he used to get Robot running on remote control that I don’t think anyone involved with this movie really expected the audience to listen to. Still, it’s nice and science-y. Anyway, John decides it would be a good idea to take Robot along with them to the Proteus, with Will operating him remotely. Will asks Robot to take care of his dad, although it’s really Will who will be controlling it. You’ve got to love the huge fluctuations in this kid’s intelligence.

John, Judy, Don, and Dr. Smith enter the Proteus in some funky spacesuits. For no real reason, Don’s suit has a different helmet than everyone else’s. We then see things from Robot’s vantage point (which is what Will sees back on the Jupiter with his remote control) and it has the same fisheye effect as Smith’s hologram device. Judy touches some button, and her helmet folds in on itself and disappears. It looks neat, but I really don’t think helmets that simply disappear are possible, no matter how futuristic Earth gets. She says, “The air is stale, old.” It’s a really stilted line, unless she’s recording her observations, which she doesn’t seem to be doing. Don also makes his helmet disappear, and turns on the ship’s computer, which he claims is “working too fast”. We will later see the Jupiter‘s computer working just as fast, so I don’t see what he’s getting at.

Lost in Space (1998) (part 3 of 6)

“Why yes, I did get this helmet in Jack Kirby’s Fourth World. How did you know?”

As they move down a corridor, we hear a sound effect of blood dripping that I’m pretty sure is stolen from the Resident Evil video game. On the ceiling is a flesh-colored blob, and Judy shines some kind of double laser beam at it. She says it appears biological, so I guess this laser pointer is supposed to be some kind of life signs detector. Of course, we never actually see the screen for this device. Maybe they just forgot to stick a shot in. Smith provides the comment that this can’t be good, and to back up his position, he tells them, “Evil knows evil.” It’s not quite as goofy as some of his earlier lines, but it does seem gratuitous. Next, there’s some foolishness with some inert robots that isn’t worth going into, then they come to some big computer. Robot bumps into something and seems to power down, then turns back on again. There’s a cut to a wider shot, where we can see that there’s absolutely nothing it could have bumped into.

John brings up a video on the view screen, and it just happens to show the other pilot from the opening scene, only now he does have pupils. Nice continuity, guys. He first says, “The Hypertracker is functioning normally. But we cannot process all the data.” For no real reason, he pronounces the word “process” with a long o. He then goes into a speech about looking for the Jupiter and not giving up, because in his words, “Don would keep looking for me!” When it ends, John says the rest of the video data is too degraded to show. How fortunate that the one file that escaped degradation is the one that gave them the information they need. However, they don’t seem to have caught on to what’s happened, because Don wonders aloud why his friend now has a higher rank than when they left Earth just a day ago.

He doesn’t get much time to wonder, because Judy soon finds another file in the data that John just said was totally corrupted. This turns out to be a holographic image of an egg sack that was supposedly brought onboard the ship. They notice Dr. Smith is missing, and we cut to him stuffing some pilfered doohickey into his suit. The others find Dr. Smith and everyone follows a shadow onto the set of Silent Running, where Smith calls Robot a “mechanical moron”. This is the last of these alliterations, and they won’t be missed.

Lost in Space (1998) (part 3 of 6)

“It’s amazing what the Genesis Project has achieved in such a short time!”

Don finds a monkey-looking thing hiding in some plants, and Will, watching on his Robotcam, pronounces this find “excellent”. I beg to differ. This animal is one of the worst computer-generated critters I’ve ever seen. It’s horribly distracting when you’ve basically got a cartoon superimposed over a live action movie. Also, this creature will never have any impact on the plot. They should have just taken the money used to make this thing and given it to Jonathan Harris. Maybe he would’ve been able to give the movie some class. Don wonders if the monkey thing is the pilot of the alien ship docked with the Proteus, but John says it’s just a child. The line here is pretty much a throwaway, although in the deleted ending to this scene (included in the DVD’s special features), Dr. Smith says, “And what do you suppose happened to his parents?” You’d think that when they cut a perfectly decent (though clichéd) line like that, they’d have the common sense to also take out the line leading up to it.

Don gives the monkey thing a foil pouch containing something called “banana beef” (they actually do throw in a line about how stupid that combination is, but I’m not in a forgiving mood), and the monkey thing devours it. Seriously, it scarves down the whole thing, including the wrapper, in seconds. I guess this is supposed to make it endearing, but I’m just irritated. Dr. Smith, watching all of this, suggests that Don never breed, again unintentionally summing up audience opinion. John finds the Proteus‘ star maps so they can find their way to Alpha Prime. Of course, according to his earlier line upon their initial discovery of being “lost”, they actually already know how to get there.

Lost in Space (1998) (part 3 of 6)

“And how you doin’?”

Ryan Lohner

Ryan lives in Sparta, New Jersey, a quaint little burg without much for kids to do except go to the movies. Thus began a lifelong love affair, as even back then he grew to love examining why a film worked, or didn't. He is a member of the Sigma Tau Delta English Honor Society, and currently studying for a Master's Degree in Library and Information Science. His hobbies include running, piano, and annoying people with that damn lowercase forum user name.

Multi-Part Article: Lost in Space (1998)

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