Lost in Space (1998) (part 6 of 6)
In some other room where our heroes are being held, Don discusses a plan where he’ll sacrifice himself for John and Will, although Robot can presumably shoot at more than one target. Instead, Young Will walks up to Robot and tells him to listen to his heart, doing a reprise of the whole “meaning of friendship” thing. (I just knew Akiva Goldsman was so proud of this speech that he’d put it in again.) Robot says that he doesn’t have a heart, and Will replies that every living thing does. Since when is Robot a living thing? And whatever happened to that whole “I finished your personality with parts of my own” thing? Did that have any relevance at all? No, I didn’t think it did. Robot rips out the mechanical whatzit that Smith put in him, then says, “Robot will save Will Robinson! Robot will save his friend!” Gag me.
John sends Don back with Young Will while he tries to get the radioactive material. There’s some standard “I’ll stay”, “No, I’ll stay” stuff until Don finally agrees. Don then says they don’t have trackers to find their way back to the ship. Great, you just thought of this now? Before John can reply, Young Will finds a weapon inside of Robot that was made out of his science fair trophy (remember how sharp it was? Now you know why). He gives it to John, reminding him of the spiders. How this thing is supposed to protect against creatures that tough, I have no clue.
The bubble starts collapsing (why?) and Judy fires a flare to show Don and Will which direction to go. In keeping with their earlier Loony Toons constellation scene, the flare is shaped like Daffy Duck’s head. [!!!] Don and Will come across human Smith, who’s still alive. Of course, if he wasn’t, then Spider Smith would cease to exist, but I digress. Now, after all that Smith has done, you’d think Don would just kill him, but he decides to bring him back to the ship [!!!!!!]. Robot says his trademark “danger” line some more, and it doesn’t make any sense this time, either. Will climbs on Robot, and they all take off toward the direction of the flare. According to the deleted scenes, originally there were supposed to be multiple ways of getting out of the bubble, each of which presumably led to a different time period, hence the need for the flare. Here, you get the idea that they should easily be able to find their way back to the ship, despite Don’s line about trackers in the last scene. This means that the filmmakers loved the Daffy Duck flare idea so much that they just couldn’t bear to part with it.
Meanwhile, Future Will is turning the time machine on, and asking Spider Smith why the supposed spiders have never resurfaced in twenty years. Smith’s only reply is “Let’s forget the past.” Future Will is apparently just now realizing that Smith was responsible for the death of his mother and sisters. Did it really take him twenty years to figure that out? Or did all his intelligence suddenly come back to him? Man, this is maddening. Smith spins around and rips off his cloak so we can have the aforementioned big reveal. The design of the creature is fairly interesting, and not nearly as impractical as the spiders. Still, it seems that while he’s wearing the cloak, his two rear legs are tucked away. Wouldn’t this make him a little off balance? Smith has two egg sacs above his rear legs that hold lots of baby spiders, which he reveals that he will use to rule the Earth. This begs the question of how the spiders reproduced before, as none of the ones on the Proteus seemed to have these sacs. Anyway, Spider Smith tosses Will around for a little bit until John comes into the scene and opens up his trophy weapon. I’d personally keep it open all the time. He takes a swipe at Smith but misses, letting Smith knock the weapon away. Why Smith doesn’t simply grab John and kill him is something that’s left to our imaginations. He opens his mouth, revealing two sets of teeth. One set is horizontal and the one behind it is vertical. This is fairly cool looking, although you have to wonder how both can be closed at the same time. John manages to slash Smith’s face, to which Smith says, “The pain, the pain.” This was the original Dr. Smith’s most famous line, although Spider Smith’s sarcastic delivery of it does little to enhance its nostalgic effect. John then cuts open the egg sacs. The baby spiders crawl out and start eating Smith, thanks to the earlier established fact that the spiders “eat their wounded”. Yes, being slashed once across the face apparently means he’s “wounded”.
Then John pushes Smith into the time portal, but Smith rather fortunately gets caught in the plasma field surrounding it instead of going through the portal itself. This seems like a risky maneuver, to say the least. Even if he were sure Smith would get stuck in the plasma field (and how could he be?) what if some of the baby spiders currently chowing down on Smith accidentally fell into the portal? That would doom human life on Earth even faster than the dwindling natural resources. Either way, Spider Smith is torn apart by the plasma field and quickly dies. John then sees Future Will is unconscious and about to fall into the plasma field too. We’re meant to believe that the chain on John’s dog tag, which is caught on some metal apparatus, is all that’s keeping him from falling in (although his arm is clearly wrapped around a rubber tube). John swings over the time portal and saves him, although he would have been safe anyway until he woke up thanks to the rubber tube he’s got his arm around. Of course, saving Will means that John doesn’t have time to get any of the radioactive material before it’s all used up. Boy, the irony, huh?
Meanwhile, Don and Young Will emerge from the bubble just as it begins to collapse. When they make it back to the Jupiter, Robot is with them, and carrying human Smith. No one seems to notice Robot is there until he says, “Greetings.” So, wait a minute. Robot from the future has come to the present? There’s already a Robot here, so how will this affect the timeline? Now, you might guess that no one will ever bring this up, and you’d be right. Don breaks the bad news that the bubble has collapsed, although there’s no way anyone on the ship could have missed it. Since the planet is now starting to break up, they have no choice other than to leave John behind. The Jupiter takes off, despite the fact that we’ve been told repeatedly that there’s no way they’ll be able to take off without the radioactive material. Everyone starts hugging each other and crying as the ship dodges flying rocks. But wait, what’s that? John is still alive! Apparently he was saved when, um, some debris fell on him and shielded him. Or something. He sees the Jupiter passing overhead, when suddenly a big rock hits the ship and completely destroys it. Ouch.
Some music starts up that wouldn’t be out of place in From Here to Eternity. In fact, it might even be music from that or a similar film. Anyway, John is devastated at the loss of his family, and Future Will comes to console him. Um, now that Young Will is dead, shouldn’t Future Will cease to exist? Of course, if he did, we wouldn’t be able to be introduced to the “ever-present bubble” idea. (This ending is really just too convoluted for its own good.) Future Will manipulates his time portal, and inside we see what appears to be a fully choreographed movie of the Jupiter lifting off at its original launch. (I knew this movie was bad, but I never thought it’d get to the level of Doomsday Machine.) Will changes the portal to show the interior of the ship a few minutes ago, just about to take off. This means we get to hear Maureen’s last bit of dialogue again, and, of course, she doesn’t say her lines the same way both times. (It’s a bad sign when you come to expect things like this.) Will pushes John into the portal, sending him tumbling down to the cockpit of the Jupiter, and reuniting him with his family. Future Will says farewell, and he shares a few last words with the family before the time machine conks out. Right after the portal disappears, they hear Future Will saying, “Don’t forget me.” We then see the planet starting to break up again. They should probably be taking off about now, but they waste some time reconciling anyway.
As the ship takes off, Dr. Smith runs up shouting, “We’re doomed!” in a last ditch effort to make audiences think of the real Smith. Nope, it still ain’t working. Now, this seems like a good time to just kill him, but Don settles for whacking him real good. As the ship takes off, John says that they won’t make it out of the planet’s atmosphere (maybe if you had designed your damn ship to be aerodynamic, you wouldn’t be having this problem). He says that their only choice is to go through the planet. [!!] According to John, “We can use the planet’s gravity to throw us out the other side and back into space!” I guess, theoretically, this could work, but going through the planet’s core without being crushed would seem like a real problem. (Also, it seems that William Hurt decided not to waste his time and talent actually understanding his lines in this film, because he puts an extremely heavy stress on the word “use”.) Don prepares to fly the ship through the planet, proving quite less adept than Smith at summing up audience opinion when he says, “This should be interesting.” He then takes the Jupiter through a tunnel that leads straight through the entire planet. That’s rather convenient.
The rest of this scene proceeds about as you’d expect: Don has to speed through a quickly closing area, then he’s confronted with a huge wall. Everyone shouts out conflicting directions (“Right!” “Left!”) and so Don pulls the ship straight up. (Incidentally, there are huge pieces of rock smacking against the ship here. They all just bounce off, although earlier, one was enough to destroy the entire ship.) Needless to say, this scene ends in a huge rip-off of Return of the Jedi when the ship narrowly beats an expanding wall of flame and gets clear just before the planet explodes.
There’s still a couple minutes to fill up, so Don and Judy finally kiss and way too much time is spent on everyone giving each other heartwarming looks. Blarp suddenly reappears (after having absolutely none, and I mean zero impact on the plot), and is reunited with Penny. Then Robot (Future Robot? Present-day Robot? Does anyone know? Does anyone care?) comes up and announces that the planet’s gravity field has collapsed into a black hole. [!!] I thought that only happened to stars, but I guess you learn something new everyday. They try frantically to escape the black hole’s pull, but the ship doesn’t have enough power. Then they remember they have the Hyperdrive, and yada yada yada. They bring up the star maps downloaded from the Proteus, “hopefully” target Alpha Prime, and engage the Hyperdrive. This is even though, earlier in the film, using the Hyperdrive took every ounce of energy the ship had. Here, they’re able to use it without enough energy to take off from a planet normally. Also, according to John’s exposition in the beginning, there’s no way at all to control where you come out of Hyperspace if you don’t use a gate, so I don’t know how they expect to “target” anything. For no reason, Will says, “Cool,” just before they enter Hyperspace. Hey, if you can’t get a cool image to leave the audience with, just have the characters pretend. And so, the movie ends there, with the family still lost in space, apparently in a setup for a sequel that never happened (knock on wood).
Oh boy. You know, I was well aware what a lousy movie this was after viewing it normally, but carefully analyzing it quickly revealed just how dumb it really is. However, it’s not a complete waste. The incredible DVD is definitely at least worth renting if you want to show off your system.