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With its state-of-the-art special effects and talented cast of actors, you would have expected the critics to be kinder to "Lost In Space". Still, several friends had recommended it, so I thought I’d give it a go. It couldn’t be as bad as I’d heard, could it?

Lost In Space
I suspect that everyone knows the story, but here’s a brief synopsis for those that don’t. The year is 2358. Mankind has all but exhausted Earth’s supply of natural resources and is facing possible global extinction. Salvation lies with Professor John Robinson and his "hypergate" technology, a device that allows a ship to travel from one side of the galaxy to the other in moments. Professor Robinson and his family plan to travel to the distant planet of Alpha Prime (the only other habitable planet in the galaxy) in order to build another hypergate, which will allow free travel between that planet and Earth. There is a catch however – because a hypergate must exist at each end of the journey (without them it is impossible to predict exactly where in the galaxy you will exit hyperspace) the Robinson’s have to sleep away the 10-year journey to Alpha Prime in cryo-stasis.

Shortly after departing on their mission in the spacecraft known as the Jupiter II, Professor Robinson and his family fall foul of the scheming Dr. Zachary Smith, an agent of the Global Sedition. Smith reprograms the ship’s robot to sabotage the mission, but unfortunately for Smith once his task is accomplished he is promptly betrayed by the Sedition and left to die on the ship. Unable to stop the robot on his own, Smith wakes the Robinson family and together they manage to stop the metal behemoth. The ship, however, is badly damaged and way off course. The Jupiter II is hurtling towards the Sun and it seems that nobody can prevent its destruction. In a desperate last-ditch attempt to save his family Professor Robinson activates the Jupiter II’s hyperdrive, but without a hypergate they are cast into the far reaches of uncharted space...

The principle actors all play their roles well. William Hurt and Mimi Rogers have a suitable air of authority as the Robinson parents, and Matt LeBlanc and the ever lovely Heather Graham both turn in good performances as a macho pilot and cold fish physician respectively. The children are portrayed exceptionally well by Lacy Chabert and Jack Johnson. However, the undoubted star of the show is Gary Oldman as Dr. Smith. Oldman puts in a fantastic over the top performance as the malevolent, self-serving physician. The performance very reminiscent of his roles in "Leon" and "The Fifth Element", two films where he creates wonderfully camp and thoroughly contemptible characters.

Lost In Space
Presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, the video is of a high quality throughout with only one noticeable occurrence of pixelation some way into the film. The CGI effects are a mixed affair however; while the majority of them are very good, there is the odd occasion where things don’t look as convincing as they could. For example, the cute little CGI creature that has a fairly prominent role in the movie doesn’t look particularly credible.

Sound is also good, with a Dolby Digital 5.1 track that really puts you in the centre of the action. There are plenty of explosions and surround effects to give your system a good workout and the music is suitably pulse pounding. Sound effects are very good and suit this type of film perfectly.

A generous amount of extra content is on offer here, including a couple of music videos, cast and crew bios, a commentary track (which isn’t advertised on the packaging!), deleted scenes, various trailers, production design stills and special effects documentaries. The menus are also nicely animated and in keeping with the futuristic theme of the film.

Lost In Space
While this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea as a film, no one can deny that this is an excellent disc. It’s packed with a generous amount of extra features and has great audio and video quality. To sum up, this is a fast-paced action fantasy with very good (if somewhat hit and miss) special effects. If you can remember not to take it too seriously this is a very enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours. I have read a few negative reviews of this film, but I have to say I found it very entertaining. I guess you just have to take it for what it is, pure entertainment.