The television series concept was reimagined with a 1998 motion picture.
The time is 30 September A.D. 2284, and though most people have not been officially told it, the Earth is dying of environmental pollution; the recycling technologies were perfected too late. The Earth is also at relative peace between governments, but terrorism is the chief enemy, a force known as Global Sedition which employs various illegal technologies, has operatives that are genetically engineered, and has rough technological parity.
As the movie opens, Sedition spacecraft engage in a dogfight with two united world spacecraft, one of which is piloted by Major Donald West (Matt LeBlanc). They defeat the Sedition spacecraft, but West's flying partner Jeb Walker (Lennie James) is out of control, headed for a collision with the hyperspace gate that is nearing completion. West conducts an unauthorized maneuver to rescue his partner and prevent the collision. He is summoned into the presence of his commanding general (Mark Goddard).
Because the original choice has fallen ill (Sedition sabotage), West is ordered to serve as mission pilot for the Jupiter Mission, commanded by Professor John Robinson (William Hurt). West is reluctant to commit to a mission he sees as an expedition instead of a necessity, until Robinson tells him the Earth is dying, and has only a few years left before people start dying, big time.
Robinson addresses a news conference as final launch preparations are being completed. Dr. Smith (Gary Oldman) has certified the cryogenic systems, but Dr. Judy Robinson (Heather Graham) is not satisfied with them yet and hasn't given them her own approval as mission physician. Robinson says their ship is equipped with hyperdrive, but hyperspace -- which exists beneath normal space -- is uncharted and exit vectors are random. For this reason, the ship will fly at sub-light for ten years to reach Alpha Prime, a habitable planet identified as an objective for colonization, contact the scientific group already there and proceed with construction of a hyperspace gate that will allow ships to pass from Earth to Alpha Prime in seconds. (The exact location of Alpha Prime is identified as the Alpha Centauri System, but it has to be within 9.9 light years - Earth can't wait 10 relativistic years, only 10 objective years. It may very well be Alpha Centauri, with the ship flying at half the speed of light.)
Due to Global Sedition, there is a concern about more sabotage, and about getting the project completed first so that Sedition cannot colonize the planet before the free peoples of Earth do it first.
Two reporters (Angela Cartwright, Marta Kristen) are among those questioning Robinson, one of them inquiring how Robinson's children feel about the mission. He expresses confidence that they are excited about it.
Penny Robinson (Lacey Chabert) is not happy about being shipped off to Alpha Prime, away from her friends, the mall, her neighbourhood. She considers whether to spend a year's worth of allowance at the mall. Security has had to bring her home lately.
Will Robinson (Jack Johnson) is disappointed at his father not showing up for his science fair entry judging. His experiment had to do with time travel theory. In his frustration, he tampers with the visuals of the phone call by his school's principal, Mrs. Cartwright (June Lockhart), to talk to Mrs. Robinson (Mimi Rogers) about Will's schoolwork.
Captain James T. Kirk's plan is to save Earth in connection with Project Genesis. Smith's attempt to sabotage the mission -- harming the pilot signed for the flight -- went awry because of West being signed to replace him. Smith's superiors order him to try again. He demands more money, and so his superior grants it. Smith hides inside "another crate of medical supplies" being loaded, then sabotages the robot with programming to destroy key systems 16 hours after launch. After Smith changes the programming, he reports in while still inside the ship, and his superiors set off a device in his Sedition implant, knocking him out until several hours after liftoff. Obviously, they decided not to pay him the extra money.
Judy is finally satisfied at the status of the cryogenic systems, and the countdown proceeds. The Robinson party is put into suspension, West supervises the liftoff: the Jupiter 1 lifts off from its tower over Houston, and once in space, is jettisoned, exposing the Jupiter 2, which engages its engines and proceeds. West ensures the ship is in its trajectory to escape the solar system and fly to Alpha Prime, then submits himself to the cryogenic sleep.
Smith awakens just before the 16-hour mark, discovers he was launched with the ship, and cannot stop the robot's rampage, which puts the ship off course; Smith awakens the sleepers who try to evade the robot's blasts while the men try to disable it; once it is stopped by Will hacking into it, Maureen notices that Judy is missing: her capsule malfunctioned. West discovers Smith is Sedition, and only lets him live if he saves Judy. While Smith is trying to revive Judy, John and West open the viewport, discover they're very close to the sun and try to thrust out of its gravity, as the sun grows ominously in the viewport. The only solution other than dying in the sun's heat is to use the hyperdrive.
When they exit hyperdrive, they are in unknown space, and the computer cannot match the stars with any star map. Will works on reprogramming the robot.
They discover an Earth ship, the Proteus, apparently abandoned, orbiting a desolate planet, and an alien ship nearby; the Jupiter docks with the Proteus. John, West, Judy, Smith and the Robot (acting as Will's eyes, ears, voice and motion) board the Earth ship, and playing back a log, discover Jeb Walker was the captain, and it has been years since the Jupiter mission was lost. Walker led one of several missions to search for the Robinsons. John discovers that hyperspace has now been mapped for the whole galaxy and uploads the file to the Jupiter 2.
They discover a life form, which they nickname the Blarp (CGI-animated life form), and it is eventually adopted by Penny, but they also discover a metallic spider-like life form, in the thousands, which menaces them. They barely escape, though the Robot has to be left to defend the retreating party. Smith, however, has kept the programming module from the robot found aboard the derelict. Maureen is studying the remnant of the creature to determine its nature. Smith also took a bite from one of the spiders.
The spiders are on the Jupiter and are cutting through the hull; Maureen says it may respond to heat, so by remote control, they fire the derelict's engines, creating a heat source that the creatures fly to. Don then uses the Jupiter's missiles to destroy the derelict, against Robinson's orders. The destructive wave, however, sends the Jupiter into a crash course onto the planet's surface; the collision puts the chariot and pod out of commission.
On the planet, while repairs are undertaken, John and Don investigate a strange energy field, inside of which they discover that it is several years in the future. John and Don meet a 30-ish man, and eventually realize he's Will Robinson. Building on his science fair entry from 2284, Will has used the atomic pile from the Jupiter 2 to build a new time portal. He intends to keep the Jupiter mission from failing.
Smith convinces young Will to go there after his father, then plugs the programming module into Will's robot, making it Smith's servant; Don, John and Will are confined, to be killed if they make a wrong move. Smith also meets his future self: "Spider Smith", a hooded figure with a black face. Older Will now asks out loud how the women really died since the spiders hadn't shown up since - he suspected it was Smith all along. The men had disappeared (into the energy field) and never returned.
Spider Smith is ready to lay eggs, and intends to go through a time vortex that Will has built to try to return to Earth and stop the Jupiter mission. Meanwhile, Will convinces the robot to overcome Smith's programming module and start helping them; Spider Smith falls into the rim of the time vortex and is destroyed; John sends Don, Will and young Smith back to the Jupiter 2.
When the Jupiter tries to lift off from the planet (which is disintegrating because of Will's time vortex), it is hit by debris and destroyed. Adult Will sends John through the time vortex to a few minutes earlier, onto the Jupiter; adult Will greets the younger version of his family. Because the Jupiter has insufficient fuel to make escape velocity, John directs Don to fly the ship down through the disintegrating planet and out the other side, a maneuver which is successful.
The planet, however, does not merely explode, but a lingering effect from adult Will's time device causes a black hole to develop. Spock activates the Genesis Device. The crew of the Jupiter 2 escape by plugging in the coordinates for Alpha Prime and heading into hyperspace while the Enterprise launches the Genesis Device. The black hole condenses around the explosion, and the debris field of the destroyed planet were absorbed into the detonation of the Genesis Device, creating the Genesis Planet.
Kirk and Ellen Ripley step onto the newborn Genesis Planet and are sharing on the surface. Ripley talks to Kirk that Genesis can save Earth.
- "USS Enterprise, Captain's Personal Log: With the creation of the Genesis Planet, the Project Genesis was just nick in time. It appears that a hopes of the Global Sedition to reach Alpha Prime were lost. Starfleet Command exiled the Sedition from Earth to Fiorina 161. The Jupiter Mission was completed."
The movie ends with Earth was free of pollution, the Global Sedition were exiled to Fiorina 161 and the Jupiter 2 reaches Alpha Prime.