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These are vague childhood memories (I hope I’m not combining two films here), so I’ll describe it in bullet points:

• The film starts with a kid getting a report from his teacher and he hacks the hologram to look like a monkey with the teacher's head still on it.

• The upright sleep pods in the spaceship have an eye mask for the user and a seatbelt-like strap across the body. A female crew member gets trapped inside one and can’t wake up.

• Twist at the end is that the guy that saves the spaceship is the kid from the beginning of the movie, grown up and sent back in time.

• The crew are all one family, I think.

• In my mind, there’s a scene when they’re playing with this arcade game killing aliens, then the kid uses these skills to kill actual aliens, but I’m thinking that’s another movie I’ve spliced together with this other one.

• I would guess that I watched this film in the late 90’s or early 2000s. It was definitely in color with decent enough effects.

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  • In roughly which year did you watch this and when do you think it might've been made? Commented Jun 19, 2023 at 12:55
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    I’m gonna hazard late 90’s early 2000. Definitely in color and with decent enough effects
    – Shadowerr1
    Commented Jun 19, 2023 at 12:58

2 Answers 2

38

This is Lost in Space (1998).

The film was based on a 1960s TV series of the same name, which was in turn inspired by the 1812 novel, The Swiss Family Robinson. As you noted in the comments, a reboot of the TV series subsequently aired on Netflix in 2018.

The film focuses on the Robinson family, who undertake a voyage to a nearby star system to begin large-scale emigration from a soon-to-be uninhabitable Earth, but are thrown off course by a saboteur and must try to find their way home.

The main protagonists of the film are John Robinson, his wife, Maureen, their two daughters, Judy and Penny, and their son (the youngest child), Will. There are two other main (human) characters, plus a robot.

In one of the opening scenes, Will hacks into a holo-communication from his school teacher to his mother, manipulating the teacher's holographic form so that her head appears on a few other bodies, including that of a cartoon gorilla (notably, the teacher is played by the actress who played Maureen Robinson in the 1960s series).

A bit later in the film, the Robinson family are sent on a space mission to build a hypergate over another planet, so that the remaining population of Earth can be transported to safety, since the Earth itself is becoming uninhabitable as a result of pollution.

They leave Earth in a spaceship, Jupiter 2, which contains upright cryosleep pods (the pods are visible at around the 0:16 mark in the trailer below, and have straps and eye-coverings as you described). The family members place themselves within the pods shortly after launch, expecting to remain within them for the duration of the ten-year journey, but they're soon woken up from cryosleep, except for the elder daughter, Judy, who winds up stuck in her pod longer than the others, and has to be revived with CPR after she's freed.

The Robinsons subsequently encounter time distortions in space, and on the other side of one of those distortions, they find two abandoned spacecraft. They dock Jupiter 2 with one of the ships, and after boarding it, they're attacked by aggressive, alien spider-like creatures. Will stays on Jupiter 2, but he remotely controls a robot that boards the other ship, and uses it to zap many of the alien bugs, as though he were playing a video game.

After that, they meet an older version of Will from 20 years in the future. He tells them who he is pretty much right away, though, so it's not as if that was kept under wraps for very long.

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    There was also a sequence in which young Will operates the (temporarily lobotomized) Robot as a remote, like a video game, when fighting the spiders on the derelict ship in orbit.
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Commented Jun 19, 2023 at 13:35
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    I remember fondling the spiders over a drink when it was in production lol :P Commented Jun 19, 2023 at 20:17
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    Thank you! I enjoyed the Netflix adaptation and can’t believe I didn’t make the connection. Another childhood mystery solved
    – Shadowerr1
    Commented Jun 19, 2023 at 21:51
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In my mind, there’s a scene when they’re playing with this arcade game killing aliens, then the kid uses these skills to kill actual aliens, but I’m thinking that’s another movie I’ve spliced together with this other one.

This part seems to come from The Last Starfighter (1984)

from the plot :

Alex Rogan is a teenager living in a trailer park with his mother and younger brother, Louis. After being rejected for a scholarship, Alex becomes angry at his go-nowhere existence. The only entertainment in the trailer park comes from an arcade game called "Starfighter", in which the player defends "the Frontier" against Xur and the Ko-Dan Armada in a space battle.

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