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17 Forgettable ’00s Sci-Fi Movies Only Superfans Remember

If audiences look back to sci-fi movies in 1968, the 21st century looked a lot different than what it turned out to be. Not only did 2001: A Space Odyssey miss the mark regarding human space exploration, there’s no way it could have accurately predicted just how many bad sci-fi movies the first decade of the new millennium would be cranking out!

Back then we might have thought that with advancements in science and cinematic magic in the 2000s, we would all be in a golden age for the genre. Unfortunately, as with every other decade, the 2000s were loaded with really bad films about everything from zombies to aliens and alternate realities. The millenium-inspired obsession with futurism.

We’re not just talking B-movie straight-to-video outings. Plenty of high-profile studio pictures were awful messes, even sequels in extremely popular franchises. Whatever happened to the promise of tomorrow? Looking back at some of these movies, you would think they were still living in a past loaded with lousy movies!

Here’s 17 Forgettable ’00s Sci-Fi Movies Only Superfans Remember.

17. BATTLEFIELD EARTH

The film Battlefield Earth is an adaptation of the book by L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology. Whatever one’s faith in the organization, there’s no denying this film is an unholy. Cheesy, bloated, and over-budget, the film failed to make its budget back at the box office.

After it scored a dismal 3% on Rotten Tomatoes, even the film’s star John Travolta was met with silence when he asked a group of journalists if they liked it.

In fact, the guy who wrote the screenplay didn’t even like it. J.D. Shapiro actually wrote a letter to The New York Post apologizing for his script! This is one baby that even the mother couldn’t love!

16. GHOSTS OF MARS

John Carpenter is indisputably one of the great genre directors of all time. After he delivered everything from the seminal slasher film Halloween to the beloved alien epic The Thing, nobody wants to knock one of the true masters of suspense. Unfortunately, even the greats can sometimes fail.

Carpenter’s 2001 movie Ghosts of Mars sounded like a good idea: human colonists get possessed by the spirits of the red planet’s former inhabitants. Chaos ensues.

The thing is, the movie is not scary. The dialogue is terrible. The sets are ugly. The acting by Ice Cube, Pam Grier, and Jason Statham is entirely forgettable. It’s a boring snooze of a space fest.

As such, it’s not a movie worthy of its iconic director.

15. K-PAX

As anybody who wasn’t living under a rock in 2017 knows by now, actor Kevin Spacey’s Hollywood career is pretty much over. After Anthony Rapp came forward with a story about an assault attempt he experienced by Spacey, the former House of Cards star was even cut from the Ridley Scott film All the Money in the World, his scenes reshot with Christopher Plummer.

Before the doomed actor’s secrets came to light, he starred in a really bad movie called K-PAX. In it, Spacey plays a psychiatric patient who claims to be an alien from a peaceful planet. Under testing, his story seems more plausible and the movie becomes an exercise in “is he or isn’t he?” It’s hard to care about the answer.

Spacey’s trademark smug acting style doesn’t translate well into an advanced extraterrestrial species.

The side story of Jeff Bridges, who plays the psychiatrists who needs to fix his relationship with his son, is so cliché, we wish it would travel to another planet.

14. PLANET OF THE APES

Here’s a really great-sounding idea: let’s let Tim Burton direct a remake of Planet of the Apes. We’ll even get Mark Wahlberg, Helena Bonham Carter, and Tim Roth to star in it. Total slam dunk, right?

Burton’s cred on everything from Batman to Mars Attacks! is beyond reproach. And yet, he made one of the great sci-fi stinkers of all time.

The premise is a space/time warp mess. The dialogue is silly. The acting is terrible. And the “big reveal” at the end – which was hyped as outdoing the classic Statue of Liberty moment in the 1968 version – was a huge letdown.

The Lincoln Monument with an ape head is hilarious, not shocking.

Unlike the 2011 Rise of the Planet of the Apes, this monkey spawned no franchise.

13. THE ADVENTURES OF PLUTO NASH

There was a time when comedian Eddie Murphy was guaranteed box office gold. Mega hits like Beverly Hills Cop and the Nutty Professor made the funnyman a huge audience draw for many years.

There came a time in his career when he suffered a series of flops. One of the biggest was the sci-fi comedy The Adventures of Pluto Nash. The basic premise – a guy trying to keep his nightclub on the moon safe from gangsters – is pretty goofy.

The movie itself wasn’t funny; wasn’t fun; wasn’t anything but really dull.

It lost a whopping $90 million at the box office – and that’s domestic and international combined. It’s tied with Battlefield Earth for a 4% Rotten Tomatoes rating. It did well in one way, receiving 5 Golden Raspberry nominations – but it didn’t even win any of those!

12. SOLARIS

Now who in the world would think that a remake of a really slow, really long, and really philosophically heavy Soviet-era Russian sci-fi movie would be a Hollywood hit? Well, Steven Soderbergh obviously did when he made his version of Solaris.

The original classic, directed by legendary cinematic genius Andrei Tarkovsky is considered a masterpiece, but it’s not the kind of thing wide audiences get into. Still, Soderbergh gave it a shot, casting George Clooney in the lead.

There are no laser beams, no scary aliens and no space battles.

It’s a cerebral psychological allegory which is really meant for the art house crowd. The idea of trying to take on such a classic is audacious enough, but to spend a big Hollywood budget and market it as a formulaic space thriller is pure folly.

11. THE MATRIX: RELOADED

It’s hard being the middle child of the family. Often in film trilogies, the same can be said of the second installment of a franchise. The Matrix: Reloaded, the highly anticipated follow-up to the smash hit 1999 film The Matrix that changed the world, turned out to be far less stunning than the original.

Where the first film’s plot progression was clean and straightforward, the subsequent sequels were convoluted, crowded with extraneous characters, and just never lived up to the simple yet powerful concept that got the whole phenomenon started. But of course – we had to watch. We needed to see what happened to Neo and the gang.

The resolution in the last sequel, The Matrix: Revolutions, at least gave the story closure, but Reloaded was pretty much like taking the Blue Pill: we forgot it and went on with out artificial lives!

10. THE ISLAND

How in the world can a movie starring Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson, as directed by Michael Bay ever be forgettable? In the case of 2005’s sci-fi flop The Island, that may indeed be its single most notable achievement.

As is the case in many of Bay’s movies, things like chase scenes and massive explosions are more important than boring stuff like plot and character. The usually great actors in the film pretty much phoned in their performances.

The story borrows so heavily from previous classic films like Logan’s Run and THX 1138 that it doesn’t even feel very fresh, despite all the overblown effects in the movie. By the time we learn the secret of The Island, the audience is exhausted from pointless action sequences and overloaded from CGI fatigue. We’re voting this film “off the island” so far as good sci-fi goes.

9. 28 WEEKS LATER

When the groundbreaking Danny Boyle zombie movie 28 Days Later came out, it was something of a revelation. For the first time ever, zombies weren’t just lumbering, groaning dummies who overwhelmed their victims by sheer numbers and the element of surprise. These zombies were fast. They ran at you, screaming, and their transformation didn’t take hours or days – it was instant. The disease changed you into a brain-eating freak in seconds. It was a simple concept of survival in a world that had changed drastically in a single month.

The sequel got too far away from the simplicity.

28 Weeks Later is far greater in scope. Instead of a few survivors on the run, now it’s NATO vs. the zombies. There are too many characters, too many plot lines, and too many attempts to outdo the original in this overblown sequel.

8. THE HAPPENING

Much has been said about the overhyped and underwhelming career of horror director M. Night Shyamalan. His trademark twist-ending tales like The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable were hits, but audiences grew more weary of Shyamalan’s ability over time.

It seemed that every movie went the same way: a great idea with an interesting premise, which relied on a single reveal at the end that changed everything.

By the time The Happening came around, one could say those winds had grown stale. Basically, the plot is about how plants are out to destroy the human race with a toxin spread through the air, which causes people to commit to take their own lives.

It’s a cool idea, but it goes nowhere.

People run from breezes, Mark Wahlberg tries to save his family, and well, there’s not too much more to it. Rather than a breath of fresh air, the movie was a big yawn.

7. 2012

Roland Emmerich is not exactly a deep director. Known for his mass-destruction epics like Independence DayThe Day After Tomorrow, and the awful 1998 Godzilla reboot, it’s pretty clear, he’s probably the most famous disaster artist in cinema today. While many of his movies are huge hits, they’re more alien invaders, giant monsters and interdimensional hijinks than thoughtful.

In 2012, the only adversary is planetary disaster, which almost seems to be chasing protagonist John Cusack and his family around.

The movie is about the end of the world, which is ultimately survived by rich people and elites in a bunch of high-tech Noah’s arks. Seriously, who cares?

The whole movie is just an excuse to stage massive earthquakes and floods. If there were any characters worth caring about in the movie, they drowned before making it on screen.

6. SPACE COWBOYS

Here’s a premise that we just can’t understand how it got greenlit at a studio: Space Cowboys is about four cranky, aging American test pilots who never made it into space are chosen to undertake a highly sensitive repair mission on a former Soviet space station. And they are being sent instead of younger, far more qualified and experienced astronauts because – of publicity concerns.

Once they get there, they discover the station is loaded with illegal nuclear weapons – which you would think Russia knows about – and these geezers now have to save the world from an accidental nuke strike from low earth orbit.

Are you bored yet? Or just insulted by this preposterous idea? Well, it did okay at the box office, probably because of the stellar cast, including Clint Eastwood and Tommy Lee Jones. We won’t blame you if you don’t run to stream this turkey anytime soon.

5. THE TIME MACHINE

Here’s another remake, only this time, it made more sense. The 1960 film version of H.G. Wells’ seminal 1895 sci-fi novel The Time Machine is widely loved as a classic ’60s B-movie. In 2002, when Warner Bros. decided to do a big-budget adaptation, it seemed like a good idea.

Using modern CGI effects and casting Guy Pearce in the lead, no expense was spared. Giant sets, clever updates to the story, and a greater emphasis on the protagonist’s love interest were added. But more is not always better.

The final product leaned too heavily on the FX, with a needlessly convoluted plot-heavy story.

The great actor Jeremy Irons’ talent wasted in the very silly role of “Uber-Morlock” – kind of like the movie’s king of the monsters. While the film made money, it was a near loss, and we won’t blame studio execs if they wanted to go back to the past and not make this dud.

4. MIMIC 3: SENTINEL

Yes – they made third installment to the classic sci-fi monster movie Mimic, but we won’t blame you for forgetting all about Mimic 3: Sentinel.

First of all, it was a straight-to-DVD outing, and who even thinks about DVD’s much anymore? Second, unlike the first movie, this one wasn’t directed by the legendary Guillermo Del Toro of The Shape of Water fame.

Let’s be fair – if you don’t have a decent budget and a decent director, a movie about super-evolved cockroaches that can morph into human form is likely to be pretty darned silly. On top of all that, the movie veered from the original storyline and attempted to ape the plot of the classic Alfred Hitchcock move Rear Window – only, you know, with giant bugs this time. This movie is in huge need of a giant can of Raid.

3. LAND OF THE LOST

Way back in the 1970s, a really weird kids’ show aired on Saturday mornings. A heady science fiction series which featured dinosaurs, lizard people, monkey-men, aliens, interdimensional travel, and even magic was thrust upon children.

While Land of the Lost suffered from goofy acting and even goofier special effects, the series was actually created and run by top writers from the first Star Trek series and delved into heavy philosophical and psychological territory.

In 2009, somebody decided to make Land of the Lost into a really dopey Will Ferrell comedy.

Devoid of all the cool ideas and explorations of the show, this focused more on T-Rex poop and other cheap laughs. It lost over $30 million at the box office, so this mess will forever be lost in time and space.

2. RACE TO WITCH MOUNTAIN

Here’s what happens when Disney Studios make a remake of a of a remake of a remake. The 2009 film Race to Witch Mountain was an attempt to reboot the 1975 version Escape to Witch Mountain (which spawned a sequel) after the failed 1995 version.

With Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson starring, one might think the third time would be the charm.

The wacky aliens-stuck-on-earth-disguised-as-teenagers story is solid enough. For whatever reason, the film itself didn’t stick with audiences too well. While it made some money, it was hardly the huge mega-hit Disney had hoped for. Despite ending with an opening for a sequel, the studio never went for a franchise this time around. Seems like the race is pretty much over by now.

1. SPLICE

Question: what do you get when you mix human DNA with animal DNA and then a human and hybrid getting it on? Answer: a pretty silly sci-fi movie with a serious “ew” factor.

Splice starts out with a promising premise. Genetic engineers playing god by splicing interspecies DNA end up creating a monster. We’ve all been there before, right?

When the movie turns into a bizarre love triangle that includes family members, what could have been a scary man-eating mutant movie just gets downright silly. Not only is there a “love scene,” things escalate into gratuitous assault and worse.

It’s all a mess that feels like it’s trying to out-gross itself while taking itself way too seriously. That’s a shame, because the monster design was pretty cool. We’d rather not swim in this particular gene pool ever again.

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