10 Sci-Fi Movies That Ruined The Genre

Split image: An alien in Prometheus and Chris Pratt with Jennifer Lawrence in Passengers. 

Not every sci-fi movie can have the stellar reputation of icons like Star Wars. However, there are some great movies that have become trademarks of the genre, such as the newer hit Avatar: The Way of Water. These movies are excellent additions to the genre because they blend beloved tropes with fresh ideas.

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On the other hand, some movies take popular sci-fi tropes and premises and utilize them in a terrible storyline that gives the entire concept a bad reputation. Movies like Battlefield Earth and The Happening had some interesting ideas but failed to successfully carry them out, leading to a collection of terrible sci-fi movies that threatened to ruin the reputation of the fantastical genre.



10 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

Cloverfield is considered one of the worst horror movies with a good villain, making it one of the most controversial alien invasion movies. Though this found footage original has poor reviews, it has found a dedicated fanbase and become a cult classic horror film.

10 Cloverfield Lane may be a sequel to this found footage icon, but it has little to do with the original. While this movie received far more positive reviews that its predecessor, the supposedly “revolutionary” movie just barely fits into the parameters of the sci-fi genre. This seemed to be the intention of the film, but inevitably moved away from the action-packed genre to fit more into a psychological thriller story that put on the guise of a suspenseful sci-fi sequel.

9 In Time (2011)

In Time, starring Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried, had the potential to revolutionize the sci-fi genre by introducing a unique plot in which time is the world’s currency. Though this movie attempted to capture the edgy, thrilling plot of a dystopian society, it fell short in execution.

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In Time was so focused on capturing the metaphor of money representing someone’s literal lifeline that it became a muddled drama. The subpar writing and imbalanced tone of the overall plot wasted a profound idea, giving an intriguing sci-fi concept a bad reputation that, if mimicked, would have the attached stain of this poorly constructed film.

8 Starship Troopers (1997)

Starship Troopers is a respectable movie that had the potential to be a hit sci-fi movie with many of the tropes beloved by fans of the genre. While alien lifeforms on Earth attempting to erase human existence is a trademark of the genre, this movie failed to capture the profound nature of the great storyline.

In writer Robert Heinlein’s attempt to make commentary on Fascism, the Starship Troopers became another muddled storyline that failed to capture the commentary of human nature. Unfortunately, the movie fell into the category of subpar sci-fi that are only admirable for their action-packed sequences.

7 Passengers (2016)

Passengers is one of the most romantic sci-fi movies, starring Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt who have both starred in some excellent sci-fi hits. However, the movie has little to offer besides the romantic storyline, starting off strong and failing to impress viewers by the conclusion.

Two passengers waking up from suspended animation years before they were supposed to should have been a phenomenal science fiction plot. Despite the great premise, Passengers‘ conclusion couldn’t commit to the epic storyline, wasting the potential and exceptional performances.

6 Prometheus (2012)

Though Prometheus is considered a good addition to the Alien franchise that revitalized the series after a few terrible sequels. In this prequel-like storyline, a group of scientists goes on a space expedition to explore a clue about humankind’s origins, hoping to have a religious experience that turns dark and shocking.

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There’s no doubt that this Ridley Scott film is visual stunning with some exceptional special affects. However, the problem with Prometheus is that the visuals of this sci-fi give the illusion of a groundbreaking alien horror movie when the storyline was muddled up with a loose focus on spirituality.

5 Alien Vs. Predator (2004)

While the Alien and Predator are iconic sci-fi horror franchises, the mash-up of the two alien villains was a complete disappointment for fans. The storyline focuses on an expedition in which the team runs into an alien species that is also being hunted by another deadly alien villain.

The combination of these two classic storylines had all the makings of an epic sci-fi movie. However, the excessive gore and lack of fright made Alien Vs. Predator a mediocre crossover. While many fans think this Alien Vs. Predator deserves a remake, this original left a negative impression on all crossover sci-fi horror movies.

4 Lucy (2014)

While some viewers find Lucy to be a great movie with a bad ending, there were some problems with the overall concept of the storyline. This is one of the sci-fi movies in which the audience has to suspend their disbelief to accept that a person only uses a small amount of their brain and can become super-powered when they can utilize all of their brain power.

The sci-fi genre isn’t known for being the most realistic, but this trope has gotten to be a more unbelievable and annoying trend for fans of the genre. It’s easy to suspend disbelief for aliens and galactic travel, but using junk science as a plot line gives the genre a bad reputation.

3 Planet Of The Apes (2001)

The revival of the Planet of the Apes movies and the original film from 1974 are icons of the post-apocalyptic and apocalyptic trends. However, the Tim Burton remake of the original plot line in 2001 was a terrible addition to the beloved franchise that threatened to ruin the reputation of the entire premise.

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Tim Burton is great with spooky, quirky storylines that are known for thrills and chills, but Planet of the Apes starring Mark Wahlberg had poorly written characters and a badly planned twist ending. This movie is an example of how a terrible remake can damage the reputation of a once-great series.

2 The Happening (2008)

The Happening is another sci-fi starring Mark Wahlberg that had great potential and turned out to be a huge disappointment. The movie plays with the concept of a mysterious threat killing off the world’s population and plunging it into an apocalypse.

Mysterious apocalypses can work in sci-fi with enough suspense to keep the audience waiting for the big reveal. However, The Happening was a plot line with little action and shock value, suggesting that an investigation into the unknown is only thrilling when there is enough build-up and surprise twists to actually keep the audience engaged.

1 Battlefield Earth (2000)

Earth in the future as a desolate wasteland is a great setting to plunge a viewer into an exciting and terrifying sci-fi action movie. However, the premise is only excellent if the movie can actually make the plot strong enough to hold the chilling concept. In this regard, Battlefield Earth failed in about every aspect.

This premise was wasted with subpar acting, a terribly misguided and underdeveloped script, and a plot that was entirely about violence and unconvincing action sequences. Movies like Battlefield Earth introduce a storyline that should work in the genre and then give it a bad reputation, leaving viewers skeptical about the entire premise if it is ever similarly attempted.

Next: 10 Sci-Films That Were Set Up To Fail


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