With every good sci-fi flick comes at least one that makes you kind of gag. Here are the five worst sci-fi movies from the last five years.
I love watching bombs. You blow up a car or a building or a planet and I am right there with you. Love of explosions is literally embedded in our psychology. It’s a combination of primal fear and awe of the destructive power of things, and as far as I’m concerned that is excuse enough to chuck on another Michael Bay film and pretend it’s any good.
As sci-fi fans, we just have to hope the bombs are in the movies, not the movies themselves.
See, there’s just something about sci-fi movies that seems to compel studios to throw fistfuls of cash at them. There’s a reason almost all the films to top the most expensive ever made list are Science-fictions. Think Avatar, John Carter, Water World or Avengers. You name it, it had too much money. And when there’s large sums of money, there will be gross mismanagement of said funds.
Now the so-terrible-it’s-awesome sci-fi has been around since the genre’s conception, but these are not those films. These are the films so awful it really makes you think about how much life you wasted watching it.
So without further adieu, here are the five worst sci-fi movies to come out of the last five years.
1 – Battleship (2012)
2012 was a year of brilliant firsts. Joss Whedon’s Avengers, the Hunger Games and Ridley Scott stepping back into his sci-fi roots with Prometheus. Things were looking up, until someone went and cast Rihanna in an action sci-fi.
You’ve heard of movies based on famous theme park rides, you’ve heard about movies based on toy collections, so how about a movie based on a Hasbro board game nobody plays anymore? No, it’s not a Jumanji remake (though, cards on the table, I would TOTALLY play Jumunji); it’s not Transformers number one-too-many. It’s Battleship! A $209 million dollar, 131 minute naval conflict film based on the armageddon war between human and invading alien.
The movie got torpedoed in reviews, and rumour has it that Battleship was so poorly received by fans of the brand, people effectively stopped buying Hasbro products in an attempt to bankrupt the company for allowing the film to be made.
My biggest qualm? How the heckin’ hell does an alien species with the technical prowess and intelligence to invent space travel lose a war against a handful of navy junkers captained by a pop star and an extra from Snakes on a Plane?
2 – After Earth (2013)
2013 was a bit of a mixed bag. Gravity topped the pile, so good it prompted a reporter to ask director Alfonso Cuaron if it was ‘hard to film a movie in space’ (actually though, that happened). This was closely followed by small-time hits Zero Therum, The Purge and Snowpiercer.
In the mud-pit of mediocrity we saw Pacific Rim, Elysium, Oblivion, Star Trek and another Riddick film confused about the point of itself, fight it out for box office cash money. The worst of these was After Earth.
It’s hard to be sure what kind of movie you’re going to be in for when the tag line is ‘Danger is real. Fear is choice’, but if you wanted a movie just as poorly thought out as its tag line, you’re going to be impressed.
This is yet another shoddy project from M. Night Shyamalan that prompts the question: just how far is the fall from grace and how many movies will it take Shyamalan to finally reach the bottom?
After Earth tells the story of two survivors, father and son, who crash land on abandoned and dangerous planet Earth and struggle to survive. The film’s central focus, its driving force, is the burgeoning bond of father and son. Ironic really, as title actors Will Smith and Jaden Smith, actual father and son duo, display embarrassingly poor chemistry on screen.
Alongside a flimsy story, terrible scripting and lacklustre CGI, this movie is literally a waste of your life to watch.
3 – The Anomaly (2014)
In 2014 the powers that be demonstrated their willingness to fund riskier projects. As a result, we got Guardians of the Galaxy, super ambitious Interstellar and Predestination.
These movies hit their markers across the board, but there were plenty of films that did not. It was a year of not-quite-there, a swan-song for what could have been, but wasn’t. Movies such as Lucy, Transcendence, Godzilla and Robocop are all prime examples, but the least of them? The Anomaly.
Of all the bad sci-fi movies on this list, The Anomaly is one of the biggest disappointments, purely because it had the potential to be so much more then it was. Writer/Director/Star Noel Clarke tried his best armed with a shoe-string budget and an ambitious high-concept, but utterly failed in his execution.
The Anomaly focuses on an ex-soldier who wakes up in a van with no idea who or where he is, discovering he only has 10 minutes, every other day, in control of his faculties. If that sounds confusing, it’s because it is.
The film has a couple of clever twists, but focuses too heavily on its stylistic approach that the rest of the movie, its characters, script and concept, is never fully realised. As such, I’m not mad, Clarke, I’m disappointed.
4 – Jupiter Ascending (2015)
2015 was a bit of a mess. Utterly confused projects like Terminator: Genisys, Fantastic Four and Tomorrowland left us asking: is there any hope left for this genre? This was answered with a resounding yes from films Mad Max and The Martian.
And while we were confused, the turd that was Jupiter Ascending was polished and presented to us by the Wachowskis.
It looks pretty. That’s about the only compliment I can pay this film. The story of a woman stuck in a mediocre life who discovers her destiny as an intergalactic heiress who must fight to protect her home planet Earth from industrial enemies.
It’s hard to know where to start with how legitimately awful this film was. A cliched story with so many plot holes you could put your fist through them, a slew of top-notch actors who give perhaps their worst performances to date, a shamefully poor script and weird undertones of beastiality used for comedy. Jupiter Ascending couldn’t even kill Sean Bean right.
The Wachowski’s have such an impressive resume of films (The Matrix, Cloud Atlas, V for Vendetta) that all ask some really thought-provoking questions of its audience. For this one however, it feels like they got a thump to the head and forgot how to make a good movie.
Verdict: Give me that blue pill and let me forget this ever happened.
5 – Suicide Squad (2016)
The 2016 line up was crowded as hell. Blockbusters and indie-flicks jostled for priority release dates, competed for hype and fought over who was most likely to make the most money.
There were standouts, Rogue One, The Arrival, Deadpool, 10 Cloverfield lane. And there were glorified belly-flops like Ghostbusters, Batman V Superman and Independence day: Resurgence. One such overhyped mess was Suicide squad.
Suicide Squad had possibly the greatest trailer ever made. So good, in fact, it prompted the studio to hand over creative control from actual editors, to the company that edited their trailer.
Following weeks of re-shoots, re-writing and very little re-thinking, the movie that emerged was a deformed Marvel try-hard with as much substance as literal nothingness. A weak storyline hobbled by poor pacing, underdeveloped characters with muddied motivations and a deficit of actual villainy led this movie to be a confused, watered-down-to-soggy mess.
Its single redeeming feature was Harley Quinn, but even she was not strong enough to save this film from the can.
There are very few things in this world guaranteed to piss me off. Paying the $5 delivery fee on Uber Eats, anyone who says ‘expensive wine is better then cheap wine’ and movies that I really, really want to be good, sucking harder then a brand new Dyson.
Judging by the current state of things, there will be plenty to get outraged about in the future. But as long as they keep making sci-fi films, I’ll be happy, bombs and all.