50 Worst Sci-Fi & Fantasy Movies That Had No Excuse
Rollerball is in this list somewhere – but how high did it reach?
Bad sci-fi and fantasy movies aren’t merely the province of low-budget quickies. Sometimes all the money and talent in Hollywood can’t save the world from celluloid disasters. So, rather than just a list of bad movies, this is a list of bad movies that had no excuse: movies by respected filmmakers, or from major studios. Movies with box office stars, or sequels to other movies that were great.
These are the epic fails of fantasy and sci-fi.
And this time, the list has been compiled not from a reader vote, but by an panel comprising the SFX team, the SFX bloggers and a few of our special friends, including Paul Cornell, Joe Abercrombie, Jayne Nelson and Steve O’Brien. So feel free to call us all sorts of names…
50 Lost In Space (1998)
Director: Stephen Hopkins
Lost In Space isn’t such a bad film… until the Robinson family actually gets lost, and then it degenerates into a very bad film. That’s when you begin to realise the folly of basing a film on a ’60s TV show format that has “weekly episodic format” hardwired into its DNA. In the small screen the concept of “lost” in space was merely a hook upon which to hang stories. In the film, “lost” needs to become the plot engine. Sadly, screen director Stephen Hopkins and screenwriter Akiva Goldsman lost the plot completely, and turned the film into an insipid, visually bland time travel tale about a father/son relationship. So where does that leave the women in the family? Ironically, in a story about the fourth dimension all females on board are reduced to two-dimensional clichés, defined by one or two characters tropes each. Gary Oldman continues to channel the camp spirit of the original Dr Zachary Smith as if he hasn’t got the memo about how this film version is playing it straight. In the end, you think he’s made the right decision; if you have to appear in this dross you may as well have some fun while you’re there.
Worst thing about it: Blawp, the CG space monkey, which actually looks less convincing than Zoonie the Lazoon in Gerry Anderson’s Fireball XL5. The film was originally shot with Blawp being played by a Jim Henson Workshop creation, with the CGI version later slapped on over the top. They needn’t have bothered.