Top Ten biggest sci-fi / fantasy film disappointments of all time

This is NOT a top ten of the worst sci-fi/fantasy films of all time.

Let’s get that straight.  These ten films are the biggest and most disappointing let downs to loyal fans that have conquered battles with insomnia, waited hours upon hours in line at the box office, and clamored to grab the best seats in the house to witness the most anticipated theoretically fail-safe production that could have never been forecast as a load of crap.

This list is more of a how could you screw it up! top ten, pondering the inevitable question:  WHAT THE FUCK WENT WRONG??!!!!


10th PLACE: Rollerball (2002) (remake)

Cast: Chris Klein, Jean Reno, LL Cool J, Rebecca Romijn

Why it’s such a disappointment?

Well for starters, if you’ve ever seen the original cult classic with James Caan, it was an awesome futuristic social satire on the pop culture of aggressive sports.  It was surrealistic roller derby on steroids meets Death Race 2000 where human carnage segues  over to a celebratory half time show.  The film is regarded as a sci-fi classic, and just the very thought of a remake at the cusp of the new millennium seemed like an amazing idea.  We’re talking NC-17 possibilities, an elevated level of gore and action coupled with CGI technology, and an amazing action cast at your disposal.

What we got:

The Wizard of Oz meets Any Given Sunday on crack.  Purely a drag and a major disappointment to all the fans of the original.  I’m sorry, but LL Cool J is not even in my top 10,000 choices to be in the lineup.  What were these people thinking….

9th PLACE: Godzilla (1998)

Cast: Matthew Broderick, Jean Reno (again?), Hank Azaria

Why it’s such a disappointment?

It was the legendary green giant’s turn, and I’m not talking about the jolly one.  It was the late nineties and there was Jurassic Park fever all over the globe.  The teaser trailer for this production had everyone applauding and running up and down the aisles in angst.  We had no idea who was cast in it, and we really didn’t care.  We knew the technology was available, and good direction and production would drive this baby home into the sci-fi hall of fame.  Much deserved for the legendary Tokyo beast that had us all rootin’  and tootin’.

What we got:

A giant green ugly sewer alligator with bad breath and a boring cast.  My first gripe was with the re-design of Godzilla, which was right up there with the brilliant idea of the whole New Coke campaign that nearly drove Coca-Cola Classic sodaholics to the edge of a cliff.  It just goes to show that you can’t change a classic, and if you’re gonna modify or enhance a cult figure, you had better be careful and know what the hell you’re doing!  The main problem with the movie was the long ass build up.  It was like watching a four hour teaser trailer-  Like we don’t know what the fucker looks like!   And in the end, I was left utterly confused and blinded in disgust on whether our beloved Asian reptile was the hero or the villain of this crappy flick.  Is there anyone out there who hates Godzilla, or is it just me? Bueller anyone?  Matthew Broderick?…  I guess it seemed like a great idea at the time!

8th PLACE: Godfather Part III (1990)

Cast: Al Pacino, Andy Garcia, Diane Keaton, Talia Shire, Joe Mantegna, Sofia Coppola

Why it’s such a disappointment?

OK, I am breaking the rules, but let me validate the reason for this entry.  You will never enter any comic book store or encounter any Comic-Con attendee that can’t relate to this mafia cult classic.  It is a hint of fantasy for many egocentric mafia fanatics who love to sport the famous Brooklyn accent…. “fahghet about it!”…

I had to include this because it serves up a nice swift kick in the balls of massive proportions in the disappointment scale,  which just goes to show that the words classic and trilogy don’t belong together or in the same sentence.   Godfather and Godfather II is still considered an amazing feat by director Francis Ford Coppola, to say the least, and they are considered to be possibly the two best films of all time, and very tough to differentiate on which one is better than the other.  We’re talking about some serious long-winded arguments…  The two films are purely poetic in pace and a cinematic spectacle.  People just couldn’t get enough of the serene dramatic brutality of a mafia hit, and fell in love with Michael Corleone’s rise to greatness from a virile army private to a juggernaut of organized crime.

So when the word got out that Mr. Coppola was making the final third chapter, everyone waited anxiously to see how it all ends, or mainly where the Corleone dynasty goes from here.  It was nearly thirty years later, so he had plenty of time to put the finishing touches.

What we got:

A long winding road of purely misguided casting, and a bland operatic made-for-Tv style drama filled with as much passion as a sultry soft core B movie.  All I can remember is how long, dull and pseudo epic the ending was.  Yeah, people died, but there’s more:  We were treated to the Facts-of-Life acting style of Sofia Coppola and the Carlito’s Way persona of Andy Garcia, who turns out to be the chosen successor, aka the NEW Italian Stallion.  Oh, and there’s Joe Montegna who plays the most annoying wiseguy douche bag on the planet, and who can forget the two old farts trying to pop the Viagra  and rekindle the ill-fated romance that ended with a cold hearted door-shut-in-the-face (not slammed) of Diane Keaton’s character by Micheal in Godfather 2.  Folks, the actor Don Novello of SNL’s Father Guido Sarducci fame, who appears briefly in the film, is probably the most convincing Italian character in this three hour casting nightmare.  I watched it three times over the last ten years and avowed: NO MAS!!!!  I am sorry, but I hate to say that there is no Godfather trilogy.  So, when you are endowed with the DVD or Blu-Ray box set, make sure to remove the one marked with the Roman numeral III, and keep the rest!  “I try to get out, but they pull me back in”   I couldn’t have said it better myself!

7th PLACE: Spawn (1997)

Cast: Martin Sheen, Michael Jal White, John Leguizamo, Theresa Randle

Why it’s such a disappointment?

Well, we’re on the topic of sci-fi and fantasy- right?  Spawn was a game changer in the comic book business.  It was Todd Macfarlane’s claim to fame as an artist and writer.  It prompted Marvel and DC to change their game to be up to par with comic book aficionados by revamping their art and content.  It also started a massive trend in the toy business with the launch of MacFarlane toys.  Spawn was in everyone’s head, so it was made into a westernized anime that was promptly picked up by HBO and turned into an instant hit.  Word got out about the film:  A human, live action Spawn!  What could be better than that…  huh, famous last words.

What we got:

A dark and sappy metropolitan creep show that is just shy of a Ninja Turtle popping out of a manhole cover and taking over the picture.  I will keep this one as short as my attention span for this film.  It didn’t make me laugh or cry, and I couldn’t care less about the Spawn himself.  With all those amazing stories in all those colorful comic book pages…  can we get a fucking writer here-please!

6th PLACE: Popeye (1980)

Cast: Robin Williams, Shelly Duvall, Ray Walston

Why it’s such a disappointment?

It was 1980.  There wasn’t that much out there for classic cartoon adaptations, so the idea of a cult-ish cartoon real-life-action remake of a spinach eatin’ sailor that has a thing for a long slender balemic pony-tailed heroine with a big, bad-ass biker lookin’ motherfucker kickin’ the shit out of him whenever he’s off the spinach, seemed like a pretty great idea for a G-rated movie.  Oh, and it had Robin Williams in it.  It had all the trimmings of a Disney-esque film, so everyone wanted to see a new colorized real life Popeye movie, spinach and all.  We just couldn’t wait!

What we got:

A Universal Studios ride on the big screen that was about as funny and whimsical as a homeless guy on a park bench.  We were riding on the cute mobile here with this one.  We didn’t crave the special effects and the action.  We just wanted to laugh and reminisce in the glory of eating spinach and fucking up the bullies and cockblockers that stood in our way.  But this film was too shallow and unimaginative.  I could have wrote this storyline straight off one of the 5 minute cartoon versions.  Did they even stumble upon the idea of a motion picture here?  But, nonetheless, I do have to give Robin Williams some deserved acting credit.  He did a decent job as the sea farin’ bohemian of the sea, lookin’ for love in all the wrong places…, but at the end of the film, as the credits rolled on out, I sat there looking like someone just stole my bike: “I paid for what…!!!”  What the hell was I thinking.

5th PLACE: Tarzan, The Ape Man (1981)

Cast: Bo Derek, some Tarzan looking guy….

Why it’s such a disappointment?

Thankfully, another film was made a decade later to amend the Tarzan tradition back to normality, titled: Tarzan: The Legend of Greystoke.  Do not confuse that classic with this utterly lifeless predecessor starring Bo Derek, who at the time, was hotter than the 4th of July.  This one was definitely pure Hollywood hype because they were trying to ride Ms. Derek like that whole 70’s Farrah Fawcett poster phenomenon, but at the end of it all, all us guys in the glory days of puberty know nothing beats a poster like an issue of Hustler mag under your bed.  Rule of thumb:  If you want to make a good movie, you need good actors.  If you want to make a good porno, you need a lot of naked women.  Nuff’ said.  this film was neither of the two, but the idea of Bo Derek in the hands of the ape man of lore had everyone sold on the idea and waiting on line to get a peek.  It even had a pre-release Playboy magazine photo shoot with Bo bearing her Bos and tatas.  I got my copy…

What we got:

An hour and half of torture that was worse than having a tube tube shoved in your mouth and having your stomach pumped.  I threw up more in this case, and I would have enjoyed this movie more with subtitles, even though it was still in english.  It was because of Tarzan, The Ape Man we were introduced to the idea of a movie critic.  We will never fall for that same old Hollywood hype shit the same way again.  Just picture if you will a remake of King Kong with Clifford the Big Red Dog instead of that big bad gorilla.

4th PLACE: Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999)

Cast: Liam Neeson, Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Terence Stamp

Why it’s such a disappointment?

This is one of the most awaited franchise re-launches of our time.  I know Return of The Jedi had the whole muppet thing with those cute little furry Ewoks, but how do you follow a classic nearly twenty years later?  Mr. Lucas officially announced that the time had finally come to pop out of his lair at Skywalker Ranch to deliver the very first chapter of the Star Wars saga to all the masses: Star Wars Episode One: The Phantom Menace.   We all knew about the timeline that was to take place wiith the mysterious childhood of our favorite masked villain: Lord Darth Vader.  We wanted to see how R2 go together with C3PO, and how the empire was created.  We just wanted this movie so bad, and good ol’ George had all the time in the world to bring it forward with all the latest advances in CGI at his fingertips.  Saliva dripping, we waited and camped in line…

What we got:

A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away… I got my money’s worth, but not here.  The effects looked amazing and had us sold on the launch trailer, but by today’s standards in CGI, it’s pretty average when compared to the fight scenes in Lord of The Rings.  Face it.  We Were brainwashed.  So what’s left when you take away the art and special effects?  A very dull and poorly acted child-friendly fairy tale that leaves you feeling like you just saw a sci-fi enhanced version of Jack and the Beanstalk.  I loved Darth Maul, and his screen time was less than that of the most annoying character: Jar Jar Binks.  Me so pissed.  Obi Wan looked like he was doing a scene right out of a bad Shakespearean play in the park, and the kid they called Vader was straight out of Nickelodeon minus the green slime.  And it reeked of more Muppets.  Not that I have anything against them, but we are fucking talking Star Wars here.  Half the movie reminded me of Fraggle Rock, which is why it ranks so high on my disappointment list.  What’s worse is that he’s putting out a 3-D version as I write this.

Dear George, maybe you should try using the force!

3rd PLACE: Star Trek: the Motion Picture (1979)

Cast: William Shatner, leonard Nemoy, George Takei, Deforest Kelly, Nichelle Nichols

Why it’s such a disappointment?

Star Trek was the cult phenomenon that defined the art and science of re-runs and syndications on a global level.  It is one of the few shows that actually out did it’s popularity after being cancelled after a mere three seasons.  You have the motley crue cast and the endless amount of trekkie fans that amass sci-fi conventions worldwide.  When the news hit that the original crew was regrouped to make a big budget motion picture to be launched on Christmas Day, nothing else mattered!

What we got:

Scottie, beam me the fuck outta this mess, and who’s this bald chick?  It had the makings of a soap opera from hell, and had the most drawn out and lifeless special effects of its time.  As a result, fans went back to watch the show in order to redeem themselves for wasted time and money.  It was plainly, a shit storm that had a very short shelf life, and the word got out quickly on how terrible the storyline was.  It also became one of the worst relaunches of a successful film franchise.  It’s amazing how Ricardo Montalban, whom at the time was doing Fantasy Island and Chrysler commercials, would be the driving life force in the sequel as Khan.  We thank you Mr. montalban, and Chrysler thanks you.

2nd PLACE: The Matrix Sequels (2&3) (2003)

Cast: Keanu Reeves, Hugo Weaving, Lawrence Fishburne, Monica Bellucci

Why it’s such a disappointment?

The Matrix was the best action movie of the nineties, and made dodging bullets a staple in many action films.  It also redefined the action genre where science fiction meets martial arts.  The most amazing feature is its groundbreaking cinematography that put a load of action films in the dust.  The film left you in a cliff hanger when the main character Neo discovers his true potential.  It was also the highest selling DVD of all time, so two sequels shot in unison seemed like the best thing since sliced bread for sci-fi fanatics.

What we got:

Two terrible movies that I will call the unwanted director’s cut because if you took both films and edited them down to just one sequel, it would still be a load of crap.  What bothered me the most was when I walked out of the theater after the second one, and I said to myself “nothing can be worse than that.”  But I was terribly wrong, the third film was fucking worse that that!  It all seemed like a bad dream at the end, and it was one of the most doubly disappointing follow-ups to one of the most amazing action sci-fi movies of all time.  We got ripped off at the hands of the editor.  I will never forget why we needed to see a bunch of tribal ravers dancing for nearly ten minutes while Neo got laid in a hut.  Brilliant editing.  Go figure.

1st PLACE: The Planet of The Apes (2001)

Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Tim Roth, Helena Bonham Carter, Michael Clarke Duncan,Paul Giamatti

Why it’s such a disappointment?

We wanted to go ape all over again.  The rumor mill had Oliver Stone as the director, but it was actually Tim Burton.  But even the talents of Tim Burton could not save this horrible remake of one of the most revered sci-fi classics.  This was talked about for years and years, so it eventually surfaced with more realistic ape outfits and prosthetics.  When I heard that Mark Wahlberg would be reprising the role of Taylor, made famous by Charlton Heston, I could only picture Boogie Nights with gorillas, and boy was I right…

What we got:

An ape movie.  That’s it.  They go shopping, they have family dinners, and are pretty well domesticated compared to humans.  My biggest gripe with the film was the brilliant idea to get rid of the best character in the classic: Cornelius.  Who’s idea was that?!!!  The filmed ranked miserably with many film goers, and proved that Mark Wahlberg should stay as far away as possible from the sci-fi genre and stick to playing washed-up porn stars, or some other stints involving drama.  It had the same plot as the Greek tragedy Troy with Brad Pitt, and had one of the most silliest endings I’ve ever seen when Bonzo goes to Washington.  I was left in stitches when I realized just how much of a complete waste of time this movie was, and how you can kill an original with some bad acting.  How much is that gorilla in the window?  Where’s Magilla Gorilla when you need him!

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