Sci-fi films. What’s not to love, right? Fans of the genre have certain movies that they worship and revere. Titles that they can watch over and over again, as well as discuss and debate on internet message boards and social media sites. The problem is that many of these hallowed movies are seriously overrated. Even some of the most popular and financially successful sci-fiction films of all time are, when put under scrutiny, really, really overrated and overhyped. Look a little closer and dig a little deeper and you find that many of the most popular sci-fi movies are not as great as they seem. We’re not saying these movies are bad, necessarily — just not as good as the hype machine wants to be believe. Here’s a list of the 10 most overrated science fiction movies.
[Ed. Note: This list was written by a single author and does not reflect the views of Goliath.com as a whole. We love most of these movies and feel they deserve their esteemed status.]
10. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Arguably the most overhyped movie of the last 25 years, Star Wars: The Force Awakens was a letdown in many ways, chief among them was the fact that the film did not break any new ground. The Force Awakens, when you break it all down, was basically a remake of 1977’s A New Hope, but with less interesting characters. Yes, the special effects were good and the movie was still miles ahead of the awful prequels. But it didn’t deserve the massive hype, as the story was far from perfect. We didn’t get to see Luke Skywalker until the final minute of the movie, and he didn’t even have a line. Add in an aging Han Solo and stilted Princess Leia, and you have a movie that was highly overrated. While it may serve as a launching pad for future Star Wars sequels being great, it was basically the same as the original — a previously unknown character (perhaps with mystical Force powers) manages to thwart some evil dude in black and blow up a moon-shaped weapon with the help of some weird friends.
9. Blade Runner
Don’t get us wrong, Blade Runner is a great movie. But the slavish devotion that sci-fi fans have for this movie, and their declarations that it is the best film of all-time, make it a touch overrated. Never mind the fact that the original ending left everyone confused, movie critics savaged the film when it was first released in 1982. Even Harrison Ford blew it off as a side project that he had no real interest in. Over time, and thanks largely to home video, Blade Runner has taken on mythical status in the world of sci-fi geeks. But it’s not justified. This movie is a great piece of science fiction and has been highly influential. But it is not Citizen Kane, people. And a lot of the special effects in the movie are now quite dated. It will be interesting to see what Ridley Scott does with the upcoming sequel.
Another sci-fi movie that the geeks have canonized is Christopher Nolan’s Inception. Basically a thinking man’s version of The Matrix, Inception is a trippy “mind blown” kind of a movie, with many twists and turns along the way. But the special effects, pyro techniques, and endless dialogue about what’s going on distract from the fact that the plot of this film is completely ridiculous. Hired guns enter the mind of the heir to a business fortune to plant an idea, a suggestion even, into his subconscious. It’s so convoluted and ludicrous that it doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. Even people who are willing to suspend disbelief have trouble with the plot of this movie. While the action and acting are good, they can’t take away from the plot problems. Plus, Ellen Page is miscast in the movie and only proves to be a distraction. Again, a decent film, but not as great as most people claim.
Slow, strange, and lacking almost any dialogue, the Pixar masterpiece that is Wall-E is super overrated. We get that this movie is trying to send a message about overconsumption and waste, but it uses the wrong type of film to make that point. And the long, silent passages that are punctuated by Wall-E’s blips and beeps are unbearably painful. By the time the movie gets to the obese man in the space craft, we’ve pretty much had enough. This is one of the few Pixar movies that lack great characters, charm, or an interesting story. While you could say that Wall-E was an interesting change of pace from the people who made Toy Story, it is seldom as entertaining. Most of the time it just ends up being weird and frustrating. Not one of the better Pixar efforts.
6. Star Wars: Return of the Jedi
The final installment in the original trilogy, 1983’s Star Wars: Return of the Jedi basically devolves into a Care Bears movie towards the end, as the cute-but-super-annoying Ewoks take over the film and run it into the ground – killing any good will that was built up during the movie’s first half. The triumph of marketing toys to children instead of making a truly great movie, Return of the Jedi is massively overrated and does not hold up to repeat viewing. Even people who loved this movie in their youth now find it almost impossible to sit through as adults. Equally bad is the fact that the major plot point of this movie involves blowing up a Death Star – yet again. Really, can we have at least one Star Wars movie that does not involve plans to launch a Death Star. Come up with a better plan, bad guys!
5. Terminator 2: Judgment Day
While praised for its inventive and intense action sequences, the first Terminator sequel cannot hold a candle to the original in terms of plot. T2, as this film is also known, was massively overhyped upon its release in 1991 and remains overrated to this day. Aside from the weird story convention that has Arnold Schwarzenegger’s cyborg return as a good guy rather than a villain, there’s also the over the top acting of a ripped Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connors, and the woeful under acting of a turbid Edward Furlong as a boyish Joh Connor. Aside from the vehicle chases and special effects, this movie does not have much to offer. The time travel plot of the 1984 original Terminator movie is much stronger and coherent than this sequel, which made mad bank at the box office back in the day, but is not as well viewed nearly 30 years later.
4. The Matrix
Surprised to see The Matrix on here? Don’t be. This movie is so overrated, it is ridiculous. True the slow motion, bullet time special effects were impressive back in the late 1990s. But let’s not forget that the plot of this movie was, at best, a head scratcher. The idea that the real world was an illusion and that people were really being used as batteries to power machines is pretty tough to swallow under any circumstances. Most critics who reviewed the film when it was first released said that people would be best advised to focus on the special effects and forget the story… and acting. The combination of Keanu Reeves (in full “whoa” mode) and an over-the-top Laurence Fishburne is pretty hard to take. Plus, why is everyone wearing sunglasses – even at night time? They even used a non-nonsensical trope of having “love” save Neo at the end. The first Matrix is still a lot better than its two sequels, but it receives way too much praise in sci-fi circles and that makes it overrated in our book.
What a mess! Interstellar is what happened after Christopher Nolan read the positive reviews for his earlier sci-fi movie, Inception. But in the case of Interstellar, Nolan went too far. His convoluted plot goes completely off the rails in this movie about the space-time continuum. As the film drones on, it gets progressively worse until the plot is almost impossible to follow. You get the sense that the director has lost track of the script and that the actors are merely spouting out dialogue that might as well be gibberish. And like The Matrix, this movie tries to convince us that “love” can can change the laws of astrophysics. Nevertheless, Nolan is a darling director regardless of what he makes and fans lined up to see his newest movie. If Interstellar were made by any other director than Christopher Nolan, it might have been a career killer.
2. Guardians of the Galaxy
Some people consider Guardians of the Galaxy to be the best Marvel movie ever. Those people are misguided. Guardians of the Galaxy is a fun movie, sure, but it is not worthy of the overrated praise it regularly receives. The whole notion of lovable bandits in space is not a new concept, and while this film was well realized, it is neither the best Marvel Studios movie ever, nor one of the best sci-fi films of all-time. Special effects and crude one liners aside, this movie does not even have that good a story, and the acting can best be described as serviceable. Plus, how irritating does the character Groot get. It’s kind of laughable that Vin Diesel got a credit for playing the CGI animated tree who barely says anything beyond moaning and groaning. Here’s hoping the sequel raises the stakes for this film franchise.
1. 2001: A Space Odyssey
One crazy acid trip does not a good movie make. Such is the case with Stanley Kubrick’s bizarre 2001: A Space Odyssey. While generations of filmgoers have marveled at the trippy light show at the end of the movie – often under the influence of some mind altering substance — the fact is that few people can even decipher what the film is about. And while it may be somewhat interesting to see space craft swirling and twirling to orchestra music from the Baroque period, 2001 lets the viewer down in terms of story and characters. In fact, there are no real characters to speak of in the movie. There’s a couple of astronauts, sure, but we hardly get to know them at all. The most fully realized character in the film is the onboard computer system HAL 9000, and he just proves to be super annoying. Throw in an unexplained monolith and a giant space fetus, and you may as well have randomly picked the contents out this movie out of a hat. Yet, 2001: A Space Odyssey is held up as the holy grail of sci-fi movies. And it shouldn’t be. This is one film that is overrated.