Five sci-fi films with serious logical flaws

Categories: Film

battlefieldearth.jpg
Come on Travolta... you can barely hold the gun and you've got a stringy Biore strip on your nose....
​This Wednesday, Denver Film Society and Denver Museum of Nature and Science are kicking off an amazing five-week film series for all the sci-fi buffs out there by matching superior film-making with scientific discussions. Which got us thinking: The greatest sci-fi films ever are great and all, but what about the not-so-great ones? Sometimes, filmmakers are so unsuccessful in their delivery it turns out unintentionally successful -- so today, in honor of the greatest films in sci-fi history, here are some of the worst.

5. Battlefield Earth
John Travolta was adamant about doing this adaptation of L. Ron Hubbard's novel of the same name. He pushed for years, though he had a hard time finding anyone to back him due to its clear connection to Scientology. He finally found a production company willing to help him and signed on as co-producer, investing millions of his own dollars to get it made. His quest to condense a 1,200-page novel into movie form, however, was largely unsuccessful both at the box office and on the script, producing a film so riddled with inconsistencies it was functionally incoherent. 4. Independence Day
While there are probably many people who would argue with this choice (bring it), this movie is hilarious and not necessarily in a good way. Though the filmmakers did give logic a reasonable go, they were pretty free with it. Some of the more laughable points are: Did he really just knock that big-ass alien out for hours? Did the battery in the laptop really last long enough to get through the time span of the film and then blow up the alien ship with a virus? Is it really that easy to take aliens out? Granted, this film was highly entertaining (and how UN-American is it to dislike a movie called Independence Day), but it had a lot of moments that were more reminiscent of a spoof.

3. Jurassic Park
Jurassic Park is a great film. No one is arguing that. However, there are some moments where you think that survival of the fittest belongs to the dinosaurs. Children are cute, right? But was there a little part of you that might have been rooting for the velociraptors in the kitchen rather than the annoying kids that don't listen? And in all honesty, do you really think that little girl, Lex, could hack into a top-secret database whenever she felt like it? Seems a bit fishy, but we do love dinosaurs, so it's cool.

2. Lifeforce
As a kid, this film probably scared the crap out of you. These days, however, the prospect of a life-force in the tail of Halley's Comet that manages to come down and turn people into zombies... well, that's just a little far fetched now isn't it? The point of a lot of films in the '80s (not just sci-fi) seemed to be, how much female nudity can we get in there without losing the R rating? And this one is no different, seeing as how its alien temptress is pretty much never clothed. It's all a ploy, you see. The alien knows what human men want and that is essentially what will end the world. Plus, you can't miss the captivating dialogue: "I mean, in a sense we're all vampires. We drain energy from other life forms. The difference is one of degree. That girl was no girl. She's totally alien to this planet and our life form... and totally dangerous." Whoa. That's deep.

1. Hollow Man
What a sad day it was when Kevin Bacon took this film and was actually happy about it. Testing the limits of logic early on when the first thing its horny lab-geek does after making himself invisible is to rape his next-door neighbor, it gets downright hard to watch when he then stalks his ex-girlfriend and attacks another co-worker. This should be called Invisible Horny Guy.

Honorable Mention: Starship Troopers
It could be argued that this film is just camp. But the first thing you have to say is, well, it has Jake Busey. Is it even possible that it could be good? No, not really. Brain-sucking bugs, horrible dialogue and Doogie Howser looking a little strung out in a Nazi trench coat is just the beginning. When he "reads" the "brain" bug's mind at the end and yells, "It's afraid!" that is where you want it to end if you haven't put yourself out of your own misery already.



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3 comments
eCurmudgeon
eCurmudgeon

A minor nit: Paul Verhoeven's "Starship Troopers", much like his earlier film "Robocop" really shouldn't be thought of as "Science Fiction" per se but instead as American social commentary with a very thin SF veneer.

Julie Maas
Julie Maas

Almost any film can be considered a social commentary. Alien, Stagecoach, Casablanca... Sci-Fi refers to the genre of the film which is most certainly sci-fi--it took place in outer space while battling giant alien bugs whose minds were being read by Doogie Howser.

Aaron Spriggs
Aaron Spriggs

Also about "Starship Troopers" - it is so unlike the P.K. Dick story, it should not be allowed to use the title.

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