Header Ads

15 Sci-Fi Bombs With Great Stories That Deserve A Reboot

There are plenty of sci-fi films that bit the dust for a variety of reasons, yet were driven by an excellent story. Whether it was studio interference, on-set clashes, or mainstream disinterest, these movies never really got an opportunity to shine. That's a shame because each one has an interesting story to tell that cuts largely against the mainstream formula.

RELATED: 10 Best Sci-Fi Movies On Amazon Prime

Some of these films were technical marvels that failed to snag audience interest, while others are low-budget cult hits that still manage to entertain new viewers. Some are forgotten and obscure, others are steeped in notoriety, and the rest have garnered new respect over the years. Each one should be given a chance, at least once.

Updated on July 30th, 2021 by Derek Draven: Many underappreciated movies have since gone on to become cult classics with sci-fi communities, earning newfound respect and praise. Others remain cloaked in relative obscurity, which is a travesty. Either way, there's a lot of amazing sci-fi content for fans of the genre that doesn't revolve around mainstream mega-franchises like the MCU. These are smartly written, fun movies that deliver on an intellectual level or manage to sate the need for some good old-fashioned adventure storytelling. 

15 Titan A.E. (2000)

• Available on Starz

It didn't strike a chord with moviegoers at the time, but Titan A.E. has since become an animated cult classic for sci-fi fans looking for something original from the genre. Unfortunately, it was released at a time when CGI animated films by leading companies like Disney's Pixar Studios were quickly turning into household names.

The script has largely been flipped in the modern age, and fans are now looking for that style of animation to make a comeback. Titan A.E. has a solid story, but it moved a bit too fast for audiences. It would be nice to see a remake of the film in the modern day, when traditional animation and CGI weave together in a more seamless manner.

14 Krull (1983)

• Available on Pluto TV

The main problem with Krull is that it couldn't quite figure out whether it was a sword and sorcery epic, or a sci-fi film. Perhaps a remake that blends elements of both, while playing up the latter to a better degree would work. As it stands, Krull is a sci-fi cult classic that continues to get talked about to this day.

More emphasis could (and should) be placed on the villain of the film, who really only shows up in its final form near the end of the film. The technical limitations of the time period severely hampered their showdown, which is all the more reason to do a remake.

13 Phase IV (1974)

• Available to rent on Apple iTunes

Outside of the most devoted sci-fi circles, nobody really remembers or even knows about Phase IV, but it's one of the most ingenious films in the genre. The story revolves around two scientists trying to uncover the mystery surrounding a colony of extremely intelligent ants. It's one of the scariest horror films involving creepy crawly insects, but for an entirely different reason.

It's man vs. nature taken to the extreme when the ants become smart enough to rule over humanity itself. The story never really expands outside its particular microcosm in the desert, but that's the entire point. This is an inward, deeply psychological thriller that scares the audience with a premise that seems frighteningly plausible by the time the end credits roll.

12 Waterworld (1995)

• Available on Peacock

For some reason, Waterworld just didn't resonate with sci-fi fans in the 1990s. Looking back on the film, it's easy to spot its weaknesses, but that doesn't mean the entire film was a wash. On the contrary, many movie fans have softened their stance towards Waterworld in the years that followed, making it a cult hit.

The idea is novel, unique, and had never been attempted before. That's reason alone to give the film major kudos at a time when the studio could have simply played it safe. There's a plausibility to what's happening on screen, even if the concept of the mutant man/fish hybrid was a bit too far-fetched.

11 Robot Jox (1990)

Long before gigantic robots were beating the tar out of scary monsters in Pacific Rim, they were fighting it out in this underground sci-fi classic and modern effects make it ripe for a remake. The story takes place in a future world ravaged by war, where governments settle territorial and resource disputes by pitting their two greatest champions against each other.

These fighters pilot gigantic robots with a sophisticated array of technological offensive and defensive capabilities. The story focuses on a human fighter named Achilles, who finds himself supplanted by a new breed of genetically engineered warrior. In the end, Achilles proves he's still the better fighter when he goes up against the terrifying Alexander.

10 Sphere (1998)

• Available on Showtime

Barry Levinson tried adapting Michael Crichton's Sphere for the silver screen, but it failed to have any profound impact at the box office. It was later revealed that certain key sequences such as the giant squid attack were severely cut back, which may have aided in its downfall.

RELATED: Underwater & 14 Other Great Aquatic Horror Movies

Whatever the case, the time paradox plot theme of Sphere is positively fascinating, as is the overall story about the crew making contact with what they believe to be an alien intelligence, before the horrible truth comes out. Apparently, a Sphere TV series is being developed by HBO by Denise Thé, the executive producer for Westworld, but hopefully, it won't fall into the same narrative traps.

9 The Guyver (1991)

The Guyver series would see two cult live-action releases, the first starring Star Wars' Mark Hamill, and the second featuring David Hayter, best known as the voice of Solid Snake from the popular Metal Gear Solid video game franchise. Both would perform poorly at the box office, possibly due to how outlandish the plots were.

Today's audiences might be more receptive to another live-action version of Guyver, done correctly by referencing the Japanese anime source material to a better degree. Certainly, CGI technology has evolved to the point where the action scenes would be much more than just guys in rubber suits duking it out.

8 John Carter (2012)

• Available on Disney+

John Carter remains one of the most notorious box office bombs in history, which is tragically ironic given that it's actually a great film. There's a sense of old-fashioned cinematic adventure and themes of heroism that are both exciting and entertaining to watch. John Carter might have done poorly due to the premise of people inhabiting a planet that cannot sustain any life, however.

Nevertheless, a slight tweaking of the story could see John Carter transported to Mars at a moment in its past, when life may have theoretically existed. It's a small change that could give the franchise another shot. It might also help if Burroughs' Barsoom series as a whole was embraced, rather than simply its main hero.

7 The Quiet Earth (1985)

• Available on Tubi

This lesser-known sci-fi cult classic barely scraped $600,000 dollars together at the New Zealand box office, but it's since gone on to develop a loyal following of its own. It adapts the "last man on Earth" story motif and spins it into a philosophical romp designed to leave viewers scratching their heads in an attempt to come up with an explanation.

Although the eerie and haunting final scene featuring a strange alien beach and a large ringed planet slowly ascending over the horizon has made it so iconic, a remake would benefit more by adapting more of author Craig Harrison's novel.

6 Reign of Fire (2002)

• Available on Prime Video

A movie about dragons awakening from centuries of slumber and laying waste to the modern world should have been a sure-fire hit, but Reign Of Fire still fared poorly, despite Christian Bale, Gerard Butler, and a Mad Max'ed Matthew McConaughey in the lead roles.

This mixture of contemporary social underpinnings and old-fashioned medieval-style action sequences should allow Reign Of Fire to have another go, especially in an age when dragons have been thoroughly mainstreamed, thanks to Game Of Thrones and other fantasy properties.

5 Virtuosity (1995)

• Available on Paramount+ and Hulu

While Virtuosity's premise of an A.I. crafting a body to escape into the real world is a bit far-fetched, it still made for a unique and entertaining film. It never scored high at the box office, but it did capitalize on humanity's increasing suspicion of artificial intelligence at the time.

RELATED: 10 Memorable Russell Crowe Roles, Ranked From Most Villainous to Most Heroic

With virtual reality now taking center stage once again in our public consciousness, the soil is ripe for a Virtuosity remake. The story could be tweaked to jettison Sid 6.7 escaping into the real world, and instead have him pulling a SkyNET by holding key infrastructures hostage, forcing his "favorite opponent" Parker Barnes to face him in V.R.

4 Virus (1999)

• Available on Tubi

Chuck Pfarrer's Virus comic was adapted to film by Universal in 1999, but it was critically panned and failed to make back even half of its budget. Part of the blame could be placed on the ham-fisted, woefully miscast actors who simply weren't good for the story. Even so, the science fiction horror premise of Virus could still be successful.

A remake of Virus could attempt another adaptation of Pfarrer's original story, or it could take the premise and apply it to a different setting where the possibility of an outbreak is greater. This would be far more sobering in an age when our world has never been more tightly connected within the digital space.

3 Soldier (1998)

• Available to rent on Apple iTunes

Paul W.S. Anderson's Soldier committed a major cardinal sin - it didn't fully exploit its own connection to the Blade Runner universe. What was left on screen was pretty good, especially with Kurt Russell in the lead as a man who says very little, and yet kills so very many.

Soldier would need a careful reboot that explicitly takes advantage of this connection while shifting the narrative focus towards a war campaign. It shouldn't be a remake of the original film's story either, but a separate plot far removed.

2 Wing Commander (1999)

• Available to rent on Apple iTunes

There's only been one attempt to bring Wing Commander to the silver screen, and it failed horrifically at the box office, which might be why studios are reluctant to give it another go. They should instead overlook the poor casting, the disappointing script change, and the numerous technical difficulties in order to try again.

If Wing Commander stuck more faithfully to the iconic video game source material, there's no reason why it couldn't work. The original had all the elements to play with but failed when it came to cohesion and casting.

1 Event Horizon (1997)

• Available on Cinemax

Event Horizon is, without a doubt, the one sci-fi film so vastly underappreciated that it borders on sin. The story was both fantastic and chilling at the same time, mixing the nightmare gore imagery of Hellraiser with the claustrophobic sci-fi tension of Alien. As such, it's one 1990s sci-fi/horror film that still holds up to this day.

A reboot could either re-examine the original story or serve as a connected sequel by which the plot can continue. After all, Event Horizon's ending left the door wide open for another installment, which means there's more story to tell about humanity's nightmarish bridging into Hell.

NEXT: 10 Box Office Bombs That Were Supposed To Start A Franchise

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.